Goodbye to the Ladies who Lunch in Hampshire!

CJ  SM  SA  JI

L-R CJ, SM, SA & JI

Dear Fellow Foodies

After 15 years and countless calories it’s time to hang up our knives & forks!

For various reasons SA & JI retired a couple of years ago but now my sister SM and I have decided to join them.

I’ve been busy moving house and so haven’t actually added a review since June and must admit it’s been very relaxing to occasionally eat out, not have to take photos and to know that I don’t have to go home to write about every mouthful!

If you have read the About Us page you will know we have been publishing restaurant reviews since the year 2000! When we started our site it was quite unique but now there are many other reviewers out there. It used to be fun trying to take the food photos in secret whereas now everyone does it quite blatantly! This was my favourite cartoon of the year…..

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We very much enjoyed our 15 minutes of fame with several TV & Radio interviews and magazine articles. We also loved meeting so many of you especially at the LWL lunches I used to organise. Restaurants were happy to be filled with 50 or so lovely lady lunchers…. oh, the noise levels!

The website will still be accessible if you want to re-read any of the reviews but I am in the process of deleting a lot of the older and out of date ones. Apologies if any links no longer work. I won’t be adding any reviews but I will keep the Facebook account active and will of course mention any restaurants to enjoy or avoid! Would love you to contribute your opinions.

Wishing you all a fond farewell and lots of luscious, languid, lunching!

With love CJ, SM, JI & SA XX

And now we’ll leave you with links to our favourite Hampshire restaurants most of which have continued to please over the years!

Verveine, Milford on Sea

Clos du Marquis at The Leckford Hut, Stockbridge

Cambium at Carey’s Manor, Brockenhurst

Le Blaireau at Carey’s Manor, Brockenhurst

Kyoto Kitchen, Winchester

The Bell Inn, Brook Nr Lyndhurst

Lime Wood for afternoon tea, Lyndhurst

The White Horse, Thruxton

Out of Hampshire…..

The Jetty, Mudeford, Dorset

For a quick break, The Feathers, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

For a very special treat…..

The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire

The French Horn, Alton

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The French Horn

silver_crown 18/25 £££

Butts Road

Alton

Hampshire  GU34 1RT

Tel: 01420 83269

Website: frenchhorn.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Own car park

Wheelchairs: OK

Loos: Above average

 

Last week I was in Alton and not expecting to go out to lunch so didn’t have my camera with me; a shame because in the end three of us decided to try The French Horn.

I really wanted to tell you about it because upon entering the pub we had one of the warmest welcomes from the lady behind the bar we have had for a long time! It was lovely, why doesn’t it happen more often? She directed us to the restaurant area where we were also welcomed warmly by our sever. She immediately asked us what we would like to drink. We commented how wonderful to have table service, she responded that once over the threshold of her domain we didn’t have to move!

Two of us had white wine spritzers and one had a glass of wine. Our food was simple but good pub grub. Two cottage pies and one soup of the day. You should all know by now cottage pie is one of my favourite dishes! It was delicious and served with some lovely crunchy cabbage, both red and white and carrots. The soup was served with chunks of farmhouse bread.

No puds, just coffees served with those lovely finger biscuits, what are they called?  You can tell I was off duty, no note pad either!  I’d imagine here has been a recent refurb as the décor was very fresh.

If you are in the area I recommend The French Horn for wonderful friendly service and good pub grub.

 

 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: The French Horn

silver_crown LWL Silver Award awarded June 2015

Cost £££+

4/5 Quality of food

4/5 Variety of menu

4/5 Staff and service

3/5 Ambiance and décor

3/5 Value for money

18/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

Cambium at Careys Manor, Brockenhurst 24/25

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Cambium

award.gold  24/25 approx £80 a head

Lyndhurst Road

Brockenhurst

Hampshire SO42 7RH

Tel: 01590 623551

Website: cambium-restaurant.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask and they also have a vegetarian tasting menu!

Parking: Own car park

Wheelchairs: OK

Loos: Above average

We were delighted to be invited to try the tasting menu at Cambium the new restaurant at Careys Manor Hotel and what a treat it turned out to be!

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The foyer of this magnificent manor house hotel is wood panelled so such a contrast to this modern, elegant and stylish new restaurant. The design and the name Cambium, meaning the rings within tree trunks, is inspired by it’s surroundings of The New Forest.

Jeremy, the assistant manager, welcomed us as did Chris, our server for the evening. They made a formidable team, attentive with out being intrusive and best of all they both had a good sense of humour so they deserve a special mention for putting up with being teased by 4 mature ladies! Uniquely the hotel also has a hostess; the lovely Barbara came over to check all was well, she talked to all the diners, a nice touch.

A glass of Champagne was a perfect accompaniment to studying the menu. As well as the tasting menu they do 3 courses for £49.00 and 2 courses for £40.00, do have a look at the menus on their website. We feel the tasting menu is very good value for money as several of the dishes on the other menus are included. Must mention their delicious warm bread rolls, be careful not to eat too many, so filling and so tempting! We chose a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet and various glasses of red but obviously if you wanted the sommelier could recommend matching wines for each course, we were showing a little restraint!.

Our  menu at £65 a head was as follows……… an  Amuse Bouche…Chilled Pea Velouté, Mint Yogurt

Scallops… Hand Dived, Celeriac, Pear, Roasted Hazelnuts, Celery Cress

Chicken… Pressing of Free Range, Quail Egg, Cured New Forest Ham, Gem, Parmesan Brioche

Sea Bass… Quinoa, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Brown Shrimps, Seaweed Butter

Lamb… Loin, Shoulder, Wild Garlic, Honey Comb, Goats Cheese, Sweet Breads, Jerez Vinegar

Pistachio… Crème Brûlée, Black Berries, Candied Pistachios, New Forest Yogurt

Dark Chocolate… Pavé, Caramelised Banana, Thyme and Honey Ice Cream

Cheese… Selection of Cheese from our board (£8 Supplement)

Without exception each course was a triumph and every mouthful a delicious delight to the eye and the palate. The selection of cheeses was very impressive. We cannot recommend Cambium highly enough and as it was fairly busy on a Tuesday night a lot of people must agree with us!

Michelin Stars must be on the horizon for Executive Head Chef Paul Peters… remember we recently enjoyed his wonderful food at Le Blaireau. In our opinion Careys Manor is now THE dining destination in the New Forest. They are also home to the Zen Garden restaurant, which, when we last visited, was also very enjoyable. In fact I’d like to move into Carey’s Manor and do nothing except be pampered in their award winning SenSpa and eat their delicious food!

 

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Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Cambium

award.gold LWL Gold Award awarded May 2015

Cost: Approx £80 a head

5/5 Quality of food

5/5 Variety of menu

5/5 Staff and service

4/5 Ambiance and décor

5/5 Value for money

24/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

Shrimp & Burger, Southampton 18/25

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Shrimp & Burger

award.silver 18/25 £££££

29 Bedford Place

Southampton

Hampshire

SO15 2DG

Tel:023 8033 8898

Website: shrimpandburger.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Public car parks

Wheelchairs: OK

Loos: Average

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“Awesome burgers, shrimp fajitas, top dogs”! What more could you desire for a celebration? Flavour would be good but more of that in a minute. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition to take my other half to a burger joint for his birthday lunch… poor thing has to put up with wherever we want to review. Last year we went to 7 Bone in Portswood and have to say the burgers there were tastier and somehow more exciting… perhaps ’cause they are advertised as “dirty sexy burgers” or perhaps because it was our first experience of such a venue!

Delicious Dining’s latest Southampton restaurant has the now de rigueur shabby, to the point of crumbling, décor and excellent staff. Our server was so welcoming and very impressed that he wasted no time in asking what we would like to drink, always a good start in our book. We ordered a very gluggable dry rosé. He was smilingly tolerant of all the queries from us oldies! We welcomed his food suggestions.

My choice was a Surf & Turf, House Patty, Monterey Jack, griddled shrimp. All burgers are served in a glazed brioche bun with crisp baby gem lettuce & pickles. (Gluten-Free bun also available). Our other choices: Saucy Shrimp, House Patty, lime chive & shrimp mayo and Spicy Shrimp Fajitas, wrap your own tortillas, Spicy shrimp, chorizo, pepper & onions, guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa. We had a side order of Seasoned fries and of the fabulous Sweet potato fries. The food was good but we felt the patties lacked a little flavour and both were over cooked even though we had ordered medium rare. Also the shrimps were very small so got a bit lost in the burgers. Having said that we still enjoyed ourselves and would go again but most probably make different choices….. should have listened to our server!

Check out their menu HERE.

BTW there is 10% discount if you order takeaway. No bookings taken, they were fairly busy when we were there on a Friday lunch time but had no problems getting a table. Try it, it’s fun!

 

 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Shrimp & Burger

award.silver LWL Silver Award awarded May 2015

Cost £££££

3/5 Quality of food

4/5 Variety of menu

4/5 Staff and service

3/5 Ambiance and décor

4/5 Value for money

18/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

Hannah’s Boutique B&B Winchester 23/25

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Hannah’s

award.gold  23/25

16a Parchment Street

Winchester

Hampshire SO23 8AZ

Tel: 1962 840 623/ 07730 510 663

Website: hannahsbedandbreakfast.co.uk

FB: facebook.com/hannah’s

Twitter: twitter.com/hannahsbandb

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Public car parks

Wheelchairs: No

Loos: Excellent

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Hannah’s an exceptional boutique B&B situated in a quiet courtyard in the heart of Winchester. As soon as you see the outside you know that the décor is going to be unique. When the enormous archway shaped front door opens this is the stunning site that greets you!

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Guests have breakfast here, feasts of local produce plus Hannah’s lovingly home made granola, jams and marmalades. There are enough tables and daily newspapers to go around, so conversation with strangers isn’t necessary. I was told musical evenings are a planned treat for the future.

The room leads into the sitting room where upon arrival guests are welcomed with a table laid with home made scones and cakes, taken beside the fire in winter or on the pretty terrace in summer. We called in for a cup of tea so can vouch for Hannah’s home made blueberry and walnut cake…. delicious!

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There is a well-stocked Honesty Bar and Library, with oversized sofas cosily placed in front of the log fire…… I want the library, its fabulous.

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Obviously for a B&B the rooms are the most important ingredient and I can assure you they are superb; the beds are super king size and so comfy they look as if you could disappear into them, very inviting. The three spacious bedrooms are individually decorated with many quirky touches, copper showers and distressed headboards for example. The ceilings are so high that the baths are on a mezzanine floor. In the largest room you can lie in the bath and gaze at the stars, how romantic!

Do have a look at THIS PAGE on Hannah’s website for more photos of the rooms, details of all the luxuries the rooms include, the prices and booking facility.

As well as being a charming host Hannah, the owner, is a very talented young lady with impeccable taste. The design is all her own work. She has sourced the unusual items, has commissioned and designed the bespoke woodwork and is not frightened to get her hands dirty! There is photographic proof of this in an interesting book in the sitting room documenting the conversion. As if she hasn’t got enough to do she is now converting the building opposite into a holiday let!

We don’t normally review B&B’s but as Hannah is a friend of a friend and as her B&B is exceptional I really thought I would be doing you all a favour by helping to spread the word. What could be nicer than treating yourself to a well deserved break in the beautiful and historic city of Winchester?

 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Hannah’s B&B

award.gold LWL Gold Award awarded May 2015

4/5 Quality of food

4/5 For quirkiness!

5/5 Staff and service

5/5 Ambiance and décor

5/5 Value for money

23/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

Le Blaireau Bar & Bistro, Brockenhurst 22/25

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Le Blaireau

award.gold  22/25 ££££££££££

Careys Manor & SenSpa

Lyndhurst Rd

Brockenhurst

Hampshire SO42 7RH

Tel: 01590 623032

Website: leblaireau.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Own car park

Wheelchairs: OK

Loos: Above average

On Friday night we had a family outing to celebrate a birthday. Choosing Le Blaireau, where none of us had been for years, turned out to be a great success. I am singing it’s praises!

It’s long established, situated in the grounds of Careys Manor Hotel and Spa and offers an informal family friendly French dining experience. I don’t think the décor has changed much over the years; it adds to the French ambiance and also cleverly breaks up what is quite a large restaurant into cosy areas. It was busy and buzzy, all the staff were very welcoming, friendly and efficient.

On arrival we enjoyed a drink in the bar whilst studying the interesting menu. Even though they were busy once we had given our order we didn’t have to wait long to be shown to our table and our food arrived quickly.

Starters: First of all my husband was in heaven as the French bread just kept on coming! My starter was absolutely delicious Caramelised Crottin Goats Cheese, Red Wine Poached Pear, Walnuts and Truffle Honey. The others also really enjoyed theirs: French Onion Soup, Croutons and Comte cheese. Assiette of Charcuterie Bayonne ham, Rosette Sauccisson, smoked Duck, Pork & Duck rillettes, Tomato & Gem Lettuce Salad, Pain de Campagne. Escargots de Bourgogne Garlic & Parsley. Grilled Mackerel, Le Puy Lentils, Shallot, Garlic and Saffron Aioli.

Mains: My husband and I shared the Lamb For Two – Rump and Salt Baked Shoulder, Fondant Potato, Provençale Vegetables, Rosemary Jus…. superb! I love lamb in any form but this was very special. The shredded shoulder arrived in what looked a very large bun but it was a salted crust you broke open to reveal the delicacy within! My son was also very impressed with Braised Beef Cheek “Bourguignonne” Pomme Puree, Bacon Lardons, Chestnut Mushrooms, the beef was so tender. The others all chose fillet steaks, all served with Fries, Green Salad, Provencale Tomato, which again were the most tender and perfectly cooked they had tasted for ages. There was a lot of discussion about the extra ingredient in the peppercorn sauce they chose, we thought it was alcoholic, apparently the staff tasted it in the kitchen and they decided it was Madeira…. Chef wasn’t available so we still don’t know!

Puds: The pleasure continued with the puds. My husband’s was my favourite but sadly I didn’t write down the proper description… it was a banana ice cream with crunch in it, yummy. The rest of us shared an assiette of puddings which as well as the banana ice cream also included Tarte au Citron with Crème Fraiche & Candied Lemon Zest, Pot au Chocolat, Lavender Sable Biscuit and Rum Baba, with Crème Chantilly. We finished with coffees.

We drank a couple of bottles of Malbec and with the pre dinner drinks our bill was just over £50 a head, well worth it for such high calibre food. Apparently they have a new executive chef Paul Peters who oversees all The Careys Manor restaurants, he is to be congratulated. We are now looking forward to trying their new restaurant Cambium very soon. They do have a Light Meals lunch menu at Le Blaireau.

Le Blaireau comes highly recommended!

 

 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Le Blaireau Bistro & Bar

award.gold LWL Gold Award awarded May 2015

Cost ££££££££££

5/5 Quality of food

5/5 Variety of menu

4/5 Staff and service

4/5 Ambiance and décor

4/5 Value for money

22/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

The Chesil Rectory, Winchester 20/25

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The Chesil Rectory

award.silver  20/25 £££££

1 Chesil Street

Winchester

Hampshire SO23 0HU

Tel: 01962 851 555

Website: chesilrectory.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Long stay multi story 3 mins away

Wheelchairs: Not easy

Loos: Above average

 

We cannot believe that it has been 5 years since our last visit!   We were the same 5 and much to our delight the Lunchtime/Early Evening menu has only increased by £1 for 2 courses, now £15.95 and has stayed the same for 3 courses, £19.95.

Congratulations to Mark Dodd and his Team for continuing to serve freshly cooked, flavoursome food for reasonable prices with excellent service.

The menu consists of three choices for each course. The starters: Roast carrot and coriander soup, Warm Scotch egg, peppercorn crème fraiche and Secrett’s leaves, Torched mackerel, beetroot dressing with horseradish cream.

The Main courses: Winter vegetable fritters with pickled walnut mayonnaise, Venison, smoked bacon and baby onion pie with spiced cabbage, mash and gravy, Cod Pave, grain mustard Veloute, Spring onion crushed potatoes and broccoli. See their website for the puddings.

We were very satisfied and therefore decided no puds just coffee and the petite fours are included!  The Italian red from Puglia was a bit harsh but got better with food, £23.00! The Chesil Rectory comes highly recommended, lovely food and very good value for money.

May 2010 Chesil Rectory has just been awarded Hampshire Restaurant of the Year 2010 at Hampshire, The County Magazine’s Awards! Once again we were five go eating! We chose the Chesil Rectory as 4 out 5 of us had not been before and we all like Winchester!  LWL first visited when Mark and Eleanor Dodd, Chef Damien Brown, Katie Wickham and Ian Longhorn launched their new venture in 2008.

It is a wonderful venue being a charming 15th Century building with low ceilings, old beams and a cosy feel. Upstairs there is a private dining area seating up to 14.

The lunch menu offers incredibly good value at £14.95 for two courses or £19.95 for three. (This is also available for early supper Mon – Sat, 6-7pm, not Sundays). From the three choices at each course we chose the following: Starters – Spring Vegetable Broth with flaked ham and Salad of Plum tomato, Laverstoke mozzarella with garlic croutons. Main Courses – Confit of Chicken leg, potato puree, Stockbridge mushrooms, with sprouting broccoli, Fish & chips, minted peas, together with homemade tartar sauce, Pan fried potato dumplings, watercress, peas and broad beans. Puds – Raspberry sorbet with homemade shortbread, Lemon mousse with candied zest and Hampshire Rose blue cheese, celery, chutney and biscuits. An enjoyable Italian red at £19.95 was our tipple and we finished with good coffee.

We were all very happy with our fresh, delicious food, the size of the portions and presentation, no wonder Chesil Rectory are doing good business and winning awards – see their site! Their Sunday Roasts sound very tempting!

 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: The Chesil Rectory

award.silver LWL Silver Award awarded April 2015

Cost £££££

4/5 Quality of food

4/5 Variety of menu

4/5 Staff and service

4/5 Ambiance and décor

4/5 Value for money

20/25 Total yummy factor. Review SM

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

Gatehouse Grill at Kuti’s Royal Pier, Southampton 20/25

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Gatehouse Grill

silver  20/25 £££££

Gatehouse, Town Quay

Southampton

Hampshire SO14 2AQ

Tel: 02380 339 211

Website: gatehousegrill.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Mayflower Park car park

Wheelchairs: They have a stair lift

Loos: Average

This restaurant features in our Discount Directory and is offering a glass of wine or beer, available with both the Lunch and the a la Carte menus all day and every day! The offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and is for a maximum number of 8 guests. If you don’t have a LWL Discount Card, click here to find out more – and start saving!

 

Last week Kamal of Kuti’s invited us to try their latest venture and to help spread the word that the top half of one of Southampton’s best known landmarks, The Royal Pier, is now The Gatehouse Grill offering steaks and “hand crafted” burgers. (The downstairs is still the original Thai restaurant). Ahhh the entrance to The Pier…. walking in brought back many memories to us oldies of wild nights dancing at The Mecca Ballrooms!

 

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Do look at their web site for not only all the menus and opening times but lots of very interesting facts about the pier’s history and some great old photos!

The views of Southampton Water from the restaurant are wonderful and once the weather warms up there is a large terrace to enjoy. The seating is very comfortable and the staff welcoming.

Their Main menu is varied with not only steaks and burgers but also chicken, lamb, venison, pasta, fish, salads and vegetarian dishes.

Two of us had a starter, Pan fried Maryland crab cakes, home made using the finest fresh crab meat pan fried and finished with home made mango and papaya chutney and Smoked salmon plate with char grilled sour dough, shallots, baby capers and horseradish cream, I saved my self for the pudding!

Our mains, Hand crafted Beef Burger with mature cheese served with seasoned fries, coleslaw and tomato relish, Slow roasted herb crusted lamb cutlets in their blend of fresh herbs, olive and mustard crust, served with Dauphinoise potatoes and red salsa verde and an 8 oz Fillet steak served with roasted balsamic cherry vine tomatoes and baby watercress.

All of the dishes were beautifully presented and were very generous portions. We would have liked both the lamb and the steak to be a little pinker but they were full of the flavour and the steak had to be the best we have had in a restaurant for a very long time! In fact we usually avoid ordering steak as it rarely lives up to expectation, this time it did! I also really enjoyed the flavour of my burger. All of their meat is 100% New Forest British beef which is Red Tractor assured.

My pud was a delicious chocolatey concoction decorated with white chocolate and fruit, sadly the others enjoyed it too so I didn’t get as much of it as I would have liked!

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To sum up we recommend Gatehouse Grill for good food and location. Remember you don’t have to have the works like we did, they do an excellent value for money Lunch Menu, 1 Course, a main, £8.50, 2 courses, a starter and a main, £11.50 (Both include a soft drink and tea or coffee!). We fully intend to return for lunch to enjoy their terrace and another bottle of the delicious Viognier we chose today!

Make sure you read about Gatehouse’s offer for all Ladies who Lunch readers…… just mention our name to receive a glass of wine or beer, available with both the Lunch and the a la Carte menus all day and every day!
This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and is for a maximum number of 8 guests. 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Gatehouse Grill at Kuti’s Royal Pier

silver LWL Silver Award awarded March 2015

Cost £££££

4/5 Quality of food

4/5 Variety of menu

4/5 Staff and service

4/5 Ambiance and décor

4/5 Value for money

20/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

Côte Winchester 18/25

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Côte

award.bronze  18/25 £££

3 High Street

Winchester

Hampshire SO23 9DA

Tel: 01962 866 267

Website: cote-restaurants.co.uk/Winchester.html

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Public car parks

Wheelchairs: OK

Loos: Above average

 

Before long we’ll need to change our name to Ladies who Lunch in Winchester. Last week I lunched at Cote with 2 friends and today my sister lunched at Chesil Rectory! (Her review will be ready soon.) We had eagerly awaited the opening of Côte having heard good things about this French bistro inspired group. Our waiter told us that there are now 62 branches and the first one was only opened 5 years ago!

As it has such a great weekday lunch and early evening menu (available Monday to Friday 12 – 7pm), 2 courses for £9.95 and 3 courses for £11.90, it was not surprisingly very busy. We couldn’t get a table until 1.30pm so would advise booking.

The table was very nice at the side of the packed restaurant but I was pleased when people started to leave as to start with the noise levels did not make conversation easy. The staff were all very welcoming and we were promptly asked what drinks we would like…. 2 white wine spritzers and a glass of Merlot.

Our starters: Vine ripened cherry tomato salad with avocado, rocket, croutons, pine nuts and shaved Comté cheese. Warm lentils with bacon lardons, red onion, croutons, parsley and a warm poached egg. Salt cod and potato croquettes with roasted red pepper aioli.

Mains: Chargrilled salmon with ratatouille and a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. Poulet Chasseur traditional “Hunter” style braised chicken leg with tomatoes, chestnut mushrooms and tarragon, served with potato purée. Steak frites (£2.00 supplement) chargrilled thinly beaten out minute steak with frites and garlic butter (served pink).

Puds; “Crumble aux pommes” apple compote with Normandy butter crumble and vanilla ice cream. Ice cream and chocolate sauce.

2 of us thoroughly enjoyed our choices especially the Salt Cod croquettes, the Hunter chicken and the very yummy apple crumble. Sadly one of my friends did not fare so well. Her lentils were cold and her steak was very tough. She told our waiter and he was very apologetic especially as he had mixed up our starter order. When the bill arrived they had been very generous with their recompense. A good example of a complaint well handled, we will be back!

My food was really good, generous portions so the set menu prices are excellent value for money. I hope that the problems we had are only teething ones. You can read all of their menus on their website. Côte is yet another interesting addition to Winchesters burgeoning restaurant scene!

 

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Côte Winchester

award.bronze LWL Bronze Award awarded March 2015

Cost £££

3/5 Quality of food

4/5 Variety of menu

3/5 Staff and service

4/5 Ambiance and décor

4/5 Value for money

18/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!

The Feathers, Woodstock, Oxfordshire 21/25

3L4C4256
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The Feathers, Woodstock

award.gold  21/25 £££££££££££

Market Street,

Woodstock

Oxfordshire OX20 1SX

Tel: 01993 812 291

Website: www.feathers.co.uk

Gluten free: Just ask

Parking: Parking on Street

Wheelchairs: Very old building/difficult

Loos: Above average

We 4 LWL enjoyed a little jaunt to the Cotswolds. We had dinner, bed and breakfast at the delightful Feathers Hotel  in Woodstock, Oxfordshire using a great offer from Amazon Local. I am not sure, as the others treated me for my birthday, but I think it worked out at £75 a head so excellent value.  Amazon Local has some great deals!

On the way we took a little detour to Bicester Designer Outlet Village Nr Oxford. interesting! Coach loads of people (mainly visitors to the UK) arriving from London and looking ready to shop until they dropped! The number of designer carrier bags some were loaded down with was amazing… to us even the Outlet prices were astronomical. BUT we did have a wonderful lunch there at Carluccios  … wonderful because we were sat in the sun (in March!) and had 2 bottles of the most delicious Rosé…. SILVIUM, BOTROMAGNO, PUGLIA You can only buy this at Carluccio’s, or if you live near the D’Agostino brothers’ vineyards in Gravina, Puglia. Almost a light red, rich and fruity with a crisp finish. £18.50 a bottle. The staff and the atmosphere were great but sadly the food wasn’t memorable.

On the other hand the food at the 2 AA Rosetted Feathers was but before we went to the dining room we visited their award winning Gin Bar! They have 280 bottles on display, we only managed to sample 3 different G&Ts each. To be honest we were a little disappointed as we expected to find a gin expert on duty who could introduce us to some interesting new brands. We ended up choosing our own from the gin menu and then having to ask for more ice, less tonic etc ….. we could have served them better ourselves! The result of our research….. our favourite is still Tanquery, preferably a double or a treble, with good old Schweppes tonic which we still like better than Fever Tree or all the other new trendy tonics, loads of ice and either lemon or lime. Simple tastes!

The 5 course tasting menu was amazing, far better than we expected! A Parsnip Velouté, Hampshire Beef Crudo, Shetland Scallops, Cotswold Venison (so busy ooooing & aahing forgot to photograph it), Yuzu Sorbet and one of the best puddings ever, Bananas and Custard, marmite ripple sorbet, kalamanzi, white chocolate, caramel. It was all well presented, beautifully served and would normally cost £55. (Our scoring is for dinner and the tasting menu).

We slept well, big squashy beds and loved our antique filled good sized rooms. The next morning we enjoyed a delicious full English breakfast. The Feathers gets a high recommendation from us!

When we left we visited the splendid Benheim Palace  which is only 10 minutes away and really well worth a visit.  By the time we got home late in the day we felt we had been away for ages, what a lovely break and a fabulous b’day present, thank you girls, I was very spoilt.

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Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: The Feathers

award.gold LWL Gold Award awarded March 2015

Cost £££££££££££

5/5 Quality of food

4/5 Variety of menu

4/5 Staff and service

4/5 Ambiance and décor

4/5 Value for money

21/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ

Ladies Who Lunch: score key

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.

The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).

5/5 Cannot be improved upon

4/5 Very good

3/5 Good

2/5 Satisfactory

1/5 Poor

0/5 Terrible

If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!