Careys Manor & SenSpa
Hampshire SO42 7RH
Tel: 01590 623032
Gluten free: Just ask
Parking: Own car park
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
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
If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!