Adventurous feasting in the New Forest

Angela Hartnett’s imaginatively hearty marriage of English and Italian cuisine

Luke Holder and Angela Hartnett
Luke Holder and Angela Hartnett

In the depthsof the New Forest, Michelin-starred chefAngela Hartnett (right in picture) is continuingher culinary adventures by firing up the ovens at Lime Wood hotel’s newly refurbished restaurant. The Connaught’s former chef patron has joined forces withLime Wood’s head chef, Luke Holder (left in picture), to create a locally sourced menu of Englishcuisinewith cunning Italian twists for Hartnett Holder & Co,which opens on Monday February 11 and is currently taking bookings.

Master ofinterior design Martin Brudnizki (Le Caprice, Corrigan’s, J Sheekey Oyster Bar) is in charge of the dining room’sredesign, which will focus around a panelled, dark-stained central oak barreplete with a meat slicer and working wine gantry. From behind thegreen-marbled counter, chefs will sauté, simmer and serve each dish beforediners.

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Intrepidgourmands might begin by sampling a braised treviso of golden raisins andtoasted crumbs, or perhaps duck heart and turnips on toast, while comfortablycushioned away from the bar in a low mohair velvet armchair or aged leathersofa. The menu offers a wave of locally sourced seafood, such asgrilled red mullet coupled with cock crab, or poached hake alongside raw razor shells. Choices from the south coast continue in the form of soft polenta ravioli stuffedwith Dorset truffle and artichokes, Isle of Wight lobster spaghettiand New Forest venison accompanied by red cabbage apple slaw.

Enjoyed beneath the light of bespoke chandeliers, this home-cooked-style food, followed bya sneaky scoop or two of homemade stracciatella gelato, eschews fine-diningfanciness in favour of more relaxed fare. “It’s fun dining,” says Robin Hutson,chairman of the Lime Wood Group.

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