Best bib and tucker: Michelin Hants & Isle of Wight
Hot off the press! All the Michelin-approved fine dining tables in Hampshire & Isle of Wight, as rated in the latest guide. Is your local listed?
The Michelin inspectors have delivered their verdict. Could this be the year one of our Hampshire and Isle of Wight restaurants, gastropubs and country inns lays claim to a coveted star once more? Here’s the big news, along with our roundup of all the locals featured in this year’s Michelin 2022 guide. Go forth and eat well.
NEW GREEN STAR! Marle, Heckfield Place, Heckfield
Recognising ‘gastronomy and sustainability’, Marle restaurant at Heckfield Place, the gorgeous, Georgian country house hotel, is one of the first restaurants in the world to get the Green Star honour. Chef Michael Chapman uses produce from the estate’s biodynamic Market Garden and organic Home Farm. Michelin says: “Provenance is everything, with many of the ingredients coming from the estate’s own farm. The presentation might be modern but at its heart, cooking relies on honest, natural flavours”. Bravo!
NEW IN! Nathan Marshall Plestor House, Liss
Previously Head Chef at Petersfield’s Langrish House, Nathan Marshall set up his own restaurant in 2019 with his wife, Evi, in nearby Liss. Stepping into the fine dining gap since the closure of Petersfield’s JSW restaurant, the teeny, rustic-style former courthouse has been flying well under the radar, even locally. Word has, however, spread far enough to make it very tricky to snag a table. And of course, Marshall now has a Michelin Guide listing that seals his cheffy credentials.
One of the fanciest restaurants in the Forest, Elderflower continues to impress the Michelin inspectors. Think fresh fish caught by local fishing boat, lobster linguine and top-notch locally-sourced ingredients.
The Crown Inn, Upton
Just inside the North Wessex Downs near Andover, chef-patron David Watts’ fantastic fine dining countryside pub, The Crown Inn, holds on to its long-standing listing. Michelin love a spot of well-executed creative flair. So they quite rightly rate his “eye-catching dishes packed with colour and contrasting textures and tastes.”
The Black Rat, Winchester
Muddy used to live a hop away from this now well-established fine dining restaurant (and many a merry night was had in its sister pub, The Black Boy, and wine bar, The Black Bottle). No longer a Michelin star, Head Chef Matt Noonan nonetheless continues to stay on the Michelin radar with his cosy Winchester dining room.
Fat Olives, Emsworth
Michelin is bang on the money with its summary of Fat Olives. In particular, they single out the gorgeous building (a 17C fisherman’s cottage) and “charming” patrons (hospitality veterans Lawrence and Julia Murphy). Also rated by the inspector is the menu of “classic British dishes with a modern edge” that make good use of and support small local suppliers.
Hoddington Arms, Upton Grey, Basingstoke
Better known to many as “the Hodd”, this traditional country pub in the village of Upton Grey near Basingstoke has plenty of fans locally. Michelin raves about its “wonderfully atmospheric former barn” setting and “classic pub dishes” that are “full of flavour”.
The Pig, Brockenhurst
The original Pig in the now legendary group, the New Forest fine dining restaurant has gorgeous interiors and rustic charm by the sackload. Their true ‘field-to-fork’ ethos has been a huge hit with guests and laid-back foodies like your local Muddy. And Michelin certainly agree: “The gardener and forager supply what’s best from within a 25-mile radius and cooking is unfussy and wholesome.”
Pulpo Negro, Arlesford
The only Hampshire restaurant with a coveted Bib Gourmand, the Michelin Guide really rates Barcelona-born Head chef-patron Andres Alemany’s “authentic tapas”. Rather than trotting out the usual, often clichéd small plates, you’ll find more imaginative fare here. Think pork belly tacos with langoustine escabeche, Catalan tomato bread and padron peppers. Yum.
36 on the Quay, Emsworth
A stalwart of the Hampshire dining scene, 36 on the Quay hasn’t managed to reclaim the longstanding Michelin star held by their former chef-patron. Nonetheless, local-born head chef and owner, Gary Pearce, still impresses with informal fine dining and those harbour views.
The Purefoy, Preston Candover
A charming redbrick gastro in the picture-perfect countryside village of Preston Candover (above), Michelin rate chef-patron Gordon Stott’s simple pub classics just as much as his fine-dining fare. When Muddy popped by, we tucked into the best pud we’d had in a very long time. Epic Sunday roasts are always a hit, too.
Wellington Arms, Baughurst
This 18th-century former hunting lodge on the edge of the Duke of Wellington’s Stratfield Saye estate is a foodie dream come true. On-site are chickens, bees, sheep, pigs and the most beautifully kept kitchen garden you’ll ever see. Michelin inspectors describe the cooking as “generous and satisfying.”
Chesil Rectory, Winchester
Tucked inside a beautiful Medieval timbered house, the ex Mirabelle and Fortnum and Mason chef, Damian Brown, cooks what Michelin describe as “classically-based dishes informed by local, seasonal produce and given a modern twist”. Think chalk-stream trout pastrami, crisp, Bere Mill Lamb Shoulder and a mighty Sunday roast. Keep a close eye on the restauranteur’s newer venture, Inn the Park, just a short walk away.
The Greyhound on the Test, Stockbridge
Summer nights by the River Test, cosy candlelight meals in the characterful oak-beamed restaurant and fantastic food from Head Chef Phil Bishop at The Greyhound on the Test. The Michelin Guide really rates this Stockbridge stalwart’s “elegant décor” and “appealing range of dishes” – and so do we.
Kyoto Kitchen, Winchester
Precision is important in Japanese cuisine and the much-loved Kyoto Kitchen gets it spot on. Michelin says: “Authentic Japanese dishes are prepared with care and there’s good detail in the execution.” Girl’s lunch or date night, this is the place to get your sushi fix.
Hartnett Holder & Co, Lime Wood, Lyndhurst
The all-conquering Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood partner Luke Holder (above) serve up a fabulous menu of Italian-influenced dishes like seabass, squid & chorizo bolognaise alongside their own Tuscan wines at this destination New Forest hotel restaurant. Michelin say: “Angela Hartnett puts her stamp on the appealing, classic Italian dishes, which come with a refined edge”.
The Terrace Restaurant, The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu
This flagship hotel restaurant has had a bit of a rollercoaster with Michelin, shining bright before losing its star in 2016. Head Chef Matthew Whitfield has been at the helm since 2019. He’s a local lad from Southampton who’s worked in Michelin Star restaurants internationally. And now, he’s definitely on the Michelin radar. They say: “this is a chef who really understands how to pair flavours and everything is on the plate for a reason”.
ISLE OF WIGHT
NEW IN! The Hambrough, Ventnor
We called it! A former Michelin star on the Island but absent from the Guide in recent years, in 2021, the smart Ventnor restaurant and B&B announced Matthew Tomkinson (above) as their Head Chef. Previously, Tomkinson had a star at The Goose in Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire and as Head Chef at the Montagu Arms in Beaulieu. So we were certain he’d have the place back in the guide in no time at all. And sure enough, he’s only gone and done it!
NEW IN! The Terrace, Yarmouth
Launched in 2020 by Ashley and Tom Fahey, The Terrace sits above The Wightlink ticket office in Yarmouth, with fabulous panoramic waterside views. The team were over the moon with their listing in the Michelin Guide. And they’ve clearly impressed the inspectors. They say: “With fish to the fore, the concise menu reflects the seasonality of the island’s ingredients, and the classical dishes are well-executed and very tasty”.
If the Michelin listing wasn’t big news enough there’s more to come in 2022 for the duo. Having purchased St Augustine Villa, the iconic 11-bedroomed guest house at Ventnor, they’re poise to open The Terrace Rooms this April. The ultra-boutique guest house will feature a 12-seater restaurant, open to the public during the quieter winter months.
The Aquitania, The Seaview Hotel, near Ryde
In 2021, the popular ivy-clad Island hotel had a refurb and rebranded its restaurant as ‘The Aquitania’, (after the distinguished 1914 ocean liner, known as ‘the ship beautiful’). Dishes like Stone bass with sautéed girolles, buttered potatoes and Champagne sauce (above) from Head Chef Bruce Theobald look absolutely gorgeous. Michelin says: “The team are warm and welcoming and the daily set menu bursts with the island’s artisan ingredients”.
The Conservatory, The George Hotel, Yarmouth
If you like your fine dining restaurants with knock-out views, the George Hotel is the place to go. Smart interiors, plenty of Island produce and stylish indoor or outdoor dining will make it a meal (or mini break) to remember. Michelin clearly agrees. They say: “this airy brasserie with a sizeable terrace offering views over a lovely garden which leads down to the water’s edge.”
The Hut at Colewell Bay, Freshwater
It’s a Muddy must-visit on the Island and winner of the Muddy Awards 2021 Best Restaurant. And we can’t think of anywhere better than The Hut for a sunny afternoon of oh-so-stunning sea views and lingering lunches. Michelin says: “sit on the terrace or under retractable roofs and enjoy anything from fish tacos to a fruits de mer platter.” Well, who are we to argue?