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Cambium, Brockenhurst

Cambium is the New Forest inspired eatery located at Careys Manor Hotel. Muddy's Robyn whizzed off to Brockenhurst to eat her way through the menu.

THE LOWDOWN
Careys ManorWhether you’re already a full convert to the New Forest and live in one of its adorable cottages, or have just skirted nearby for a look at the ponies, it’s pretty obvious that this little corner of Hampshire has bags of status when it comes to its food scene. And Cambium, one of the three restaurants located at Careys Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst, is a fantastic example of that locally-grown dining with a sophisticated edge.
Launched in 2015 and tipped as a Modern British Brasserie, the menu here changes seasonally and is always looking for ways to include produce from right on its doorstep. The hotel and its restaurants have won bags of awards, and Cambium currently holds two AA rosettes.
The restaurant is steered by Head Chef Alastair Craig, who started his career down the road at sister restaurant, The Terrace in Beaulieu, before returning to look after the flagship restaurant of the two properties.
THE VIBE
Cambium4 The restaurant feels like it embodies the local area, right down to its slightly traditional – with a hint of cool – vibe. The interior, designed by Sue and Bonnie Stowell, was inspired by the New Forest itself, with hand-painted English trees on the walls, all the chairs covered in fabric to resemble moss and screens adorned with golden oak leaves. This is very much about bringing what is outside, inside.
Cambium InteriorThe dining room was busy when we visited, with low-level chatter of diners enjoying a relaxed local night out or a cheeky weekend away. A warm and cosy atmosphere, it didn’t feel overly formal and the staff were really attentive without being over the top. One member of staff we chatted to was a lovely 81-year old Italian lady who has worked at the hotel for nearly 50 years, providing plenty of colour and character to our meal.

SCOFF & QUAFF

cocktails cambium

 

First off, they definitely know their drinks at Cambium. The bartender was extremely knowledgeable on his mixology and we were treated to a creation of his own design while we waited for our table. Major brownie points in my book.

 

The menu is compact while still being thorough – offering a range of dishes for all tastes and preferences. Vegan options were available and stayed away from the usual risotto repertoire you sometimes see, and for omnivores, there were multiple fish and game options available, including a rabbit pappardelle starter and smoked venison haunch main.

 

Steak Cambium

Having heard good things about the grill menu I plumped for the 28-day aged rib-eye steak (above), accompanied by Portobello mushrooms and hand-cut chips (£25) with a mixed leaf side salad (£4) pictured below. You can tell a lot about a place by their steak and mine was cooked exactly how I requested and didn’t have an inch of gristle or toughness.

 

Salad CambiumThere was also a huge list of sauces available to go with my steak, each coming with an additional cost (£2.50 – £4) but I felt confident enough to go without, though the Olive Seaweed Tapenade did sound rather tempting. The side salad came out looking a lot swishier than I had envisioned and had a wonderfully light dressing.

 

squid cambiumMy other half perused the specials before selecting a salt and chilli squid (above), which looked really rather good an had great texture (no rubber-bandiness here) and just the right amount of heat and seasoning.

 

To finish we decided to share a cheeseboard, consisting of five pieces of cheese along with quince membrillo, celery, crackers, grapes (£15pp). There was a good selection of both local, and slightly further afield cheeses including Tunworth from nearby Basingstoke and a sheep’s milk Spenwood from up the road in Berkshire. We ate it so quickly I didn’t get a chance to snap it, oops!

Wine here is all about the English vineyards with no less than three fizzes from over the border in Sussex and wines from Kent, Surrey and Berkshire as well.

 

OUT & ABOUT

If you don’t fancy straying too far from the hotel then I certainly recommend some R&R at the Muddy Award-winning SenSpa at the hotel. The Thai-themed retreat boasts fitness classes, hydrotherapy facilities and an indoor pool for spending a little ‘me-time’ on yourself.

 

For local foodie spots then either a trip to Burley’s famed fudge shop or Beaulieu’s Chocolate Studio are a must-visit, and if you’re in search of culture the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery is a couple of miles away in Lyndhurst. Add to that the miles and miles of rolling New Forest National Park for walking, cycling and horse-riding, then you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of things to see and do while here.

 

THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Those looking to celebrate all things English countryside with their food and decor. It’s perfect for taking your parents out for a treat or a low-key romantic meal for two.
Not for: Leave the little ones at home for this one as the restaurant has a no under 8s policy. Also if you like a busy buzzy cosmopolitan vibe you’ll probably not find what you’re looking for here.
The Damage: On the richer side of mid-priced with starters at around £10, mains at £20ish mark and puds around £8. Also, the temptation to drink all the fab cocktails and English wines could certainly push up the bill a touch. If you’re on the hunt for a bargain the restaurant is launching its Thursday Supper Club this month with 50% off.  Chose from three courses and a glass of wine for just £22.50 (normally £45) or two courses and a glass of wine for £18.50 (normally £37). Bargain!

Cambium Restaurant, Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst SO42 7RH. Tel: 01590 624467

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1 comment on “Cambium, Brockenhurst”

  • andie January 8, 2020

    looks amazing nice way to chase those January blues away

    Reply

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