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New Star Spot

The place injecting a bit of high-class cosmopolitan dining into a sleepy little Hampshire village.

**Since this editorial first ran Greg is no longer at Table 22**

THE LOWDOWN

Old House Hotel Table 22The village of Wickham is an absolutely adorable place. A conservation area, it’s full of old buildings that would enamour any international tourist with its Ye Olde English charm.

Food has always been a big draw to the village, and when Masterchef semi-finalist Greg Emmerson and his business partner clapped eyes on The Old House Hotel, located in Wickham’s main square, they knew that this was the place to set up the next foodie hotspot in the county. The hotel and restaurant had been around for a while but needed a bit of love and TLC which it’s definitely had a lot of.

While the hotel is still being finished off (current date for opening is early 2019), Greg and his team have relaunched the restaurant as Table 22, with lots of hype, both locally and nationally.

 

THE VIBE

The restaurant is located on the ground floor of a gorgeous Grade II listed Georgian house. Walking in its warm and welcoming, with a few little nooks and cosy spots through the corridors that lead to the restaurant.

Table 22 ReceptionThere’s a fully kitted out cocktail bar with a couple of seats before you get into the main dining room. The restaurant itself has been very carefully put together (Greg’s other half is a renowned interior designer) with a modern feel, that doesn’t feel like its compromising on any of the period features.

Table 22 ConservatoryTable 22 RestaurantThe dining area isn’t massive and is flanked with tables either side. Walking down the narrow walkway it leads through to a beautiful conservatory overlooking the gardens. You could easily book this out for a family meal and it caters up to 64 covers.

The staff are super attentive, very smiley and extremely knowledgeable. There’s a real luxe feeling to the place but it comes without a single ounce of pretension.

SCOFF & QUAFF

The food and drink are the main show, with a huge focus on locally sourced items. Even in the cocktail bar, which was extremely well stocked, I noted a lot of local spirits and drinks from the surrounding area.

The restaurant plans to serve pretty much every meal going. With breakfast, lunch and dinner all on the cards (they’re even open for bookings on Christmas Day as well). It was evening when we visited so were treated to a three-course evening menu.

Table 22 CrabHampshire is lucky to have a lot of VERY good restaurants, but the offerings at Table 22 were next level. Everything came beautifully presented, right from my Dover crab and cucumber Gazpacho (above) to my husband’s Miso Marinated Mackerel (below).

Table 22 Mackerel

For main I opted for Iberico Pork with smoked potato puree, pickled kohlrabi and romanesco (below). The pork which I’m normally not a huge fan of, fell apart and was covered in a jus that was full of rich, deep flavours and complimented beautifully with the teeniest romanesco I’ve ever seen, that were almost buttery in flavour.

Table 22 Pork

I also had a sneaky taste of my husband’s Hampshire Canon of lamb (below) and it immediately melted in my mouth.

Table 22 Lamb

Table 22 ClementineFor dessert, I opted for the intriguing Table 22 Clementine (above), which did not disappoint. It was a bit of an enigma when it arrived, but after cutting through the jelly-like orange shell I was treated to a gorgeous white chocolate ganache and surprise salted caramel centre.

OUT & ABOUT

Grassrootsgroundswel shop in Wickham

Photo: Grassrootsgroundswell

The village itself has lots of beautiful old-school shops to explore and even has two emporiums of amazing independent businesses: Chesapeake Mill (built from the timbers of the USS Chesapeake) and Warwick Lane. Away from Wickham Square itself, you can take walk along the old train lines and explore the nearby Forest of Bere, in all its leafy glory. However, if it’s all a bit too quiet for you and you fancy heading back into the city, the village isn’t massively far from Southampton, Winchester or Portsmouth in each direction.

 THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Committed foodies and those who want something a bit more special and theatrical for their dinner plans.
Not for: Families with under 18s. Although they are going to be offering a lot of different dining options that will be more relaxed, the restaurant itself is quite small and you won’t be able to pander to the small one’s request for chicken nuggets.
££ – This is definitely somewhere to go for a treat, but it’s not so astronomical to make it a very rare occasion. For three-courses it was a quite reasonable £38.50, and you could opt for just two-courses at £32.60.  Drinks were around £6.00 for a spirit and mixer and a small glass of Pinot Grigio was only £3.80.
Table 22, The Square, Wickham, Fareham, United Kingdom, PO17 5JG; table22.co.uk

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