Monday 29 August 2016

The Terrace Restaurant at The Montagu Arms...

The words Michelin and Star in the same sentence are guaranteed to make any food lover sit up and take notice, so it was with a sense of anticipation that I took a seat at an elegant table in The Terrace Restaurant* during my stay at The Montagu Arms. Chef Matthew Tomkinson is celebrated for his flair for using the local area as his larder, and with the countryside and coast of Hampshire on the doorstep of The Terrace Restaurant, there is a wealth of excellent local produce for him to utilise.
After setting his heart on becoming a chef, Matthew studied hospitality management at University and started off his career as an apprentice chef in a pub. He won a Roux Scholarship during his time at the Michelin starred Ockenden Manor in West Sussex, and he went on to complete a stage at Michel Guérard’s Les Prés d’Eugénie in south-west France which holds three Michelin Stars. He earned Michelin Stars at the last two establishments he worked at and he gained a Michelin Star at The Montagu Arms within six months of arriving there in 2009. Quite an impressive track record to say the least, so I was keen to try his food for myself. After a warm welcome we were seated at a table by the window overlooking the sprawling gardens and fountain.
We were treated to freshly baked cheese goujères to commence the meal, which were feather light and doughy and tasted so good with salted butter, especially since they were still warm.

The amuse-bouche of prosciutto duck, confit caramelised orange and hazelnut was a good indication of things to come, with sophisticated flavours and a delightful zesty layer from the orange which offset the deep meatiness of the duck. 

For my starter, I ordered Matthew’s signature dish of spiced diver caught Scottish scallops with cauliflower purée, apple, coriander and cumin velouté. I have had the pleasure of eating scallops numerous times, yet never quite like this. The plump scallops were offset by the cauliflower whilst the apple added a refreshing zing. The velouté was lighter than air and allowed the sublime scallops to shine as they took on the subtle spice of the cumin creating an excellent starter overall.

My dining companion enjoyed his ‘Tarte Fine’ of garden beetroot and English brie with caramelised onions, beetroot purée and apple salad, a perfect summer dish with a good balance of vibrant flavours from the creamy Brie which paired well with the satisfying earthiness of the beetroot and a crunch of texture from the walnuts.

My main course of Ricotta filled fresh saffron pasta with grilled and marinated vegetables, basil pesto and red pepper purée sounded simple. How wrong could I have been, however, as this was anything but simple. Again, I have eaten pasta many times but this was like nothing I have experienced before. The parcels of fresh pasta literally melted in my mouth with a lovely mousse like ricotta within. The marinated vegetables added to the dish and the basil pesto and red pepper purée created a Mediterranean flavour. This was everything I have always wished pasta could be, hearty without compromising on intricate flavour.

My dining companion was similarly impressed by his roasted breast of free range chicken with summer truffle, dauphine potatoes and Tunworth cheese fondue. I sampled this too, and I have rarely eaten chicken so tender whilst the crisp dauphine potatoes added a comfort food element to the dish and the truffle and Tunworth brought in complex flavours.

For dessert I could not resist dark chocolate cremeaux with walnut ice cream, coffee macaroon and milk chocolate mousse. Again where to begin extolling the virtues this plate is the only problem, but let’s start with the nutty delight of walnut ice cream which I could have happily taken home a vat of. The coffee macaroon was gone but not forgotten in seconds, the milk chocolate mousse delivered the richness of melted chocolate with a light texture and the dark chocolate cremeaux added a silky cocoa bitterness which  I relished.

Allow me to move on to the unadulterated pleasure of the warm salted caramel fondant with ‘cider lolly sorbet’ and crème fraiche. Anybody who has read my blog or magazine work for a while will know that I am something of a fondant addict, but this was a different take on the chocolate fondants I have concluded so many meals with. The sponge was airy and the warm salted caramel sauce was sweet and salty in equal measure. Salted caramel has become so popular of late, but this showed how delicate it can be in skilled hands. Meanwhile, the cider lolly sorbet practically created a civil war at our table as we both dived in to eat as much of it as possible. I cannot understand, only marvel, at how a simple sorbet could equate to such amazing flavour but this was rich with apple whilst retaining the boozy quality of cider too.

Well, what an evening and I know that people might roll their eyes when food writers call a meal ‘a triumph’ but sorry, that is exactly what this was. I highly recommend trying Matthew Tomkinson’s cuisine for yourself, as every bite of this was a journey through magnificent flavours and textures. It is no wonder that The Terrace Restaurant holds a Michelin Star and it was a privilege to dine there and enjoy flawless service and exquisite food.

The Terrace Restaurant 
The Montagu Arms Hotel, 
New Forest, 
SO42 7ZL

01590 612324

What do you all think, have you dined at a Michelin Star restaurant and which of these dishes appeals to you? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



*I was a guest of The Terrace Restaurant, this meal was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 


  1. This looks so lovely - food looks small but I imagine it was very, very rich.

  2. Sounds like a lovely place to eat at.

  3. Ohhh wow this looks delicious, I hope I get the chance to visit 😁 oh lovely post too x

  4. Omg!!!
    I would love to taste everything!!

  5. Oh wow this looks absolutely delicious!

    Gemma x

  6. The Montagu Arms looks amazing, I can see why it has a Michelin star

  7. Wow the food looks amazing especially that dessert! Yum! =)

    - Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  8. Beautiful photos! Great post!
    I would really love for you to check out my latest reviewpost
    Keep in touch~
    Kaiyo Aino Blog > New Post is Up!

    Kaiyo Aino Blog

  9. The food looks amazing! I have dined at Michelin restaurants and I would definitely love this one.


  10. My wife and I have been guests of The Montagu Arms on and off for nearly forty years. The hotel has been par excellence in all that time, with faultless and immaculate service, wonderful rooms and the incomparable Terrace restaurant. Under the jurisdiction of Matthew Tomkinson, The Terrace is the place to eat when in the New Forest and, with Resident Manager Sunil Kanjanghat at the helm you're in the very best of hands.

    1. It really is a wonderful place to stay for unparalleled luxury. I can see why you would have returned there for so long. Thank you very much for commenting :)