My wife and I had dinner in the Hambrough restaurant last night as non resident diners. Although the food was nicely cooked and seasoned we were expecting a little bit more from a restaurant boasting 7/10 in the Which good food guide.
Being in the industry and having eaten in many other restaurants with the same guide book achievments I felt that the subtlties that could go unnoticed in this case were over looked. We arrived 20 minutes early for a pre-dinner drink. We were taken to a souless room at the very rear of the hotel. The room did have a nice decoration of lillys and red roses. The room was empty with no music and no atmosphere. To me it felt odd that the only noise was coming from the kitchen below.
The waiter mumbled to us that our table was ready, I would have liked to have finished my gin and tonic at the table, although the waiter dutifully took the glasses for us he clearly felt I had finished.
Some long thin bread sticks were served in a chipped glass held in place with wild rice. The bread was nice but again the fine detail missing. My wife and I had the tasting menu, with a supplement for wines to match, the wife was driving. The wine matching and quality of the wines were by far the highlight of this restaurant, with the Restaurant Manager passing on his knowledge with each glass.
The cauliflower veloute with cepe cream was nicely seasoned and executed but not completely original. A little disappointing considering the appetiser complimtents of the chef was also a veloute, celeriac, again nicely seasoned but not bursting with flavour. We did find that even after the main course the cep and truffle oil used in the first course was still repeating on us.
To follow was a small Kilner jar of foie gras mousse with nuggets of pan frying foie gras, peach pieces and sauterne jelly. Nicely put together, the pain d'epice had gone soft and the presentation was a little basic with the doily sliding all over the plate as it was placed before us. Michelin star restaurants and doilys for me do not work especially from a restaurant with an image of a young and vibrant Chef.
With a small but still unique fishing harbour on the doorstep in Ventnor, I found it a touch odd that the menu displayed Orkney Salmon and Cornish Brill. The cutlet of salmon dish was probably the strongest dish on the menu.
The venison was nicely cooked, didn't really like the pancetta around it. Spatzli was nice but not wow and the trompettes were washed atleast. The dish lacked nutrients, fresh veg.. The Grand Veneur sauce was a clean example although not bursting with flavour.
Chocolate fondant for pudding was nicely cooked but not as good as the Michel Bras original but a good example of the gooey cake version which has been adopted by the Uk in gastro pubs and bistro's.
One of the high lights of the dining experience was the silver needle White tea. Being a bit picky I guess but the water temperature was too high and the last of the pot would have been over brewed had I not poured it in to the water glass. The offer of extra water for a second flush was not thought of or offered.
Some attention or training with the Front of House team is needed, the extra piece of bread I asked for to go with my first course never arrived and the mumbling waiter was a bit of a let down. All in all a nice evening with my wife although a little disappointed with the dining experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sitting high above the fishing harbour in Ventnor, The Hambrough (AA 5 Star Accommodation) offers accommodation by the sea on the southern tip of the Isle of Wight. All but one of our seven spacious bedrooms has magnificent views of the sea and our award winning breakfasts are legendary. Although our restaurant is closed for the time being our bar is open where we are serving delicious afternoon and cream teas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Hambrough Hotel Ventnor
- Hambrough Hotel Ventnor
- Hambrough Ventnor
- The Hambrough Ventnor, Isle Of Wight