The Terrace Restaurant

Montagu Arms Hotel Beaulieu New Forest Hampshire SO42 7ZL

It's located in the lovely Montagu Arms hotel, but the Terrace Restaurant is very much a destination in its own right, with the New Forest providing a sumptuous larder for the enthusiastic and creative head chef here, Matthew Tomkinson. It's the New Forest's only Michelin-starred restaurant and has the studied feel of an upmarket establishment, with a relatively traditional wood-panelled decor that is complemented by the quality of the service, which is friendly and relaxed – as is the pretty garden outside where you can eat during summer if you're so inclined. They do a good-value set lunch menu, and even at dinner the prices aren't astronomical given the quality of the food – or if you want to get really serious, you can opt for the six-course tasting menu (with or without paired wines). As well as the forest, most of the produce is sourced from the restaurant's own kitchen garden, and the focus is on high-quality ingredients, simply cooked and beautifully presented – hearty and mouth-watering fare, yet refined at the same time. The menus change daily depending on what's available, but whatever day it is the food is sure to be fantastic – think slow-cooked oxtail lasagne followed by escalope of wild coast sea bass with artichoke puree and serrano ham, or Scottish scallops with cauliflower and cumin veloute followed by saddle and shoulder of lamb with crispy sweetbreads. Sunday lunch is a little bit different, with a couple of roasts and a fish and a veggie option, while desserts are nice and relatively simple affairs on the whole, with just a handful of options plus a decent selection of cheeses from the trolley. Altogether the Terrace is one of the best places to eat in the New Forest, if not Hampshire as a whole, with fabulous, very friendly service and terrific food.

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