Stanwell House, a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant in the High Street in Lymington sits in an enviable position in the New Forest with both coast and country right on its doorstep, an ideal spot for a short break to this spectacular corner of the British Isles.
A classic yachty town, with a marina and historic cobbled streets, it has more than its fair share of places to eat and drink. But few offer the superb food that is synonymous with Stanwell House, an excellent choice if you’re planning a visit or an excellent excuse to, if you’re not.
This historic town house has several distinct dining areas as well as a cocktail and wine bar, courtyard, walled garden and a pavilion party space as well.
The two AA Rosette restaurant, Etain was re-launched in 2019 to celebrate the hotel’s tenth anniversary. Its interiors are inspired by this ‘tin’ milestone, a fusion of textures and colours, metals and woods, an eclectic backdrop for its acclaimed menu.
In the gardens are wisteria-hidden twists and turns which provide peaceful spots to enjoy a G & T or an ice-cold beer.
They are also the location for Ten, a luxurious pavilion gazebo which hosts afternoon teas, birthday parties and hen night celebrations.
The Conservatory is a light and bright spot for a sandwich at lunchtime or a spectacular afternoon tea, perfect for a pitstop if you’re Christmas shopping the High Street.
Then there’s Drydock, where UK sailing gold-medallist, Ben Ainslie, was a regular – his signature adorns the bar and the walls features exclusive sailing prints from his collection.
Finally, is Burcher & Co, which overlooks the bustling High Street from traditional sash windows, and from where we recently sampled a superb five-course tasting menu. The restaurant offers relaxed, cosy dining with a quirky, softly lit, rustic interior crafted around a centrepiece of one giant tree, a showcase for the forest from where much of the Stanwell House food is sourced.
Our tasting menu included: celeriac velouté with herb oil; beetroot gravadlax with dill crème fraiche; Jersey Royal terrine with goat’s curd, leek puree and broad beans.
The main course was pan-fried bream with a raisin and caper dressing and cauliflower, followed by a lava-filled salted caramel fondant with vanilla ice cream. Finally, came the indulgence of coffee and Armagnac taken on two huge sofas after all the other guests had headed off.
Both food and service were exceptional. We had booked a deal break, a treat to relax after our meal without the drive home, it definitely represents genuinely excellent value for money. That said, the rooms we were given were a little tired – okay but not great. Breakfast though was as we expected, delicious.
The New Forest has so many delights – all of which can be enjoyed from Stanwell House on a short break. But if you’re fairly local and just fancy delicious food served by lovely people in relaxed surroundings, we’d say book a table now.