The Terrace Restaurant
The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, SO42 7ZL
Nestled in the heart of Beaulieu village is the elegant Montagu Arms Hotel. The Montagu Arms’ flagship restaurant The Terrace showcases head chef Matthew Whitfield’s extraordinary talent for creating innovative modern British dishes. Since taking up the post in January, Whitfield has reinvented the à la carte and tasting menus. Whitfi eld brings an exemplary record to the restaurant, having previously worked for New York’s three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. From the moment we were ushered into the restaurant, we knew we were in for a treat. The intimate dining room overlooks manicured lawns and pristine hedges, while inside mellow lighting and forest hues of green and auburn soften the edges of the oak wood panelling. The atmosphere is warm, with friendly and attentive staff setting the tone for an unforgettable culinary experience. We sampled the seven-course tasting menu, which is prepared with the utmost consideration to texture and aroma as well as flavour – there’s a stroke of genius in every creation. Each dish showcases an element of local produce – be it picked straight from the restaurant’s organic kitchen garden, from across the New Forest, or from neighbouring coastal counties Hampshire and Dorset. We started with the Jerusalem artichoke salad with garden-grown herbs, pickled mushroom and orange yolk from a freshly laid hen’s egg, followed by sublime slow-cooked squid served with delicate shiitake mushroom consommé. Next, we sampled the roasted fillet gurnard accompanied by Bolognese and fennel purée, and the exquisite Szechuan pepper duck with sensational bursts of ginger, orange and roasted cumin. Both dishes were executed to perfection and presented superbly. Charismatic sommelier Sergio was on-hand to pair dishes with iconic world wines from an extensive list. For a final flourish, a heavenly cheese trolley was served, alongside a lime and lemongrass sorbet served with spiced pineapple and coriander, and a mouth-watering chocolate bar with milk sorbet and coffee. With three AA rosettes to its name, it’s only a matter of time before The Michelin Guide graces The Terrace with a star. We’ll certainly revisit soon, but next time we’ll stay so we can savour the delicious breakfast too.