Enter the newly refurbished No. 34 restaurant at The Orchid Hotel and step into a world that instantly removes you from the bustle of everyday life, transporting you to a place of intimate sophistication and understated good taste. The simple and elegant soft furnishings and complementary decor in shades of purple, black and copper effortlessly combine contemporary style with traditional comfort. This style offers a superb introduction to what is guaranteed to be a memorable dining experience.
Jean Gysemans, a Michelin-starred chef from Hotel George V in Paris (previously nominated as the world’s best hotel), brings with him his own personal cooking mantra that good food does not need to be complicated. His dishes, created from locally sourced ingredients and fresh seasonal vegetables, are original, delicious and artfully presented.
At No. 34’s launch night, I enjoyed a light starter of mouth-watering asparagus from nearby Sopley, served on a bed of smoked haddock and yuzu mayonnaise with a shot of green asparagus gazpacho. The chef’s skill ensured that despite the haddock’s potential potency, the asparagus remained the star of the show. This was followed by classic French lamb navarin – slow-cooked spring lamb, seasonal vegetables and new potatoes, presented as a single dish like a good oldfashioned casserole. The lamb was tender, the vegetables retained their bite, and the gravy was so delicious that I forgot where I was and happily mopped it all up with bread, as suggested by the knowing waitress. I ﬁnished with feather-light tarte tatin, comprising plenty of apple with just the right level of caramelised sweetness, perfectly complemented by creamy salted caramel ice cream. All of this was perfectly accompanied by crisp sauvignon blanc.
With wholesome food selected, prepared and cooked by an outstanding chef, served by friendly and knowledgeable waiting staff in comfortable, elegant surrounds, it doesn’t get much better than an evening at No. 34.