Page 30 - Poole Audi Feast Magazine Edition 2
P. 30

This is a jewel in the Feast crown. Hotel TerraVina, on the edge of the New Forest National Park, is a boutique hotel boasting 11 bedrooms, the stunning California Wine County Restaurant, and arguably the world’s most eminent sommelier, Gerard Basset OBE. (It should be noted that he is also the world’s most charming man, with Nina the world’s most charming wife and host, although these details haven’t made it on to his biblical resumé just yet.)
TerraVina is a retreat, for a meal, wine tasting, or well- earned break, and has been for over ten years – escape over cattle grids into the depths of the forest and delight at the signature, bright orange front door.
Many details in TerraVina are orange – and it’s no coincidence, as orange represents joy, enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. It is the colour of adventure and it’s optimistic, sociable, extroverted, and full of energy... apply all of those assets to the team at TerraVina and you clearly get the picture...
The restaurant is a haven of calm – the open-plan kitchens relaxed yet e cient, the sta  with an air of con dence – it’s an experience that makes you feel very much at home, one of the few restaurants that one could dine in alone and feel surrounded by friendship.
Head chef Gavin Barnes likes culinary adventure. He will pop in and out of the kitchen with treats that are not on the menu – he picks up on tiny details and makes them a headliner. His menu is dictated, as are many, by his butcher,  shmonger, and the various markets that he frequents. There is an organic hint on the menu and he will go to great lengths to achieve perfection on the plate.
Start with a glass of A.R. Lenoble house Champagne and ‘tapasvinas’ of whitebait and Parma ham in the cosy, chic bar.
Order from the elaborate six-course tasting menu (plus petit fours and co ee) or go à la carte and dip into the special’s menu.
We savour the salad of Hampshire beetroot with goat’s cheese, walnuts, 8-year balsamic, and a horseradish sorbet – fabulous  avours with the earthy honest beetroot brought to life by the mustardy horseradish – and a glass of Masseria Surani Arthemis Fiano Puglia 2015.
The salad of Vinatello cheese, apples, radicchio, watercress, toasted almonds, and black garlic mayo is lively, with heat from the watercress and black pepper. At this point we are blessed with a treat from Gavin – wafer thin slices of a Culatello ham called ‘Isabella’ from Valpolicella – what a journey, cured for two years, hung for 16 months and dipped for 90 days in Amarone and Recioto wines – bear with us there is a point here – the Vinatello cheese is also dipped in the Amarone and we are given a schooner of Inocente sherry to match the nutty notes of the ham (best not to mention this inspired pairing when you next visit Italy!).
The main of whole roasted plaice, buttered new potatoes, greens, and anchovy with lemon butter is light and fresh. The salty anchovies make the dish rounded and the  llet of John Dory escabeche with red peppers and paired with an aromatic La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca, 2014 is delectable.
There is a shared dessert of panna cotta and a Samos Grand Cru 2014 – a Greek sweet wine that lifts the lightness of the panna cotta.
If you haven’t visited TerraVina before – put this on the list as a ‘must do’. Enjoy the intimate Basset hospitality, which is so perfectly executed by Nina, the wines from Gerard and his exceptional team, and book that table for lunch or dinner and watch Gavin at work – although he evidently enjoys it so much should we be calling it work?
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