Tasting Experience at The Haven, Sandbanks.
The Haven Hotel, part of the FJB group is perfectly positioned on the exclusive Sandbanks peninsula, surrounded by sea and sand and with views across to Studland it doesn't get much better.
However, in the dreary days and dark evenings of winter most hotels need to continue to offer something a little extra to keep the customers visiting.
This is where The Point Restaurant at The Haven Hotel triumphs, Wednesday night I was invited by Simon Braz, senior Sous Chef, to the launch of the new seasons tasting menu, eight courses celebrating the start of a new season. A real fine dining experience and one I guarantee if you try it, you won't forget in a hurry.
Like the majority of you reading this I rarely think of going to a hotel restaurant when looking for somewhere to eat out but honestly we are missing out on some real hidden gems,as most hotels welcome non residents to their restaurants.
Chefs' just love to show you what they can create with food and a tasting menu gives them that opportunity, don't expect it to be cheap, but it is excellent value, they always use quality ingredients Head Chef Jason Hornbuckle at The Haven is passionate about using local and sustainable ingredients wherever possible chefs spend hours working on achieving the perfect flavour combination and plating style.
This is how our evening played out.
A sweetcorn soup served as an Amuse Bouche was a great way to start the experience served with bread and butter.
My favourite dish was without a doubt this enormous Portland pan seared scallop, confit pork belly, parsnip, lobster emulsion and chervil. Tender juicy scallop, salty pork, creamy lobster emulsion, crunchy parsnip just brilliant!
Pan Fried Wood Pigeon breast, crispy braised leg, kohlrabi, squash puree, parsley sponge.
Wild Cornish Turbot Fillet crab risotto, leek, fennel, turbot belly, dill oil, parmesan. This dish was a firm favourite with my husband this photo really doesnt do it justice the flavours were incredible.
Another nod to the beginning of the game season with this saddle of venison, accompanied with chestnut creamed potato, quince, roasted chervil root with a liquorice jus. The quince provided the perfect balance to the rich venison and chervil was a totally new vegetable to me, the flavours were reminiscent of chestnuts, carrots and parsnips all mixed together.
Deliciously refreshing after the richness of the venison - Green apple sorbet, cranberry sherbet, cinnamon yoghurt. Cold, slightly tart and delicious.
The milk and dark chocolate mousse course may divide a group of dinners as it did ours, and I will let you try it without spoiling the 'surprise' in my opinion that's the advantage of a tasting menu, you won't love everything put in front of you but it is a chance to explore new flavour combinations and expand your palate.
We finished the evening with coffee and beautiful handmade petit fours and we were both pleasantly full, and with a satisfied palate.
A tasting menu is the opportunity to experience food in a different way to an a la carte menu, as it offers you the chance to understand flavours and ingredients in exactly the way the chef wants you too, with the run of courses designed to work together, think about a music album, and how the track listing is designed to work, and you'll have an idea of how this works. Now you wont be in and out within an hour,so prepare to be entertained with food offerings for a good three hours.
This restaurant deserves to have recognition as a restaurant in its own right and I hope that they consider stronger social promotion and advertising to spread the word and encourage you in..
Our meal was complimentary but all photographs and opinions are my own.
The Haven Hotel
Restaurant 01202 707 333