A Taste of History
Nestled comfortably in the Meon Valley, a visit to Langrish House was like stepping back in time for Claire Pitcher, but the food was far from traditional.
Going to eat at Langrish House isn't just a fine dining experience; it's also a local history lesson. Home to seven generations of the Talbot-Ponsonby family, the oldest part of the house, the vaults, were dug by Royalist prisoners captured by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Cheriton in 1644. The property's colourfulpast was retold to me by host Nigel Talbot-Ponsonby as we were given an after-dinner guided tour around the house.
There are no airs and graces here; it's like a home from home. Comfy sofas in the drawing room (where you can have pre-dinner drinks) and in the cosy Frederick's Restaurant the real fire added a touch of romance.
Deciding on what to have from the Table D'Hote menu proved tricky, everything sounded delicious. For starters I settled on the butternut squash velouté, sautéed crepes, Parmesan crisps and white truffle tortellini. Beautifully presented, the tortellini and crisps were artistically placed on a stylish spoon and the velouté in an equally stylish conical bowl. It tasted as good as it looked. My husband was feeling adventurous and was pleasantly surprised with his (never been tried before) roasted globe artichoke, pancetta lardons, baby spinach and wild mushrooms and parmesan fondu.
I thought it strange that on the list of main courses to choose from there was a mix of Hampshire and Berkshire ingredients. The venison (which we both opted for) was from Hampshire, and the vegetarian dish featured Barkham Blue pithiver - which was also on the 'local' cheese menu along with Sussex Charmer and Waterloo (Reading).
The venison came with textures of parsnip, blackberries, and sloe gin jus. Served 'medium' the venison was melt in the mouth.
Dessert was probably one of the best I have ever tasted. I have ever had.
In fact, the decision to share it, on reflection, wasn't a good one. Homemade tiramisu with coffee honeycomb, Kahula jelly and espresso granita. The tiramisu was light and creamy and the honeycomb added the right amount of crunch. Then with the extra texture from the jelly, plus the bitter cold espresso - it made the whole thing delightfully fun to eat.
For a Sunday night the restaurant was quite busy, it's obviously popular with Langrish residents and hotel guests alike. On our way out to the car nigel spoke about the house's extensive grounds and lake - what a good excuse to come back and try the lunch menu.