A STORYBOOK MEAL
They say you cannot judge a book by its cover; but how often have you had a ripping read of a novel you purchased because you liked the picture and the title? In the corner of Wickham Square there is an ivy covered hotel called The Old House and I have walked past it on many an occasion and thought there may be some stories to tell behind that attractive facade.
On a chilly November evening we crossed the threshold to be welcomed by Chris who was the perfect host; attentive, amusing and efficient, as were all the well-turned-out team that evening. The service was excellent, and that despite the fact they had the rest of the restaurant to serve as well as a private party in one of the side rooms.
My dining partner for the evening, Liz, and I sat in the conservatory and through the large windows we could just make out the gently lit haven of the garden. The interior of the hotel is rustic and comfortable, reflecting its country house feel, and above our heads was an ornate and stunning chandelier that took centre stage.
An amuse-bouche was served, a delicate quenelle of salmon mousse, and it set the standard for everything that followed. Intricate in conception and presentation but with a wonderful blend of taste and textures; Head Chef Sebastien Smith certainly knows his craft; the small taster set about making the mouth water and the taste buds burst into action.
Duck Egg & Serrano: a perfect example of how to present a dish, how to blend soft and crisp and how to excite the palate. This was a small tower topped by a poached duck egg on top of a garlic scented crouton and served with a crispy Serrano ham. Superb in every detail, but then Liz told me to try her choice, it may not have had the taste/texture mix of mine but the flavours leapt into the mouth with the first small bite. Smoked Trout, Oat Cakes and served with Horseradish and Capers Cream Cheese, the taste of this dish was intense, balanced, stunning and each element of the concoction adding more to the overall experience. The fact that this delicate dish was served on a salver of black slate only heightened its presentation.
The gap between courses is timed perfectly, a few minutes between starter and main and then a quiet broader gap between main and dessert when we could digest in thought what we had just eaten.
A towering, colourful, confection of Supreme of Smoked Salmon, topped with a crispy noodle nest, served on Samphire with an Exmouth Mussel Chowder, as tasty as it was elegant. My dish won the intensity taste test this time with a superb plate of Pheasant ‘Normandy’, served with Braised Apples and Calvados; Rosemary herbs completed the picture. The breast was not too ‘gamey’, in fact it was light, meaty and soft in texture; the apple and Calvados sauce was amazing.
Side dishes of Cornish New Potatoes and a medley of Winter Vegetables completed the main course table. Every dish cooked to perfection with nothing getting in the way of the flavours or the textures. It takes a clever chef to combine all these ingredients and still serve something that looks stunning, tastes amazingly and leaves the diner smiling broadly. Sebastien achieves all of this and more.
The biggest problem, and only problem of the evening was the choice of dessert – so many and all sounding wonderful. Liz went for the exotic sounding Chocolate and Orange Blossom Water Fondant served with a Champagne Sorbet. That fondant was one of the best ever served, soft and chocolaty but when the fork is pushed through the outer soft shell the warm chocolate oozes free – and the rest will be left to your imagination.
For me it was a crisp Almond and Fig Tart, served with an amazing Peanut Brittle and Amaretto Ice Cream; this was a dessert to beat all desserts and once again summed up Chef’s dedication to superb food; delicate, full of flavor and with an amazing array of textures.
The Old House Hotel in Wickham Square is a lovely building that we had walked past a thousand times with the thought that it may well be as nice inside as the outside advertises; it is better; and it will be very hard to walk past now. Chef and his small brigade in the kitchen produce stunning looking dishes that taste even better than they look; and this in a beautiful hotel and restaurant that can be judged by its exterior; it has an interior and a menu that far exceeds the attractive invitation of the cover!
OLD HOUSE HOTEL & RESTAURANT
The Square, Wickham, PO17 5JG
Our meal without drinks was great value at a little over £35 a head
Live in, Experience Sous Chef/Chef de Partis required.
Please contact Dawn or Vicki on 01329835870
Chase the “blues” away with our Special Winter break deal
Book 1 night stay at the Old House Hotel between 1st January & 31st March and get the 2nd night for only £30 including breakfast.
Terms & Conditions
Full payment to be made at time of booking
Please quote WB1 when making your reservation
Based on two people sharing a double room
Reservations subject to availability
Offer non-refundable or date changes once booking is made
Not valid in conjunction with any other offer & cannot be applied to an existing reservation
Excludes 14th & 15th February 2014
3 courses @ £19.50 or 2 courses @ £16.50 including wine or soft drink.
Without wine or soft drink 3 courses £14.00 or 2 courses £11.95
Butternut Squash & Chestnut Velouté
Baked Portobello Mushrooms, Basil & Oregano Pesto, Rosary Goats Cheese
* * * * * *
Minute Steak, French Fries, Dressed Leaves, Herb Butter
Roasted Pine Nut & Garlic Crusted Fillet of Haddock, Wilted Chard, Rissole Potatoes, Bercy Sauce
* * * * * *
Coffee & Walnut Sponge, Candid Walnuts & Cream
White Chocolate & Strawberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Coulis, Tuille Biscuit
Tunworth, Old House Apple, Date & Ginger Chutney, Grapes & Biscuits
* * * * * *
Carafe of House Wine also Included
Please inform us of any known allergies. We do not use any genetically modified ingredients in our dishes.
Please ask about our Loyalty Card
The Old House Hotel is proud to be a member of the Hampshire Wedding Experts.
We are a group of professionals who are passionate about providing an excellent service to our Bride & Grooms.
Please visit our webpage www.hampshireweddingexperts.co.uk
You can also find us on Facebook
For Christmas Day menu please see Restaurant
New Year’s Eve 2013
Fed up of going to parties to celebrate New Year?
Want to go out but be back before midnight?
Wine, Dine & Indulge yourselves at
The Old House Restaurant
We are doing what we do best
And that is providing our full a la carte menu from
6.30-9.00pm (last orders)
Collect your carriage and arrive home for coffee and brandy
The biggest gun in Britain has arrived at the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson, it will be on display until 2018.
If you are planning a visit and want somewhere to stay then look no further than the Old House Hotel.
Please contact us on 01329 835870
Have your car collected and returned clean and shiny with Meon Valley Hand Car Wash & Valeting Services.
Professional service guaranteed - prices from £6.00
Rowley’s, our sister restaurant, in Jermyn Street, St James’s , London have been serving their award winning steaks for the past 45 years.
The Rowley's steak dining experience is unique in the fact that the entrecote steak is seared in the kitchen and then served to your table for further cooking, to your liking, on a controllable burner, with a delicious herb butter sauce, which has been developed from the famous restaurant in Geneva, Entrecote Cafe de Paris. You can see their web page www.cafe-de-paris.ch
Please see Restaurant page for menu
13th – 5th Jan – Jack and the Beanstalk, Fernham Hall, Fareham
20th - Last Night of the Christmas Proms – Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra – Portsmouth Guildhall
25th Christmas Day Lunch – Old House Hotel, Wickham
31st New Year’s Eve – Old House Hotel, Wickham
26th – Ultimate Rhythm & Blues 50th Anniversary Tour – Kings Theatre Southsea
22nd Grease – Fernham Hall, Fareham
13th - Psychic Sally – Fernham Hall, Fareham
21st March 2014 The London Symphony Orchestra – Portsmouth Guildhall
Our main telephone number is 01329 835870
Need Present Inspiration?
Look no further than The Old House
Birthday, Anniversary, Thank You,
I’m Sorry, Christmas, any occasion.
A Personalised Gift Voucher is the ideal present.
Vouchers Are Available For Any Value You Require