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Restaurant Review: Burley Manor, New Forest

I love my job; I’ve had the privilege to go on hard hat tours of some amazing properties, attractions, hotels and restaurants over the years. While that might not sound so exciting, I feel lucky to be among the first to see emerging travel gems.

This one I’m particularly excited about. Launching on 7th December, Burley Manor in the New Forest is the next big thing in this beautiful destination.  I’m already a big fan of the New Forest, visiting and marvelling at the ponies there since I was a child.  It has a certain sense of escapism – it’s on our doorstep but feels a world away.

Burley Manor Drawing Room - Nov 15 (LN) (1)

Burley Manor promises big things – it’s had a complete interior make over, with the help of a great interior designer bringing ‘the outside in’ with bold, nature inspired colours against the old original features. It also neighbours a deer sanctuary, making you feel at one with nature. The food is a little different – and has been the centre of speculation in recent weeks… Why is a quintessential English manor house serving Mediterranean food?

Burley Manor Dining Room - Nov 15 (LN) (1)

Trust me, it works. I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview lunch – getting a grand tour before the final finishing touches were placed too. It’s stunning. Sommelier Carlos proudly showed off his new ‘wine wall’ and made some great wine recommendations for our tapas selection.

Relaxing in the lounge, we chatted with delicious house-made bar snacks, while the chefs busied themselves in the kitchen preparing a tapas feast. We were seated on a sociable table with bench seating (perfect for leaning across and sharing dishes!) in the window and treated to a selection of New Forest wild mushroom croquettas, crispy baccala salt cod, lamb kibbeh with spiced yoghurt, houmous with dukkah, aubergine caponata and tabbouleh – all accompanied by fresh stone-baked bread.

If that wasn’t enough, out came a desert plank (carried by two waiters, no less) full of afters for sharing. This thing was immense. Stone baked rice pudding, roasted plums with amaretto, fig and almond tart, chocolate & rum fondue with cardamom & thyme shortbread and affogatto. And cheese. Lots of lovely, local cheese.

Cheese board, Burley Manor

Looking at the rooms – particularly the garden suites that open right out on to the lawn – I can’t wait to return for an overnight stay. Thanks for the preview, Burley Manor – good luck with the launch!

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