Marwell Hotel was built in 1989, the architect taking inspiration from Treetops in Africa to bring a colonial safari lodge to Hampshire. Being next door to Marwell Zoo & Wildlife Park, the Hotel looks surprisingly at home in its woodland backdrop. The intention was always for the Hotel to be attractive to both leisure guests visiting the many attractions in the local area and business guests who could make use of the unique conference facilities and pleasant setting.
With Resident Manager Oliver Bastian at the helm bringing with him an unsurpassed passion and commitment to customer service excellence, Marwell Hotel has since gone from strength to strength and offers a truly unique service that can only be expected from a family-owned and operated hotel.
The hotel’s 68 bedrooms are split between four lodges, connected by open corridors from which you can admire the surrounding woodlands. The newly-refurbished Executive rooms offer the ultimate luxurious night’s sleep with soft lighting and a boutique-style interior making them both intimate and relaxing to complement the tranquility of the surrounding woodland.
The en suite bathroom has bath and thermostatic shower whilst the room has all the mod cons one would expect including 32” Full HD television with integrated DVD player & Sky TV, complimentary luxury teas, cafetière coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits, complimentary Wi-Fi plus a Dyson HOT fan. Executive room guests also benefit from complimentary use of the hotel’s leisure facilities and complimentary on-site car parking.
The Dining Room at Marwell Hotel is a modest and informal, yet spacious, restaurant, boasting floor to ceiling windows and an oak beamed structure, set within the beautiful wooded countryside of Hampshire. Executive Chef Phil Yeomans brings years of experience from great kitchens including The Dorchester, Harvey Nichols, Soho House and more recently Lainston House Hotel in Winchester, where Phil, as Head Chef, held three AA rosettes for seven years and was awarded 5 in the Good Food Guide.
Phil modestly describes his style as ‘English cooking with a modern twist’. This approach is based on classical roots, with the employment of modern techniques. Flavours are pure, with main ingredients allowed to speak for themselves. Textures and temperatures are well judged, whilst the final presentation is clean and delicate.
As we settled in we were presented with an amuse bouche which was a chicken foam with bacon and it was whipped and frothy with micro herbs. The surprise was at the bottom of the dish as not only did we discover tasty bacon bits but also picked apple jelly which suitably prepared the palate for the culinary treats to come.
To start we tried the asparagus with goats cheese, pear, walnut and radish. The goats cheese was smooth and not overpowering yet paired well with the crunchy texture of the asparagus and walnut.
We also enjoyed Seared Scallops with crab, cauliflower, kalamasi, chorizo and lovage.
For the main course, I ordered the Lamb Rump with lamb shoulder, olive, broccoli and kohlrabi. The succulent lamb and rich flavours of the dish ensured I savoured every forkful of my delectable dinner.
My other half thoroughly enjoyed a dish of Spring Chicken Breast with pressed wing, hazelnut, gnocchi and peas. The fresh flavours paired perfectly with the tender meat of the chicken.
We were delightfully surprised with a prelude to dessert from the chef – lime jelly and cherry sorbet served with Crème Anglaise and biscuit crumb. The vanilla flavours of the Crème Anglaise matched well with the fruitiness of the cherry sorbet.
My dessert choice was the white chocolate cheesecake mousse. This well thought out dish comprises of freeze dried aerated blackberry jelly, blackberry sorbet, blackberries, Parisian apple balls, apple jam and apple marshmallow topped with biscuit crumb. Although the list of components is long, each element added its own special something to the dessert without overwhelming the senses.
The chef’s take on Lemon Meringue is beautifully deconstructed and its elements really do stand out on their own yet come together brilliantly at the same time. The lemon contrasts well with the raspberry and the white chocolate coupled with the meringue is heavenly.
Ingredients are locally sourced where possible and a strong relationship with their local suppliers helps Phil and his team develop the best seasonal offerings on the fine dining menu which is thoughtfully created to exceed expectations and cater for all tastes making Marwell Hotel a definite dining destination for any visitor to Winchester.
Thompsons Lane, Colden Common, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1JY
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