Taking ingredients from the forest itself as well as the nearby coast and farms, the main restaurant is the focus of dining here. Although there is a pub open for guests, where food is served, and a number of options such as afternoon tea (and, of course, breakfast) are available. But it’s the Terrace that has won the most plaudits and awards, under the control of Roux scholar Matthew Tomkinson.
Located in an area which supplies so much good game and other fine dining staples (even the Port is locally sourced), the emphasis here is on familiar combinations of flavours, executed to perfection. The atmosphere in which diners are served is also elaborately opulent and comforting in a country-house chic way – embroidered fabrics, dark wood, mirrors, and a spectacular terrace dining area (of course) add to the air of refinement.
Although the al fresco eating area is perfect for summer days, there’s plenty of joy to be found here as the nights draw in and the darker rooms become cosy and intimate; The Montagu Arms is, in fact, lauded by many for its Christmas feast, proving that a bit of luxury works well the year round.
Robust and comforting foodstuffs are the order of the day – like black pudding, grilled and served with braised lentils and spinach, Smoked salmon risotto with watercress and Pheasant with crispy potato and curly kale. There is, of course, room for plenty of invention – salmon might be served with a poached hen’s egg and crab velouté, for example.
The wine list has a strong French and European focus, with a nod to the New World, plus a broad selection of champagnes. Prices are reasonable and a surprise six-course menu is also available, where diners allow the kitchen to create something unique for them.