It's not every day that you get the pleasure of dining in Michelin Star opulence but two weekends ago we were lucky enough to be staying in the fantastic boutique hotel, The Hamborough. Located on the clifftops of Ventnor, Isle of Wight, this luxury retreat is renowned for its culinary credentials as it is home to the only Michelin Star restaurant on the island. So, as hotel guests, we thought it was only right to try the special treats on offer downstairs.
Set-up by chef Robert Thompson, the restaurant is a nice size with a relaxed atmosphere. The menu has an awful lot of thought behind it, as would be expected of one with such credentials, and credit must go to the sommelier for creating one of the best wine lists I have tried in a long time - if you're still trying to get your head around food and wine pairing, they have it down to perfection at The Hamborough.
After some delicious cheese balls, we had a creamy mushroom amuse bouche.
Following current trends, Robert Thompson brings a taste of India through his clever starter of seared Scottish scallop with courgette "en fleur" with scallop moouse, tandoori spices and onion bhaji. This was matched perfectly with a glass of Macon Pierreclos, Domaine Marc Jambon et Fils 2010 from Bourgogne.
Slow cooked leg of rabbit with locally caught lobster, peas, broad beans, baby onions and romaine lettuce sauce were served as the main course. This was matched with Clos Beylesse, Domaine de l'Abbaye, Cotes de Provence.
We followed this up with the epic cheese board additional course which included a local soft cheese from the Isle of Wight, Waterloo and Wigmore. The wine list recommended Port to go with this but as I'm not a big fan, the sommelier suggested a red Rioja which, just as the other courses, very much complemented all the different cheese flavours.
By far the highlight of my meal was the dessert - a delice of valrhona chocolate with a lavender milk sorbet. Literally chocolate heaven....it was amazing. This course also had the best wine match and it was the first time I've ever tried a wine from Uruguay. The chocolate notes and balance of the Alcyone, Tannat, dessert wine were again an extremely pleasant match.
Presentation was key with this dish and myself and other people around the room who ordered the same couldn't help but let out a 'WOW' as it arrived to the table.
After four hours of mind-blowing food, a range of fabulous wines and fantastic company it was time to toodle back upstairs to our room and collapse into a massive food coma whilst reminiscing about each course.
The Hamborough, Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 1SQ (www.robert-thompson.com).