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Italian delights at HH&co

 

C. and I took a break from London life and family life recently and headed to Hampshire, a two-hour drive from London.  In the heart of New Forest, a gorgeous property is nestled amongst trees and preserved grounds.  The drive up to Limewood Hotel where the restaurant is located is not dissimilar to the aristocratic drive featured in Downton Abbey.  We felt very regal.  

Hartnett Holder & Co is a collaboration between two amazing chefs.  Angela Hartnett is revered on the London restaurant scene with her very own michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair, called Murano.  She is also one of the few female chefs in the fine dining arena.  At the pinnacle of his career, Luke Holder spent a year cooking in the Italian kitchen of Enoteca Pinchiorri, a three Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of Tuscany.   Both their cooking is inspired by Italian cuisine at its best and ultimately, it is this team of well-rounded chefs that makes HH&Co.  They seek to ensure that every dining experience is "fun dining, not fine dining".  Their style is home-cooked food not food cooked for restaurants: the food is centred around locally sourced Italian dishes that respect the seasons and Italian culinary tradition. The result is second to none.

HH & Co is a relaxed, yet stylish restaurant located in truly breathtaking surroundings.  It is hence full of character, but completely unpretentious. The wooden tables are encircled by comfortable leather chairs or sofas in a warm and inviting atmosphere.  The colour palette is muted with pale pink and pistachio green undertones. Large windows overlooking the Lime Wood gardens invite natural light and sunshine in.  The overall experience is simply divine.

The menu offers inventive mediterranean dishes of the highest quality, with a focus on local and seasonal produce.  C. and I opted for the following dishes:

 

pappardelle, octopus, red wine, tomato oil, black olives 

cavatelli, partridge, chestnut, date   

**

beef cheek, braised carrot, sage & onion crusted bone marrow

fish stew, red mullet, salmon, scallop, gurnard  

 

 The food at HH & Co is perfection.  The flavours marry each other beautifully and the ingredients are cooked just right (we were told that my cavatelli dish was slightly delayed due to my pasta being overcooked and not meeting the chef's high standard). The cooking is clearly heartfelt, honest and wholesome, and evidently prepared by a team (the accent is on & Co!) which is passionate about what it does.  This is what fine dining should be.

  

(photos courtesy of the restaurant's own website & my own photograps)  

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