Three courses of utter perfection in the beautiful Hampshire countryside.
Bold claim, right? Three courses of utter perfection. Bold but true. I’ll be honest, even despite the exceptionally beautiful surroundings of the rolling countryside and the typical attentive service you can expect from the Four Seasons, I didn’t expect much from their restaurant, Wild Carrot, and boy was I very pleasantly surprised!
We started with drinks at the bar which is ‘in’ the restaurant and really beautiful. It has a 1920s feel about it and they have a great selection of gin cocktails. I had a few G&Ts the night before so opted for a Kir Royal instead – expensive but very good. Probably the best I’ve had outside of Paris (spoiler: this becomes a theme) and my bodyweight in olives.
After we finished our drinks we were seated at our table, we’d had to book for 6:30pm which should have been a sign as to how popular the restaurant was, but the staff very kindly let us sit down at 7pm instead as we were at the bar.
Before the starters came out we were brought a basket of freshly baked bread and beautiful soft and salty butter that melted as it was spread. I didn’t get a picture of this because it was inhaled at record speed.
We opted for the winter burrata and pate en croute to start.
The pate, was as expected, beautifully game-y and the little squares of quince jelly and crudites were the perfect balance. It felt a little bit like a posh pork pie but with so much more flavour.
If there’s burrata on the menu I’m definitely going to order it. I can’t get enough of it and this was up there with the best I’ve had. I love persimmon in salads and with blood orange and a molasses dressing I was always going to be happy with this. Burrata can be a bit too ‘soft’ sometimes but mixed with the crunch of the pomegranate and the sharpness of the blood orange it was a real winner.
For main, monkfish and cornfed chicken breast and sides of truffle mac and cheese and Chantenay carrots with honeycomb and curry leaf.
The monkfish was perfectly cooked and just fell apart when you put the fork in it; the leeks and girolle mushrooms were beautiful and the kale crisp added texture.
I chose the chicken for the main picture because it is hands down the best chicken dish/meal I’ve had since I first went to Paris a few years ago. So full of flavour and so tender. The stuffed chicken thigh was incredible, the shallots were fantastic – I could have eaten more, but the real star of the show was that thin line that looks like a biscuit of the most amazing crispy salty chicken crumble (I think that was the viennoise). SO GOOD.
I love carrots so I really enjoyed these and the truffle mac and cheese was to die for. I had to stop myself eating it otherwise I could have quite happily polished the whole thing off.
Somehow we managed to order dessert and went for the frozen vacherin hoping to continue to evoke memories of Paris.
Given how great the rest of the food had been all night I had really high hopes for dessert and while it was nice, I don’t think it was a good as the rest.
I can’t find the wine list on the menu but we had a lovely bottle of Sancerre which I really got a taste for in Paris and now order whenever I can!
The service was good, at first the staff were a little too attentive (filling up glasses as soon as you’d taken a mouthful, for example) but as the night went on and the restaurant became busier they passed by less frequently which was nice. They were all very friendly and very knowledgeable and I thought they were excellent.
If you’re staying at the Four Seasons Hampshire at any point, or you’re close enough to drive there for dinner one evening, then I cannot recommend Wild Carrot highly enough. The food was absolutely exceptional; I’d love to go back during summer to enjoy the views over the countryside whilst eating.