Dinner at The Old Forge in Otterbourne

ad* Nestled in the leafy Hampshire village of Otterbourne is the beautiful country pub and restaurant The Old Forge.

It’s recently just opened after undergoing a major transformation and I fell in love with the dreamy velvet, rich tones and metallic finishing touches.

This in addition to the open fireplaces, exposed brickwork and low beamed ceilings make it the perfect winter hideaway!

The mix of traditional English pub and luxury interior is a winning combination and I am so into its cosy vibes. With the festive season kicking in, it’s good to have a few places like up your sleeve when you’re looking for places to visit with friends and family.

I was invited to take a look around and try the new menu, take a look…

Location

Hampshire is full of gorgeous quintessential English villages that could be on the cover of a chocolate box. I didn’t manage to get a photo of it in the day but even from this picture at night you can get a good idea!

Otterbourne is really easy to get to, it’s just south of Winchester to the north of Southampton, it’s just a short drive from the M3.

New Interior

Everyone needs a little luxe in their life, right? Well stepping into The Old Forge with its deep blues, rich reds and velvet materials was like stepping into a little slice of luxury – it has a seriously welcoming atmosphere!

The pub and restaurant are conveniently separated into two sections, when you walk in the pub the big lounge style seating is to your right and the restaurant runs around the building to the left.

There’s plenty of cosy corners for dates, a quiet moment and catch ups with friends and family. It’s so pretty, there’s chairs, mirrors and plant pots that you’d like in your home.

There are plenty of big armchairs to spend a very comfortable few hours in and little corners and nooks which can make it feel quite private too.

Henry enjoyed the big arm chairs!

Fireplaces are dotted throughout the entire venue which keep it at a comfortable temperature and give it that magical seasonal edge.

I mean who doesn’t like an open fireplace to warm up by when it’s cold outside?

Drinks & Cocktails

On arrival at The Old Forge Henry (my other half) and I were greeted with a gorgeous gin bar set up and our choice of tipples from the back bar.

I finally had the opportunity to try the delicious Tarquin’s rhubarb and raspberry gin – it was just the right balance of sweet and tart and made a very good G&T, with a bit of Fevertree tonic of course!

The drinks menu is extensive with a great selection of gin and lots of cocktails including a while range of hot ones.

Henry was on driving duties and picked the Seedlip botanical drink – The Old Forge has a great selection of non-alcoholic options.

I can also recommend the Pineapple Daiquiri, a scrumptious blend of Bacardi, pineapple syrup, juice and lime. It was refreshing and not too sweet, perfect!

Menu

Oh my goodness, this menu is so good, I couldn’t even pick what to have as there were so many dishes I would have eaten. I even changed my starter because I was so torn between dishes – our poor waiter, he must of thought I was mad.

I’m horribly indecisive and when there’s lots of things I want to try I find it so hard to pick. But, I think I made excellent decisions, take a look.

Starters

The seared wild Atlantic scallops with spiced tempura cauliflower, roasted cauliflower purée and micro coriander was a dream.

I wasn’t sure if cauliflower would work with scallops but I ate my words, it was so tasty and the perfect light starter.

The Salt and Szechuan pepper squid was so crispy!

I may have stolen a few piece of Henry’s starter because this was incredible and the preserved lemon aioli, well is calamari right without aioli? I just don’t think it is!

Main Course

The rack of lamb was superb! It comes with chorizo, a butternut puree, roasted shallots, cavolo Nero, dauphinoise potatoes, chime cherry and a red wine jus.
It sounds like there’s a lot going on there but actually it’s a beautifully balanced dish.
The lamb was cooked perfectly, cavolo nero is the tastier cousin of kale and the dauphinoise were excellent. But, the thing that really tied it all together was the red wine jus, OH MY! It’s rich, full of flavour and was the icing on the top of a truly wonderful meal.
I haven’t had a red wine jus like that in a very long time and I will be going back for it.

Usually it’s Henry that has the lamb but he was keen to try the moroccan-inspired cauliflower tart. Baby spinach and leeks sat in a kale and thyme pastry case, topped with seeds, a herb dressing and a slow roasted tomato sauce.

Henry was worried it wouldn’t be filling but any initial concerns went right out the window when the hearty dish appeared! He let me try a bite or two and it was very good.

Pudding

What a meal, everything from start to finish was spot on!

We finished our delicious meal with two sticky toffee puddings and it was a delicious end to an awesome meal.

Plus the little twist to the pudding was the accompanying bourbon vanilla ice cream – such a great addition!

Cosy Evenings

What a cosy night! It couldn’t have come at a better time either – I was in the run up to a big event at work and an evening to enjoy a meal and take a few hours out was absolute bliss!

We were so impressed with this gorgeous English pub and I can’t wait to go back. It looks like it has a huge deck out the back too, so I bet it will be lovely by the time summer comes back around.

A huge thank you to The Old Forge for the invitation to review, I had a wonderful time, a brilliant meal and the dreamy new interior is really welcoming.

Let me know if you go, take a look at the menu, there’s some incredible options on it!


  • *AD – gifted experience for review BUT all opinions are my own, otherwise what’s the point?!

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