So, when my parents suggested meeting up there again for a belated birthday meal, they didn't have to ask twice!
If ever you find yourself in the Bransgore area of the New Forest - go. It's not cheap, but it's not the most expensive place either and the quality is just second to none. Now, what did I have?
Starter : deep fried battered Mudeford Cuttlefish with a garlic and saffron mayonnaise. (Mudeford is a local fishing village). This was the first strike from my foodie bucket list. I've never had cuttlefish before (or squid, or octopus) and this was just lovely. In a lovely light batter, the fish was as tender as could be, with a delicious gentle flavour that the garlic & saffron mayonnaise didn't wipe out. I could have eaten a whole lot more of this!
Main course : Trio of game, which was a pigeon breast, a saddle of venison and a rabbit filled suet crusted dumpling, served with pak choi, asparagus and Dauphinoise potatoes all of which was sat in a delicious puddle of red wine jus. The additional vegetables were romanescu cauliflower, golden cauliflower, blue carrots, mange tout and green beans. Strike two and three from my foodie bucket list, with the pigeon breast and venison! Now, the pigeon breast was as tender as could be, sweet and succulent. The venison had BIG flavour, but was utterly consistent in texture and quality - and so moreish. However, the surprise was the little rabbit suet pudding, which was just to.die.for. Not one piece of rabbit was dry or overcooked, it was mixed with carrot and celery and was just utterly heavenly. The Dauphinoise potatoes were just gorgeous and the veggies were lightly cooked but hot and just so tasty. The whole thing was just worth every penny of its £17.95. If I could have got away with licking the plate, I would have.
Dessert : Plum and almond tart with clotted cream. The plums were sweet but mouthwateringly tart and the almond base had a frangipane-like texture. The flavour of almond had got a tiny bit lost somewhere along the line, but the crisp pastry and the whole flavour combination was extremely satisfying. Gorgeous.
Of special note, were the faggots that hubby had as his starter. "Faggots with braised lettuce" was the description, but let me tell you that these faggots were like none I've ever tasted before. An incredibly complex combination of flavours went into these little babies and the broth with the vegetables and the lettuce were just divine. I'd very much like to know what went into them! :)
I was sorely tempted by the Oxtail and Dorset Snail Suet Pie - but then my Dad would have had to have sat at a different table, if I'd have eaten snails (which would have been another strike from my foodie bucket list), so I rejected that choice. *chuckle*
Well done, The Three Tuns. We're demanding diners, I know, but yet again you pulled it out of the bag for us. Wonderful stuff.
Last but not least, thank you to my fabulous parents for inviting us out. You're just lovely, you are!