Reviewed by Keith Mitchell
The Huntsman of Brockenhurst has undergone a major revamp and held an invitation only launch party. Situated in Brockenhurst, Hampshire along the main road, it is easily found. We managed to get through the busy period for traffic with only a few delays from the M27, via Lyndhurst. Be warned, Lyndhurst has a one way system that is busy in rush hour and can be best described as “interesting”.
Near to Brockenhurst are several New Forrest camp sites so The Huntsman is ideally situated if you are visiting the area.
It has a moderately large car park area. It is a deceptively large property with numerous seating areas which can accommodate around 80 diners. Whilst it has been modernised to a certain extent and has new décor, it has that Olde Worlde charm with exposed beams, cosy atmosphere even when very busy, such as this party time. There are numerous open fires, a small bar area and a particular favourite, the pizza making oven with several cooks producing a range of pizzas. There was one gentleman in a motorised wheelchair but I think he was fairly limited where he could go inside due to there being a couple of steps between various seating levels.
On arrival we were greeted by very pleasant staff and supplied with a drink and tokens to use at the bar. On into the premises for a good look round, I noticed lots of small electric lights and small candles giving a really nice warm atmosphere without being too bright or overpowering. Moving through the seating areas to the rear of the premises, you enter a small courtyard/garden area with seating and parasols with a large tree as centrepiece. Around this area are 9 bedrooms that were open for viewing, (The Huntsman has 13 rooms in total.) Wow! Tastefully decorated and furnished in a basic manner, still maintaining the warm style of the premises. Each room named, such as Fallow, Roe, Rabbit, Boar. Some have large showers, some bath and shower, my immediate impression was a great place for a romantic weekend away (prices around the £120 to £170 mark). Over the road there is also a function room.
Outside the main dining area is a HUGE garden with shelter, heating , rustic tables and seating, a fenced off lily pond and a fantastic fire pit as a central feature, lit and giving off a decent amount of heat. I was informed that this could accommodate around 200 people and would be great place for summer evenings.
The food is mainly pizzas freshly made (starting around the £8 mark) and even available for take outs, spot on for the campers I would think and of course, steaks. Tonight was full of canapes, cocktails( contents explained by the bar staff), tasters of steak, chicken, mackerel, puddings such as sticky toffee, all served in bits sizes by a myriad of staff.
Back inside I collared Stacey, the events manager, a mine of information about the project. The staff are young, helpful and a pleasure to be around, smiling and chatting to you, working hard but obviously enjoying the occasion, recruited by Claire. Most are wanting to make a career in hospitality and very keen to look after you. I found the Area Manager, Matt Bygate, for a chat. Twenty two years in the business with a big area to look after, but very enthusiastic for this venture, knows his stuff and took me in to the kitchen to see the machine producing the steaks, a huge Josper oven, which sears the steaks at a very high temperatures making them particularly succulent. Seeing those steaks being prepared and given Matt’s explanation of how to make a good steak, was worth the visit alone! The whole place is managed by a lovely lady called Ann who I met briefly. I believe she is local to the area so no doubt knows her customers and their wants. I chatted to quite a few guests and without exception, they all felt this was a really nice evening, in excellent surroundings, good food and outstanding staff. If tonight is anything to go by, The Huntsman of Brockenhurt deserves to be a roaring success and a definite stop off for anyone visiting the area.
For more information, to view menus or to make a booking call 01590 622225 or visit www.thehuntsmanofbrockenhurst.com.
Lymington Rd, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7RH | 01590 622225