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AA Notable Wine List 2017-18
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Italian family cooking in a sophisticated New Forest hotel

AA Inspector

At a glance

Open all year
All day dining
Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass

If you go down to the woods today, the New Forest to be precise, you could hardly do better than to find this beautifully renovated Regency manor house built on the site of a 13th-century hunting lodge, imaginatively reinvented as a modern country bolthole. As you’d hope for in a distinctly new-wave country hotel, Lime Wood's interiors are replete with luxurious touches created with great panache by in-demand designers David Collins and Martin Brudnizki, the expansive dining room all burgundy leather and parquet, the walls crowded with artworks, with seductive views over the grounds and water features, and any hint of stuffiness or whispered reverence has been kicked into touch in favour of an unbuttoned attitude to service. With gorgeous bedrooms, cottages in the forest, extensive grounds (with a smokehouse adding its output to the kitchen’s arsenal) and a posh spa, guests have little reason to leave the hotel, especially when the restaurant, an eye-catching room with button-back leather seats, is a collaboration between Angela Hartnett, she of Murano and telly celeb fame, and Lime Wood’s own head chef, Luke Holder. This productive partnership comes up trumps with some impeccable, thoughtfully composed cooking that spotlights produce from the gardens, forest, local farmers, and slitheringly fresh south coast seafood. Hartnett's fuss-free Italian signature is stamped all over the food, so it seems only right that you should go about things the Italian way and make room for the full four-course format, starting with splendid antipasti such as barbecued ox tongue with walnut sauce and crispy navaretti, or grilled red mullet with Sicilian-style aubergine and basil. The primi section delivers pasta out of the top drawer – the likes of cavatelli as a base for Dorset cockles, parsley, chilli and lemon, or a full-blooded hare lasagne pointed up with truffle and taleggio cheese. None of this is groundbreaking – it’s just top-class materials treated with respect and authentic flair, and the good ideas keep on coming at main-course stage, perhaps partnering Norfolk quail with fennel sausage and spicy nduja ragout beneath a bread crust, or setting monkfish in colourful palate-tingling contrast with romano red peppers, anchovy, basil and mint. Wrap things up with alluring desserts such as pannacotta with blood orange and Campari, or luscious chocolate and hazelnut tart offset with crème fraîche. Bargain hunters should pop by for the commendable value of the two-course set lunch menu. An antique wooden table in the kitchen seats up to 10 for those who'd like to get up close and personal with the team at work.

Also at this location

Opening hours

  • Open all year
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Dinner served until: 11
  • All day dining


  • Chef(s): Angela Hartnett, Luke Holder

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Italian
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 31
  • Wines over £30: 609
  • Wines by the glass: 14

Price guide

  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted


  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome


  • Seats: 70
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 16
  • On-site parking available

Additional information

  • Seats: 70
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 16

Getting here

A35 through Ashurst for 4 miles, then left in Lyndhurst signed Beaulieu, 1 mile to hotel

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Three-course lunch from£25**Minimum price for a 3-course lunch *Minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Minimum price for a 3-course lunch
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