Comments Christina Simons, owner of Cottage Lodge: “As a B&B we have never felt the need to provide evening meals for our guests despite the fact that we have a lovely, spacious dining room which we use to serve breakfast in.
“The owner of the restaurant they were running had given them notice that he was going to close his restaurant for the winter. But rather than go on unemployment benefit they thought they would try and open a restaurant of their own. They had nothing but skill, energy, ingenuity and the confidence to ask me if they could run a restaurant at Cottage Lodge. And, in a ‘Jamie-Oliver-
“We all felt that Fallen Tree was a highly appropriate name as we have a strong eco theme at Cottage Lodge and some of our bedroom furniture has been beautifully crafted from a fallen ash tree by local wood sculptor Rob Dyer, who lives locally in the New Forest.
“The tables in the restaurant are made from a rare black poplar tree which was growing in the grounds of a primary school in Southampton. Sadly its roots started to rot and so it became dangerous and had to be chopped down. The tree is very rare and the wood was too unique to be chopped up for firewood. Robert turned the beautiful old tree into tables for the restaurant and, if you line them up in the right order, you can recreate the tree.”
The two chefs – both of whom have fine dining experience – are Philip Holmes, 27 from Plymouth and Radovan Fabo, also 27, from Slovakia. The maître d’ is Diana Mintuchova, 25, also from Slovakia.
Typical dishes include starters of smoked salmon, with avocado, vodka shot and Melba toast or pan-fried scallops with sweet-corn puree and quail eggs.
Main course examples include roasted belly of pork with New Forest black pudding, whole grain mustard mash & apple puree, or pan-fried lemon sole with burnt butter sauce and a lightly-spiced tomato chutney.
Delicious desserts might include orange & vanilla crème brulee served in an orange skin with hand-made lavender shortbread biscuit, or chocolate sticky toffee pudding and butter scotch sauce.
The restaurant – which is fully licensed so that guests can enjoy wine with their meals – also serves a local New Forest Cheese of the day with fresh apple, grapes and celery.
The restaurant is open from Thursday to Tuesday from 6-9pm.
A two-night midweek stay at Cottage Lodge in February costs from £40 pp per night (two sharing) including the famous New Forest Marque cooked breakfast.
To make a reservation call 01590 622 296 (www.cottagelodge.co.uk).