Farm-to-Table Fare at New U.K. Hotel
Dine on fine food in a pastoral setting near London
BY JEN MURPHY — Winter 2019
hile every hotel seems to boast its own vegetable garden these days, Heckfield Place, a new 45-room countryside retreat in Hampshire, England, is that rare property where the biodynamic farm, orchards, and gardens define your entire stay. Nearly everything, from the edible blooms that decorate the raspberry and lemon curd cake at afternoon tea to the honey ginger turmeric apple cider served at the spa, can be traced back to the soil. Marle, the public restaurant, is even named for a type of soil. This literally homegrown ethos was inspired by Heckfield’s culinary director Skye Gyngell. The Australian chef, who earned a Michelin star at Petersham Nurseries and who now runs Spring at Somerset House in London, has a team of growers as co-conspirators in deliciousness. This means the menu at Marle, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, changes seasonally. The buckwheat crepes with plum jam may appear on the menu one morning served with a compote of just-ripened pears. Or the dumplings with hazelnut dukkah served at lunch may suddenly be garnished with the first harvest of autumn greens by dinner.
Gyngell lets her creativity shine at Hearth, a rustic, guests-only restaurant featuring a five-course menu. Many star chefs simply attach their names to restaurants, but you’ll find Gyngell manning the wood-burning fire a couple of nights a week, cooking up dishes such as spatchcock chicken with greens and chili. One of the most exciting aspects of Heckfield Place is that every visit promises a different experience narrated by what’s in the fields.
While the bucolic setting may feel remote, the hotel is just 35 miles from London’s Heathrow Airport and about 40 miles from Knightsbridge in West London, making it an easy detour for visitors and locals craving the comfort of a homegrown meal. Rooms from $462. heckfieldplace.com
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