Seasonality is everything at Arbor, Bournemouth’s 2 AA-rosette restaurant at the Green House Hotel and – hot off the press! – 2015 Gold winner in the Dorset Tourism Awards Best Restaurant category. And with the turning of the leaves comes a new menu, full of hearty winter ingredients and robust, warming flavours for cooler days.
Arbor has this week bagged the Best Restaurant Gold trophy in the Dorset Tourism Awards, building on last year’s Gold and 2013’s Silver awards. We’re thrilled, and have to say that our success is down to Head Chef Andy Hilton and his team, who create dishes based on the best seasonal produce then refine, refine, refine until those that make the final cut are the perfect combination of tastes, textures and colours, with something to suit every palate.
The new Arbor Winter Menu for 2015-16 features some flavour marriages made in heaven. Here are just a few of our favourites.
Venison (cooked two ways) and Red Cabbage
Venison is an incredible meat if it’s sourced and cooked right – low-fat yet full of flavour. This winter, Arbor is serving venison two ways on one plate: the loin needs only pan-searing, but we also take some of the less tender cuts and pack in flavour and richness via slow cooking before encasing in suet pastry. It’s comforting and just feels special, especially when paired with braised red cabbage. The flavours and colours are a perfect match in anybody’s book. And you know what they say – if it ain’t broke…
Dill Gnocchi with Blue cheese
One of the new starters on the Arbor winter menu is dill-flavoured gnocchi – light, bite-sized potato dumplings. That most weedy-looking of herbs, dill, actually has a fine, distinctive taste – sort of a combination of fennel, anise and celery – and a warm, mild fragrance. It goes so well with the equally robust flavour of blue cheese, especially a really good blue cheese like local Blue Vinney. We’ve added a tart apple and tarragon puree for a trio of amazing tastes.
South Coast Crab and Risotto rice
A risotto, as all Italian nonnas know, is only ever as good as the stock. That’s why for the luxurious starter on Arbor’s winter menu, South Coast Crab Risotto, we put so much work into making a rich, intense broth in which to cook the fluffy rice. Luckily our local shellfish are at their best this time of year when the sea drops in temperature – full of meat and flavour. Having picked out the best white and brown meat for the risotto, we boil up the shells – only a few vegetables, herbs etc. are then needed for a knock-your-socks-off stock.
Quinoa and Tandoori spices
Fluffy and creamy, yet with a slight bite, quinoa is a fantastic high-protein, wheat-free, veggie choice, and its delicate, slightly nutty flavour is never better than when enhanced by the warm, sultry spice and colour of cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, etc. Arbor’s vegetarian winter main course, a vibrant Tandoori Red Pepper Quinoa, is served with bold Bombay potato and a golden deep-fried cauliflower pakora, along with red onion petals and a touch of sweet-potato puree. Looks gorgeous, tastes even more so!
Chicken Breast and Smoked Bacon
We select our white meat from farmers who raise their birds in small groups, letting them forage during daylight hours, which gives tenderness and a fuller flavour. But even the tastiest chicken breast can take the smoky, salty hit of a good piece of bacon. We serve streaky pork belly, maple-glazed and cooked whole, in meaty chunks to really take things up a notch. We’ve also come up with a rich, tangy Mushroom Ketchup to finish things off. In the best tradition of Arbor, it’s good British grub, but perhaps not quite as you know it.
The Arbor Winter 2015-2016 menu launches on 1 November. Book a table here or call 01202 498900