Spring is just about sprung and here at the Green House, Bournemouth’s eco-friendly luxury boutique hotel, that can mean only one thing. New menus!
Arbor, Bournemouth’s award-winning, two-AA-rosette restaurant and three-star champion for the Sustainable Restaurant Association, is all about fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, sustainably and ethically sourced. Which means the changing of the menus is a bit like Christmas in the Arbor kitchen – we love the excitement and novelty that comes with the new produce, spring perhaps more than any other time, with the promise of lightness and freshness, vivid colour and vibrant, earthy flavours.
The new menu also means the chance to incorporate novel and interesting ingredients from artisan suppliers up and down the land – like Cornish smoked butter and Stornoway black pudding – in fresh, exciting combinations. We also feature treasured, quality suppliers, whether it’s Stokes Marsh for beef or Fluffett’s Farm for eggs, simply because they never let us down.
So here, as we put the final touches to our new menu, is a list of some of our Favourite Things for Spring.
Hand-dived Lyme Bay Scallops
Samways’ divers go out all year round, weather permitting, to bring us these sweet, succulent shellfish, which form an inspired trio with Stornoway Black Pudding and Roast Cauliflower in our new spring menu starter. Hand-diving is the ethical, sustainable form of scallop-fishing, taking only what the seabed can healthily give and leaving the rest to replenish. Scallops like muddy or sandy beds in calm waters, in areas where currents keep them well stocked with nutrients. Which means the protected environment of Dorset’s Lyme Bay just happens to be one of the best places in the world to find them.
Stornoway Black Pudding
It has been called “one of the finest blood puddings the world has to offer” and rightly so. This coarse, crumbly, beautifully-seasoned sausage has spawned many imposters and so is now a protected species: in May 2013 it was given Protected Geographical Indication status, much like Tuscan prosciutto or Stilton cheese. To earn the label, the entire product must be traditionally produced within the specific region (in this case the Isle of Lewis and surrounding Stornoway Trust area) and its ingredients must be within specified proportions. We rarely go this far for an ingredient but in this case, believe us, it’s worth it.
New Forest Asparagus
This is one of those seasonal ingredients that always creates a little flurry when it starts to arrive in our kitchens! It’s the taste of spring itself, and it deserves to be on the menu every single day that it’s available. For the new menu, we’re grilling it simply and teaming it with a luxurious Confit Chicken Terrine. Our asparagus carries the New Forest Marque making it some of the best in the world – firm but tender stalks with good colour and closed tips, served just-picked for maximum, utterly delicious, flavour.
Cotswold White Chicken
We all love a Spring Chicken, don’t we? Here at Arbor we strongly believe that happy, wide-ranging, naturally-grown chooks = flavoursome, juicy, guilt-free meat. In our opinion farmer Robert Caldecott’s commitment to rearing this particular chicken –a derivative of the Rhode Island Red and the White Cornish Game for the bird nerds among you – in an ethical and timely way, without the use of growth hormones, produces chicken with a flavour and texture that’s just really, really hard to find anywhere else.
Old Winchester Cheese
This is our favourite alternative to Parmesan – it’s got that robust saltiness you need to cut through the sweetness of peas or creamy pasta, and it’s fantastic with peppery rocket in our new salad. And unlike Parmesan it’s made with vegetarian rennet. Aged for 18 months, it has a powerful, complex flavour – caramelised, smoky, nutty – so less is more. Also known as “Old Smales”, it’s made by hand from Friesian cows’ milk at Lyburn Farm on the edge of the New Forest.
The new Arbor spring menu launches next week. Why not come and try some of our new dishes – to book a table call 01202 498900 or email email@example.com.