Relaxed but with a hint of sophistication, Hartnett Holder & Co has changed the face of country hotel cooking. Flushed from the overwhelming success of The Pig just 10 minutes down the road, the team behind Lime Wood has come up with yet another refreshing new innovation for the restaurant scene in the sticks.
The ground floor space has undergone an extensive makeover by interior designer du jour, Martin Brudnizki (Le Caprice, Corrigan’s, Hix, Scotts, J. Sheekey Oyster Bar). Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder, with their team, are creating locally sourced English dishes with a respectful nod to the seasons and to Italian culinary ideologies.
At Lime Wood, Brudnizki has created something very English. Armchairs and sofas made by George Smith are upholstered in a range of patterned, textured fabrics, including rough linens, mohair velvets and aged leathers, which sit at a lower height to allow guests to sink back and enjoy the laidback glamour. The lighting is a mix of delicate, bespoke chandeliers and antique lamps, soft and layered, making for a very relaxed feel.
At the heart of the room Brudnizki has introduced a paneled, dark-stained oak bar, topped with an Irish green marble. In order to bring some of the drama out of the kitchen and introduce a bit of preparation theatre to the restaurant, a working wine gantry, meat slicer and coffee machine sit on the bar, a reminder of Hartnett and Holder’s Italian roots. Guests can choose to eat here, in the main dining space, or tucked away in the more secluded corner sofas. Brudnizki said that “Lime Wood is the perfect place to mix exciting food, talented chefs and good design - so it’s great to be a part of it. For the interior, we’ve looked to the heritage of the building to create an eclectic design that’s full of character; a room to compliment both the restaurant’s surroundings and the inspired cooking of Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder.”
Hartnett and Holder’s food is a natural blend of British with the much loved Italian approach to eating - where family and sharing is everything. The style is chefs’ home-cooked food not chefs’ food cooked for restaurants. Both Angela and Luke are famed for their informal, grounded style of cooking and their care in sourcing the best quality produce.
Starters on the menu include mackerel salad with wild cress and oyster mayonnaise, braised trevisso with golden raisins or wild mushroom tart with horseradish and scorched onions. Italian style dishes come in the form of ravioli with soft polenta and Dorset truffles or pumpkin risotto with chestnuts and Nanny blue cheese. Being within casting distance of the sea the local fish dishes are plentiful showcasing a halibut cockle broth and meat dishes come in the form of a calves liver, sage and onion stew. Sharing dishes on the menu include grilled turbot with brown shrimps and lemon butter. Vanilla tart with rum prunes and home made gelato are just two of the delicious puddings offered by Hartnett Holder & Co.
The restaurant features an inspired collection of art put together by Carl Freedman from the Hoxton gallery bearing his name. Works by young British artists including Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread and Elizabeth Paton adorn the walls of Hartnett Holder & Co plus a Mario Testino photograph for good measure.
As Robin Hutson, Chairman of the Lime Wood Group says: “This is FUN dining, not fine dining. We’ve banned big plates, they’re no longer fun, and instead have introduced smaller less formal crockery. Formal restaurants have too many rules, we don’t like rules at Lime Wood, they’re restrictive and suffocating. The aim has been to deformalise the restaurant where sitting at the bar in the middle of the room nibbling on arancini and octopus has become the norm.”
Starters cost from £6.50 - £12.50; main dishes start at £14 and a 45-minute lunch menu costs £19.50 for two courses.
Hartnett Holder & Co (02380 287 167; hartnettholderandco.co.uk)
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