28 July 2020
How we have missed going to restaurants! One of the highlights of our holidays is dining out; sitting at lantern-lit outdoor terraces as the sun sets, savouring freshly caught seafood and discovering quaint tavernas full of character. Here, then, is a preview of our selection of the best places to head to now – and what better way to start then with a master of his craft?
Looking to slow down and leave the hectic urban life behind? A rural retreat to the leafy shores of Lake Grasmere may be just what you need. This is a real passion project, with Chef Paul Leonard taking inspiration from Cumbria’s countryside, the endless fells, forests and lakes creating nature’s own larder. Ingredients are ethically grown on-site, foraged or sourced from within 10 miles. Aside from its award-winning restaurant, Forest Side’s luxurious master rooms are elegantly appointed with high-quality furnishings, separate sitting areas and handmade baths. Six of the rooms are dog-friendly, too!
Good to know: The restaurant has reduced its capacity by half but extended opening hours to provide guests with sufficient space. In-room check-ins have also been introduced.
Agriturismo are working farms, also known as masseria in Puglia. Their historic dwellings, painted dazzling white, often reflect the melting pot of influences that have dominated the region over the centuries. Ingredients are drawn from the red plains and olive groves, which give an altogether wilder landscape than Tuscany. There are many masserie to choose from, some with vineyards to produce local wine; Agriturismo San Leonardo is a tranquil option with a charming outdoor pool, serving homemade pasta and extra virgin olive oil produced on-site. Set in acres of olive groves and orchards, it’s also near the beautiful beaches of Savelletri and less than half an hour away from the insta-famous Grotta Palazzese cave restaurant.
This super stylish sty has brought a new approach to the classic country-house hotel getaway, offering a laidback atmosphere and effortless grandeur. Dining at The Pig is an eco-friendly affair thanks to the hotel’s very own garden in which much of the restaurant’s raw ingredients are sourced by the hotel’s full-time forager. In fact, 95% of the menu is sourced from within a 25 miles radius, resulting in a seasonally changing menu reflecting which ingredients are at their peak. This close connection with nature is carried through to the restaurant’s décor which has a conservatory feel, wooden chairs and potted plants on each table. Outside, you’ll find a wood-fired oven cooking delicious pizzas and flatbreads over the weekend.
For a quirky stay, the stable yard rooms still feature original fittings from their days as farm usage, and some are split-level with their own courtyard.
Good to know: Late summer into early autumn is a lovely period to visit the Hampshire countryside and The Pig has plenty of availability around that time.