[Brockenhurst, Hampshire] Cambium

Cambium is one of three restaurants at the Carey’s Manor Hotel. This is Modern British cooking, with the other two offering French and Thai. All are open to the public, although we were staying at the hotel overnight and had booked a dinner, bed and breakfast rate.

The actual restaurant space is utterly devoid of atmosphere. You’d never think of it as other than a hotel dining room. But service is friendly and efficient.

There was excellent sourdough bread to nibble on. And, for one of us, a starter of a rabbit, prune and pink fir potato terrine. Rabbit is a very mild meat and it really needed the prunes to perk it up. I have no idea what the potato was doing there.- it certainly wasn’t as a flavour or texture contribution. King prawns were the other starter. They came grilled and, in themselves, were nice enough. And the strips of Piquillo pepper that came with them worked. But the diced peach also on the plate was just a bit odd.

Our main course was intended for two. Lamb shoulder had been long braised on the bone and was flavoured with Moroccan spices – cinnamon being quite predominant. It’s served with the accompaniments in their own separate dishes, which was a good idea as you could pick and choose how much of each you put on your plate. There was houmous. And potato wedges. And roasted red onion. And mixed salad. Each element was fine in itself, but it felt like a disparate collection of items which just didn’t really belong together.

Lemon tart was a dessert “special” and we both ordered it. Nice pastry with a quite citrussy filling. It was served with a blackcurrant sorbet which tasted fine but had a texture that could best be described as “gritty”.,as it hadn’t been properly sieved to remove seeds, bits of skin, etc, before being frozen.

All a bit disappointing, unfortunately.