Looking for that idyllic countryside getaway with a warm atmosphere, high-end food and a warm welcome? If so, The Kings Head in Hursley (near Winchester) ticks all of those boxes. The Kings Head (Hursley, Hampshire) is a part of The Epicurean Collection – a collection of the finest countryside destinations in the South of England. An epicurean is one who is a connoisseur of the finer pleasures of life and, in particular, a connoisseur of great food and drink. This ethos permeates throughout the Collection and each destination is hand-picked to ensure there is a common thread of high-quality service, fantastic location and of course top food and drink.
The Destination and Accommodation
The Kings Head itself is a four star Georgian coaching inn nestled within the sleepy and idyllic Hampshire town of Hursley. Just north of Winchester (which is a treasure trove of historical sites and restaurants itself), Hursley has a true British village feel. It’s quaint, quiet and full of charm. This gorgeously kept coaching inn is home to only eight bedrooms, but each has it’s own unique design and feel. Our room, entitled the De Blois room, has been given its title in celebration of the first recorded owner of Hursley back in 1129. The room was spacious and decorated with muted greys and blues, plus the bathroom hosts a gorgeous roll top bath for the perfect pre/post meal wind down. The rooms, in all honesty, took us by surprise and they far outstripped our expectations. Comfortable and luxurious enough to make for a great luxury bolt hole, that’s for sure. In addition to the rooms, there are lots of little nooks and crannies to explore, with a skittle alley in the basement being the most intriguing and exciting for us!
Upon speaking to the owners and locals, it soon became apparent that the Kings Head is very passionate about its food. A reflection of their success in the dining arena is a recent flurry of impressive awards. A high accolade indeed, the establishment has recently been given a prestigious 3 Star Sustainability rating – the highest award available from the Food Made Good restaurant association. This award reflects sustainability and local providence as a key aspect of the Kings Head’s menu, with as many ingredients as possible coming from a small 50-mile radius. Also, very recently indeed, the King’s Head has been recognised as Hampshire’s Best Pub by the good people at the National Pub & Bar Awards 2016. Plus, there is also an AA rosette for food here. Phew, I think that’s everything!
With all these accolades and a high level of expectation afoot, we were glad to see all these promises come to fruition on the plate. In particular the menus mains were a complete success. One stand out dish was the delicate local piece of venison with a carrot and orange puree. The sweetness of the carrot and orange worked well with the gameyness of the meat here. Plus, this combined perfectly with the recommended Malbec at a reasonable £26 a bottle. A beautifully cooked piece of pan-fried sea bass fillet was also a star of the show. The sea bass came adorned with delicious tiger prawns and a hearty smoked Haddock and spring onion cake. Each element here tasted of the sea and worked in tandem to combine for an absolutely delicious dish. I could eat that every day of the week, to be honest!
The pleasure didn’t stop there! For dessert, my raspberry parfait with a chocolate soil was a great blend of refreshment and decadence. Going for a slightly more classic dessert, my partner went for an indulgent and enjoyable sticky toffee pudding, with toffee ice cream with a toffee sauce. Also on offer are fantastic New Forest cheeses, local Hampshire meat and more wonderful local produce. On the whole, The Kings Head offers a good level of dining in a location, which is charmingly relaxed. The trend for great food does also carry on into breakfast, you will be happy to hear. In fact, the Kings Head gammon and poached eggs for breakfast being one of my highlights of the entire stay!
However, above all else, what cannot be said enough about The Kings Head is their wonderfully warm, charming and friendly staff. Looking around we saw each member of staff really taking care of their guests as though friends. It’s quite a rare balance to find somewhere were the staff are relaxed but efficient, but we are glad to report we found the balance just right at The Kings Head.
We were charmed by our visit to The Kings Head and the epicurean within us certainly reared its head. Would we go back – yes. Would we recommend it, of course! To find out more, visit: http://kingsheadhursley.co.uk/
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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