You can’t beat a good country break for recharging your batteries and getting your fill of fresh air. Hampshire is one of my favourite counties, easily accessible from London and a perfect choice for a relaxing weekend. So we were excited to visit The Greyhound on the Test, Stockbridge. This little town is known for its great restaurants, gift shops and fantastic location on the River Test. It’s popular with fishermen and walkers as well as foodies like ourselves. There’s a picturesque duck pond…
Although my favourite building has to be this rose covered cottage.
The Greyhound itself is a colourful 18th century building right in the centre. We had been invited to visit by Inn Places, a hand-picked collection of boutique inns. Created by David Hancock, former editor of Sawday’s Pubs & Inns, it features only the very best inns offering fine food and smart accommodation. What I particularly appreciated about their website is the simple online booking system, as well as the detailed information on each inn and the surrounding area. There’s also a unique “Food Trails” section with suggestions on local artisan producers to visit.
The interior is very characterful with wooden floors and quirky touches.
We were warmly greeted and shown up to our room.With its own staircase, our room had a nice private feel. It’s the sort of decor that you wish you had at home – cosy yet with indisputable flair.
The spacious bedroom is decorated in an attractive teal-blue shade, with contrasting orange tones. The inn is run by Lucy Townsend and Alex Lewis, who is an interior designer and it shows.
The attention to detail is fantastic with fresh flowers, magazines and books galore. If the name Alex Lewis is familiar to you, it’s because he’s the inspirational quadruple amputee who has fought Strep A disease and raises awareness of issues faced by other amputees via the Alex Lewis Trust. They have thought of everything, freshly brewed coffee and tea making facilities, a flat-screen TV, free WiFi and a fridge stocked with complimentary soft drinks.
I particularly liked the use of mirrors in the bedroom and bathroom to bounce back light.
As you can see, the bathroom is as chic as the bedroom with patterned tiles, an unusual sink and Noble Isle toiletries. There’s a walk-in power shower cleverly hidden behind a tiled screen – I might just steal that idea myself.
The highlight though is the two-tone roll-top bath…perfect for a good soak.
Having settled into our room, we headed downstairs to check out the rest of the property. We passed a handy honesty bar along the way…
Before entering the bar and restaurant.
Could it be wine-o-clock already?
Adjacent to the main dining room, there’s the attractive Hound Room for private dining. The Greyhound also have a sister company, Wilds, specializing in outdoor catering for events, country pursuits and weddings.
Venturing outside, we crossed the pretty pub garden with flowers glistening after a rainstorm.
Beyond this was a second lawned garden bordered by hollyhocks and roses. Whilst through the gate at the end, a bucolic scene awaits – the river Test in all its glory. Stockbridge is known as the birthplace of fly-fishing and where better to enjoy it than at The Greyhound, with its own fishing rights.
As we’d learnt from reading the online Food Trail, there’s a water buffalo farm close to The Greyhound, so Paul was pleased to see buffalo carpaccio on the menu. It was wonderfully tender and skilfully blended with tomato, celeriac remoulade and pine nuts. No wonder The Greyhound won The Sunday Times Pub of the Year 2015 and Michelin Pub of the Year 2014.
My starter was a pretty as a picture mix of white soy cured scallops, tuna tartare, mango, coriander and pomegranate. The sweetness of the mango and pomegranate worked really well with the fish.
Talking of fish, Paul couldn’t resist traditional fish and chips with mushy peas – well it was Friday! The batter was very light and the peas oozed with flavour.
My main was an interesting dish of roasted halibut with pancetta, crab and sesame. I would have preferred it without the broth which although tasty, masked the delicate crab and made eating a bit messy.
I enjoyed the side of roasted bok choi with soy and sesame seeds, giving a nice crunch.
For dessert, Paul went for the salted caramel and peanut parfait with chocolate and an unusual olive oil ganache – perfection on a plate.
I tucked into the rhubarb and ginger posset with caramelized meringue, honeycomb and vanilla.
Breakfast the next morning was a hearty affair, with scrambled eggs and smoked local river trout for me, and the obligatory full English for Paul.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour of The Greyhound on the Test, it really is well worth a visit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got something important to do…
The Greyhound on the Test, 31 High St, Stockbridge SO20 6EY