I flew my wife down to Bournemouth last week for lunch at Chewton Glen. It is my second visit there. The first, a couple of years ago, was marred by absent-minded service. Luckily this visit put that ghost to rest.
We flew through low cloud and light rain the whole way, with intermittent IMC becoming solid as we approached the south coast. I had expected to do an instrument approach and so all the plates were ready. However, there was another aircraft on frequency trying to find the airport visually. When this failed he had to prepare for an ILS in the air and it was obviously causing a fair amount of work – you could hear the stress over the radio.
It made me very grateful for the equipment in the Cirrus and all the IR training and practice I’ve had. I called up the approach plates on the MDF (I also had printed copies). I could see where the Class D airspace was and avoided it while I waited to get my call in to Bournemouth. Setting everything up while flying on autopilot and then hand flying the ILS were unstressful, even enjoyable. Such a difference from my first ILS years ago when I was doing my IMC training. I’m not claiming to be a super-pilot (it was hardly challenging) but it’s very satisfying to see the combination of equipment, plane and training turn a stressful situation into a routine one.
Anyhow, back to lunch. I had a Double Baked Emmenthal Soufflé to start and it was decadent and splendid. Aileen had cream of leek and potato soup from the good-value Prix Fixe menu. I had a pasta dish which was tasty but not memorable while Aileen had a delicate portion of fish and chips. No pudding – too full.
The most charming thing about Chewton Glen is the setting. It has lovely gardens and the restaurant looks out onto greenery. The food is pretty good and, thanks to the lunchtime prix fixe menu, good value. It’s easy to get to from Bournemouth by taxi. It took 20m and cost £15-20 each way. The route through the New Forest is more scenic than the faster urban route.
Tel. 44 (1425) 275341
Fax 44 (1425) 272310
Reservations Direct Line 44 (1425) 282212
US Toll Free Tel. 1 800 344 5087
US Toll Free Fax : 1 800 398 4534
Germany Toll Free Tel. 0800 1 810890
Opening hours: lunch 12.30-1.45, dinner 7-late
Meal for two: £100
Michelin Rating: *