It was a crisp autumn Sunday, perfect for a country stroll and some good food. With this in mind my companion and I decided to drop in to The Hawk Inn for lunch.
Situated in leafy Amport, the pub stands proudly opposite expansive views of rural beauty. The Hawk is contemporary with a nod to the traditional. The sharp, clean interior is light and airy with calming, chic grey tones throughout. The pub is filled with a mix of classic wooden furniture and modern black leather seating with quirky touches and interesting features. The giant Basset Hound picture that overlooks the bar is very appropriate for a dog friendly pub. With a variety of seating spaces including a homely, comfy room with squishy leather chairs and an open fire place, there is a little place for everything from a quiet pint to celebratory meal with family and friends.
Upon arrival we passed a family gathering in the private dining area; the hideaway is the perfect little nook within the main body of the pub and secluded enough for a special function. The friendly hostess greets us and showed us to a nice little table for two. All the staff are relaxed and professional which makes for a laid back atmosphere. There is an outside seating area on the patio out front and the additional benches for drinks on the green would be ideal for a warmer day.
Assistant Manager Rob swiftly came over to the table he was both warm and helpful and offered us a wine list and a menu; I was very keen to get my hands on both. My £3.95 Vondelling Rose and my companions Barbury Castle at £3.60 arrived promptly.
The menu offered plenty of variety without being overwhelming, which for two very indecisive individuals was just the ticket. Following a spate of deliberation our minds were made up.
We decided to share a starter for fear of being stuffed before pud and the Crispy Squid with Chilli Jam for £6.95 stood out like a sore thumb. Not long after ordering a simple white china plate smothered in some tasty titbits arrived. The squid was beautifully soft with a crunchy and light batter and was perfect for dunking in the vibrantly red sticky sweet and spicy chilli jam…mmmm scrumptious. The portion size was just enough to tickle the taste buds in anticipation for the rest of the meal rather than finishing the diner off at the first course!
Whilst waiting for the main we asked Rob where The Hawk sources its produce. Rob very kindly asked for a list and told us seasonal produce is provided by local suppliers Kenyons, Vicars Game and Coopers Seafood. Soon after receiving this information our mains arrived.
I was mighty pleased I had plumped for the £12.95 Wild Mushroom Risotto, with Parmesan Shavings. The risotto was everything a risotto should be creamy and unctuous with a bite to the rice. It was full of earthy wild mushrooms and shavings of salty parmesan with deep red micro herbs dotted across the top. All the elements collaborated for a dose of delectable deliciousness, simplicity proved a real winner with this exquisitely elegant dish. Could a little taste of Italy on a Sunday ever be a bad thing?!
The Slow Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce at £15.95 was the weapon of choice for my partner in crime. This was a traditional Sunday Roast….but even better than Nana used to make it! My companion is a lover of lamb and he was not disappointed; the melt in the mouth meat cut like butter and was smothered in a deep, rich gravy to die for. The star of the show was accompanied by crispy roast potatoes with fluffy centres, perfect parsnips, crunchy carrots and vibrantly green greens. This roast was most definitely a hug on a plate.
Feeling full, but not about to let the call of dessert go unanswered, we plunged into the dessert menu provided by the ever helpful Rob. There was no hesitation from my companion who swiftly settled for the Warm Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream. I on the other hand took my time to pick the Lemon Curd Tart with Ginger Mascarpone. Both desserts cost £6.50.
Now, I am one of those annoying people with a nut allergy. I had let Rob know before ordering and he was quick off the mark to inform me that the Lemon Curd Tart included Almonds, what a perfect example of the attentive service we had experienced during our meal. Not a problem there was plenty more to deliberate over! But not for long…the Lavender Creme Brulee definitely had my name on it.
There was a chorus of …mmmmmm when the desserts were brought to the table. A fight nearly broke out over the brownie; a rich and gloriously gooey square, drizzled in a decadently delicious chocolate sauce and with a lusciously smooth vanilla ice-cream snuggled beside it….wow! On to the brulee. Now that would be a little creamy bowl of heaven! Following the perfect crack through the sugary top I came upon a velvety smooth brulee, YUMMY. The little hint of lavender was beautifully subtle, rather than being hit by a brick of Marks and Sparks soap, and complimented rather than drowned.
The total cost of the meal including two drinks came to £56.40.
We were eventually rolled out of the pub feeling extremely full and ever so happy. All the dishes were jam packed with flavour, superbly simple and expertly executed. The Hawk combines fantastic food with a lovely relaxed atmosphere and conscientious and courteous customer service, who could ask for more!
Accommodation is also available at The Hawk. For more information and bookings call 01264 710371 or visit The Hawk Inn website www.hawkinnamport.co.uk.