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The Greyhound on the Test



Is it odd to admit that in the past we have chosen travel destinations purely for the food alone? Obviously this year travel hasn't featured all that much (apart from a quick trip back to our "other home" back in February), but had you told me this time last year I would appreciate a foodie weekend break a mere seven miles up the road almost as much as our three-week trip eating our way around Japan, I might have laughed in your face. But, as it turns out, almost thirty weeks of enforced (but necessary) captivity makes you appreciate an awful lot more than in normal circumstances, such as precious time spent with loved ones, good food (especially when you are not the one cooking), and peace and quiet when it happens (rarely right now believe me). What with terrible attempts at homeschooling, a husband whose workload has increased massively (at least that's what he's told me, he could secretly be watching TV locked away in his Garden office) and not an ounce of foreign travel on the horizon, I would probably have enjoyed a break on my own in said garden office with a pile of books and the door locked, but thankfully, in the darker months of lockdown I had the great idea to book somewhere much more appealing nearby (and with far better food!) as a bit of a birthday treat...


The Greyhound on the Test has stood in one form or another on the banks of the River Test for some 600 odd years. It's world-famous for its trout fishing (no surprise then that trout features on the menu frequently!), and was the perfect tonic for the past 30 odd weeks of mayhem that has been our house during Covid 19...


Out of the seven rooms available we booked Leet 2 with its own courtyard and separate access from the restaurant, and loved everything about our super comfortable surroundings. The picture below gives you an idea... The Greyhound claims to be a country home from home and it really did feel like one...



Obviously, during Covid times there have been a few changes, but nothing glaringly obvious and nothing that impacted our stay negatively. The main noticeable differences are that the menu choice is more limited than in normal times, there are a few small things missing from the accommodation such as books and magazines, and there's a one-way system through the restaurant for those staying. The restaurant toilets are off-limits for residents too, you must go back to your room, but that's no big deal...


The restaurant is currently only open to residents, but thanks to the Greyhound's impressive outdoor space they now have a beautiful stretch tent for those wishing to come solely for dinner. You can even turn up to just have a drink of an evening. And for those evenings that are not so warm, there's a fire pit to ward off the chill whilst you enjoy a glass of something from the outdoor bar, which you should. Not many places can boast a backdrop like theirs..




The garden was our first port of call after dropping off our bags. Check-in is not until 6pm so there was plenty of time to unwind by the river before dinner...

Friday evening's "Garden Grill" meal consisted of sharing platters, starting with Hoxton sourdough and salted whipped butter, feta and roasted tomato arancini and a really lovely smoked cod roe emulsion with toast. My only complaint here was that I could have done with a little more toast for the posh taramasalata as it was absolutely delicious...


Our main course was a sharing board with Chinese style pork belly, Baked Sea Bass with lemon and fennel, a white bean cassoulet with chorizo, accompanied by a bulgar wheat salad with a hint of curry and a green salad with a fermented chilli dressing that had a nice kick. I enjoyed all of it, but especially loved the cassoulet with its smokey flavours...



My dentist will tell you I have a sweet tooth, and in this instance, my favourite course of our first evening was definitely the dessert sharing platter with its homemade honeycomb covered in white chocolate, amazing chocolate choux buns and a strawberry and caramel fool of dreams... If you are going to dream of fools, make it this one...



The following morning we woke to breakfast left on our doorstep (how I wish that would happen every day) with really beautiful Hoxton croissants (the best I have had outside of France for sure), a brioche bun with bacon, fruit, yoghurt with granola and juices (there's a coffee machine and tea making facilities in your room). This was more than enough to set us up for our lengthy hike which took up a big chunk of the Saturday (as detailed in my more travel focussed account of the weekend here. 11km in squeaky wellies. I won't make that mistake again!)... That walk was so lovely for a couple of reasons a) it made us appreciate what a beautiful part of Hampshire we live in, b) there were no children telling us they were too tired and couldn't walk any further and c) it definitely made me feel better about the amount of calories consumed the night before... We arrived back for a well-deserved drink at the Three Cups before a last-minute plate of Italian cheeses and red wine at the tiny but well worth a visit Prego next door...


Saturday evening began again by the river before what would be my favourite meal of the weekend. There were only two choices per course on this menu, and we had been asked to choose the night before. Having each chosen the different dishes so we could share, I was soon to regret this with my starter of toasted brioche with chicken liver parfait and spiced apricot as it was wonderful. Not too livery, very light, buttery brioche toast and the apricot addition was just delicious. Thankfully Mr Winchester Eat's Test Trout Rillette with fermented fennel, seaweed salad and sesame was equally good as I wasn't all that happy about handing mine over...


Apologies for a lack of pictures of some of the dishes here by the way, candlelight and having too much to catch up on didn't make for brilliant picture taking...



Main course was a chicken breast with roasted butternut squash, a squash puree and chorizo croquette, and a cod loin with samphire, tomato butter and pressed potato. I was happy to share as both were equally good - a great example of English cooking with both local and seasonal produce done really well...



Dessert was lemon curd pannacotta with meringue (looking a lot like those sweet cigarette sticks you could get once upon a time) with almond biscuits on the side, and a strawberry mousse on shortbread served with great basil ice cream and a delicious strawberry puree before retiring to our courtyard to enjoy a late-night brandy or two...


Before we packed up on Sunday morning we had time for a full English (we wanted to try all breakfast options) in the restaurant. We honestly didn't need to eat for the rest of the day...


I loved our weekend at the Greyhound on the Test, it was the rest that we both desperately needed with some excellent food to boot. We were looked after by welcoming staff who made you feel like regulars, and the setting is just wonderful. My only complaint? I could have done with a few more days, but other than that...


We look forward to returning in "more normal" times to explore a more extensive menu. Thanks for looking after us so well Lucy and team!


The Greyhound on the Test Hotel 31 High Street, Stockbridge, Hampshire SO20 6EY

T: 01264 810833 | E: info@thegreyhoundonthetest.co.uk



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