Imagine, if you will, a fine English Vineyard, a country lane, and a back drop to some of the finest countryside our great British Isles has to offer. Now imagine a petite restaurant offering a fine dining experience to rival the very best in the business. There is no need to imagine, because in the form of Vatika situated in Shedfield, Southampton, this becomes reality.
Vatika is only a relatively young venture but it shows none of the insecurities or uncertainties of a fledgling business. Sister restaurant to the highly acclaimed Benares Restaurant in London, Vatika manages to transport you to a world of flavours in a truly accomplished manner, all under the watchful eye of Head Chef Jitin Joshi who can be seen, in rare moments of respite, chasing pheasants and playing Frisbee in the adjoining Vineyard!!
Seated within the smart, but suitably relaxed surroundings, enjoying views of the wind-ruffled vineyard, we embarked on a veritable feast of engaging dishes from the Tasting Menu.
Introduced to our `first starter` of Pancetta Wrapped Skate Wing, Red Tapenade, Mussels and Peas, I was searching for a collective noun for a group of flavours and I finally settled on a `delight`!!! A clever and ambitious combination that tickled the senses.
On with the `delight` of flavours we enjoyed Black Bream with Roasted Onion Sauce followed by Tandoori Sweetbread, Vanilla Beetroot and Spring Roll – which on first introduction very nearly sent me heading for the vineyard and my car, but a misconception shattered!! A dish I would only have ordered as a very expensive dare after copius amounts of alcohol!! Would I order it again? YES I would, enthusiastically.
24 hour Shoulder of lamb our next course truly melted in the mouth.
Reaching the full-o-meter we were relieved to receive our Melon Ginger Granita, Lime Leaf Foam, Black orange caramel `first` dessert, so `cleansing` that it almost encouraged me to start the menu again.
After a whirlwind of delicate flavours and new enticing dishes our meal was complete, or was it? Chocolate cube, Hot Pot, Cherry Parfait – the full-o-meter successfully reached it`s target.
An experience in fine dining using quality ingredients, tantalising flavours in a setting of chic beauty. A meal to remember. Michelin stars beckon no doubt……..
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