Lyndhurst New Forest – where to go

K and I spent four days in and around the New Forest, Hampshire over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

We stayed in Lyndhurst (unsurprisingly busy being a bank holiday, and touristy with heavy traffic) hired mountain bikes, saw lots of New Forest ponies (prompting a chucklesome, horse-themed Spotify playlist – see the end of this post), sampled some local pubs and restaurants, drove to the Hampshire coast and saw the Magna Carta on display at Salisbury Cathedral.

Here’s sharing our highlights and recommending some things to see and do.

 

 


 

01. AA Bike Hire

Hire quality mountain bikes from AA Bike Hire (behind the tourist information centre, off Gosport Lane) @ £10 a day per adult. Bikes are hired on a first come first served basis and they do run out as we discovered on our first attempt (a Sunday morning).

Top tip: get there for 9am – opening time – on Sundays.

The closest alternative bicycle hire is from CycleExperience at Brockenhurst. They also run out.

 

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1. Bikes from AA Bike Hire; 2. New Forest ponies; 3. Exploring the forest; 4. Knightwood oak; 5. Enjoy

 

On our second and successful attempt on the Monday, we benefited from the owner of AA Bike Hire’s invaluable knowledge about the forest – recommended routes, and what to look out for.

 

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Recommended cycle route: A.E “15 country miles”

 

We followed route A.E., a “good fifteen country miles” (some steep hills) taking in the impressive grounds of Rhinefield House Hotel, freely roaming ponies, redwood treesBolderwood Ornamental Drive hosting the biggest tree in the forest (a knightwood oak probably between 400-600 years old) and a deer sanctuary. Returning to Lyndhurst through Emery Down, passing (or pausing via…) the New Forest Inn and Swan Inn.

 

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Rhinefield House Hotel + grounds

 


 

02. Siam Thai Lounge, Lyndhurst

Excellent Thai food in a comfortable and spacious restaurant, with truly hospitable and efficient service.

 

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Siam Thai Lounge interior

 

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Siam Thai mixed starters @ £12.80: chicken satay, prawn toast, tod mun fishcakes, spring rolls + we substituted mushroom satay instead of chicken wings

 

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Tom yum soup @£4.95 – gorgeously spicy

 

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Tofu and veggie curry @ £6.85 – Thai red curry with kaffir lime leaves, red and green pepper, mushroom, tofu, fine beans, carrot and coconut milk

 

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Gang Massamun @ £9.50 – rich curry with tender beef, coconut milk, peanut, onion + potato

The total bill for two came to £76.35 which included two bottles of Viognier (great dry white wine) @ £17.95 each.

 

Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: 24 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BG
~ Tel: 02380 283061
~ Website + menus: Siam Thai Lounge website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Siam Thai Lounge food

 


 

03. Lyndhurst Art Gallery

 

 

 

The Summer Show at Lyndhurst Art Gallery runs from 29 May 2015 and features contemporary British Art from the likes of Sandra BinneyNagib KarsanKate Richardson and Yvonne Coomber.

 

I love the mixed media paintings by Penelope Timmis, particularly this Hen Party @ £750.00 including frame – it just makes me smile.

 


 

04. Tea Total

First impressions of Lyndhurst High Street might make you think it’s a bit twee, with its numerous antique shops and tea parlours.

But Tea Total is a tea shop with a difference – check out the playfully named teas on their tea board for a start.

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Menu – click to enlarge

Staff are friendly, welcoming and really know their teas, serving up expert knowledge with every cuppa.

Our visit *was* after our “good fifteen country mile” bike ride. We’d worked up a thirst and were in need of a sugar fix.

The ‘Tea lover for one’ @ £6.95 each seemed like a good reward: a choice of 50+ teas served with a homemade plain scone with jam and clotted cream and a slice of cake (gorgeous, oh-so-moist carrot cake on this occasion).

 

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Tea lover for one – IngenuiTEA pot for one, scone with jam + clotted cream and a slice of carrot cake @ £6.95 all served up with experTEAS…

 

K chose a monkey magic (golden monkey tea from Fujian, China) and I chose a passage to India (a spicy masala chai from Sri Lanka), each served in an IngenuiTEA pot with our own timer (a minute for K’s monkey tea to brew to perfection, three minutes for my chai).

Novel, perfectly brewed, two very satisfied customers.

 

Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Tea + cakes
~ Address: 23 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BE
~ Tel: 023 8028 4585
~ Website: Tips N Leaves
~ Photos on flickr: images of Tea Total

 


 

05. Starskys

The ‘Starskys’ name and the restaurant exterior may not be overly appealing but it’s a different story inside. On our visit, staff welcomed us the moment we stepped into the restaurant; there was an interesting (if limited) choice of craft beers on offer (that we didn’t find anywhere else around Lyndhurst) and it wasn’t a problem to go ‘off menu’. And the food was great too.

 

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Starskys interior + Stevens Point pale ale

 

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The Texas burger – 6oz 100% prime lean beef patty served in a brioche bun with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, lettuce, red onion + tomato, with either rustic, skinny sweet potato fries or jacket potato (sweet potato fries were recommended by our server) and with a side salad @ £13.25

 

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Mac cheese side dish – not on the menu but that wasn’t a problem

 

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Georgia pulled pork from the smoker – Slow cooked pork marinated in Starskys own rub and served with a homemade BBQ sauce. And sweet potato fries.

 

Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: American/smokehouse/burgers
~ Address: 16 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BD
~ Tel: 023 8028 2991
~ Website + menus:  Starskys
~ Photos on flickr: images of Starskys food

 

New Forest Ponies horse-themed Spotify playlist:

LardButty in Berlin – The Bird

The Bird in Berlin – saving the best til last

This is the one we’ve been waiting for. The big one. Our last – and hopefully special – dinner out. A little piece of America in Berlin.

The Bird may not look like much from outside but don’t let that deter you. There’s a whole happy cavern overflowing with meat and beer awaiting inside…

 

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The Bird – outside dining on a chilly eve

 
Our table is reserved and waiting for us when we enter, but only for two hours. It’s a busy restaurant and we’ll be booted out when our time’s up, so we’d best crack on, starting with a round of dark köstritzer schwarzbiers (@ €3.50 per half litre) and an entertaining read.

It’s a good menu, short and specialised: the food is serious and the tone lighthearted:

 

At least try eating the damn burger with your hands. All you uptight people with forks and knives are driving us crazy. And for God’s sake don’t order your meat well done… menu cheekiness

 
It’s all about the meat – a variety of burgers and steaks (you choose the weight and how you’d like it cooked) with the best beef being imported from the States.

Because ‘bigger steaks are better’, the advice is not to order a thin, little steak each but to share a bigger – juicier and tastier – steak with others. Our waitress was super helpful and guided us on portion sizes.

 

IMG_6482 Chicken wings

 

We share sticky chicken wings – six pieces @ €4, and a da woiks burger, medium rare with Cheddar cheese @ €13 as starters. D’s been here before and enjoys sitting opposite us, watching our faces. We’re in raptures, mumbling things about “best chips ever…” and “seriously amazing burger…”. Chip miracle

 

How they’ve made them the *best* chips ever, I don’t know. They’re really well done with a slightly crispy outside but are perfectly soggy too. They look almost burnt. But they’re not, they taste amazing. It’s a miracle – a deep-fried potato miracle. That’s all there is to it.
 
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Köstritzer schwarzbier

 

IMG_6486b_FILLET 300g fillet steak with best ever chips and spinach

 

The joy of steaks
We share two steaks – both cooked medium rare – between the three of us: a 300g fillet steak @ €54 (it’s €18 per 100g) and a 500g New York strip @ €62.50 (it’s €12.50 per 100g).

 

IMG_6487 500g New York strip with best ever chips and salad

 

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Slices of fillet and New York strip steak

 

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Da Woiks burger Cheese (stilton), mushrooms + bacon with skin-on fries

 

For those who don’t mind the wait and crush at the bar, there’s an Angry Hour – buy one get one free on beer between 6 – 8pm (only at the bar). We preferred the chill-out, table-service option – full price being €7 a litre (that’s £5.85 for 1.8 pints, not bad).

The only *slightly* disappointing thing about this restaurant is the two hour turnaround on tables (it’s advisable to book ahead as it’s very busy, even on a Sunday evening). But as it says on the menu: …we ask for your patience and understanding. If you have none, please go elsewhere, this isn’t the place for self-important whiners The tone of the menu clearly gives you an idea of the kind of place it is: special yet not taking itself too seriously. It’s down-to-earth, with no pomp and ceremony, and is easy to feel at ease here.

Oh. Did I mention the best chips ever?

 

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The Bird re-visited – May 2016

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: American (in Germany)
~ Address: Am Falkplatz 5, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg
~ Tel: +49 (0)30 5105 3283
~ e: info@thebirdinberlin.com (or for reservations: thebirdreservations@gmail.com)
~ Nearest station: Schönhauser Allee -S and U
~ Website: The Bird in Berlin website
~ Menus: The Bird in Berlin menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Bird in Berlin
~ Location: The Bird map

 

RELATED LINKS
 

More Berlin dining:
 

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot
~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?
~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar
~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats
~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte
~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant
~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg

 

LardButty in Berlin – Auszeit

Berliner Frühstück # 3 of 3

For today’s breakfast we cycle from Mitte into neighbouring district Wedding, to Auszeit at Pekinger Platz, and meet up with some of D’s friends (you see, I mentioned that breakfast is a social affair here in Berlin in this earlier post).


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Möhrenpfannkuchen – carrot pancakes


D has some seriously good carrot pancakes with basil and feta cream and fresh rocket, spicy Walnußpaste, hummus, cheese, fresh fruit and a bread basket @ €8.40, while K has a three egg omelette (just perfect) @ about €7, and I go slightly off-menu with scrambled eggs (also beautifully done) and mushrooms @ about €7.


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Three egg omelette – light, fluffy and oh so very tasty


What a great way to spend a Sunday morning (and it really is morning for this breakfast as we need time to work up an appetite for dinner at The Bird later) before cycling home again (back to D’s) along the river, passed a family of swans.

I like this Berlin malarky.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: German (in Germany)
~ Address: Kiautschoustraße 12a, 13353 Berlin Wedding
~ e: info@auszeitberlin.de
~ Nearest station: Amrumer Str. -U
~ Website: Auszeit website
~ Menu: Auszeit menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of Auszeit
~ Location: Auszeit map


RELATED LINKS

More Berlin dining:

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot

~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?

~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar

~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats

~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte

~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant

~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg



		

	

LardButty in Berlin – Porta Nova Italian

Favolose Porta Nova Restaurant – Robert Koch Platz

We turned up at this Mitte neighbourhood restaurant at about 10pm last night. Despite being so late, we were welcomed in, and service at Porta Nova continued to be friendly and efficient throughout our leisurely meal.

We ordered a half litre carafe of dry white wine: Trebbiano Abruzzo (trocken, frischer sommerwein) @ €9.50. And then another two as the meal continued… well, why change a good thing?

For starters the three of us shared carpaccio de manzo a plate of beef carpaccio with mushrooms in mustard lemon sauce and vitello tonnato, slivers of roast veal in tuna sauce with capers, both of which were beautifully presented, fresh, and simply divine.


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Carpaccio de Manzo – beef carpaccio with mushrooms in mustard lemon sauce


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Vitello Tonnato – Veal in tuna sauce with capers


For main course we shared two large freshly made, stone-baked pizzas: a diavolo (salami, mushrooms and hot pepper) @ €8.20 and a ‘kuche divers’ (we created our own and threw on the works) @ €10.90. When stone-baked pizza is done right – like this – it’s sheer perfection. It may be indicative of how good it was, that we were too engrossed in eating the pizza to even think about taking a photo! My bad.

The total bill for three (including 1.5 litres of wine and tip) came to €75 – only €25 each. Reasonable value, great food.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Italian (in Germany)
~ Address: Robert Koch Platz 12, 10115 Berlin Mitte
~ Tel: +49 (0)30 28 04 04 08
~ Nearest station: Naturkundemuseum
~ Website: Porta Nova
~ Menus: Porta Nova menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of Porta Nova
~ Location: Porta Nova map


RELATED LINKS

More Berlin dining:

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot

~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?

~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar

~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats

~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte

~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant

~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg



		

	

LardButty in Berlin – brunch at Zitrone

Berliner Frühstück # 2 of 3

For today’s breakfast (well, brunch) we head out of Mitte to the trendy Kreuzberg district, to Zitrone.

The weather’s mild so we sit outside in the wide, tree-lined boulevard of a street where there’s seating for about 60.


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Zitrone – plenty of outdoor seating on these wide streets


We’re planning to stroll over to the East Side Gallery afterwards and are not in any rush. That said, service is incredibly slow. We enjoy leisurely drinks of fresh orange and ginger tea, and hefeweizen beers between us, then even our waitress eventually asks us with surprise if our food still hasn’t arrived…

D has a breakfast Istanbul – fried eggs which look perfectly runny (if slightly greasy) with Sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage), peppers, tomato, olives and marinated feta cheese @ € 6.70


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Breakfast Istanbul – Sucuk, olives and marinated feta cheese.


K homes in on the leberkäse special with fried eggs, spinach and fried potatoes @ €8.50. He *loves* this German meat-loaf speciality (though it reminds me of tinned Spam).


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Mittagessen – lunch special: leberkäse, eggs, spuds + spinach

It’s a salat ziegenkase for me – goats cheese with pesto on crusty baguette slices (bruschetta style) with a dressed salad of leaves, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber @ €7. The goats cheese has been lightly grilled. It’s nicely salty, a bit halloumi-like in texture, and is really good.


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Goats cheese salad


I’d happily be a regular customer here, if I lived nearby.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: German (in Germany)
~ Address: Graefe Straße 20, 10967 Berlin Kreuzberg
~ Nearest station: Schönleinstr. -U
~ Website: Zitrone website
~ Menu: Zitrone menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of Zitrone
~ Location: Zitrone map


RELATED LINKS

More Berlin dining:

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot

~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?

~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar

~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats

~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte

~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant

~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg



		

	

LardButty in Berlin – Makoto

Great donburi at Makoto Japanese noodle bar, Mitte

We intended to eat at Vietnamese restaurant, Monsieur Vuong, last night (ranked #26 of 4,976 Berlin restaurants on Trip Advisor) but:

a) there was a long queue outside Monsieur Vuong
b) it was raining
c) there was an appealing Japanese restaurant opposite, with no queue, called Makoto

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Makoto – Japanese designs + decor

We stepped out of the rain and into Makoto, which was pleasingly busy. Waiters were rushing around and just about keeping on top of customers’ needs.

There were already a few other tables waiting to order so we had to wait a while. And it was worth it.


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Starters – kimuchi (pickles), gyoza (dumplings) and miso tofu


For starters we shared:

~ Kimuchi – homemade spicy pickled vegetables with garlic and red pepper @ €3
~ Gyoza – six pan-fried dumplings filled with pork + vegetables, with soy sauce @ €4.30
~ Miso tofu – two chunks of tofu coated in miso sauce @ €4

For mains, K had a big bowl of Toku miso ramen (spicy miso noodles soup with fried pork and vegetables) @ €8.50 and I had Yasai don (traditional Japanese rice bowl with vegetables, tofu + ginger sauce) @ €7.90, washed down with Asahi, a good dry Japanese lager.


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Toku miso ramen


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Yasai don – fresh ingredients + very tasty!


A serendipitous find that amply met our needs, and was very reasonably priced (total bill for two was about €40).


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: Japanese (in Germany)
~ Address: Alte Schönhauser Str. 13, 10119 Berlin Mitte
~ Tel: +49 (0)30 97893857
~ Nearest station: Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz -U, Weinmeisterstr. – U
~ Website: Makoto
~ Menus: Makoto menu
~ Photos on flickr images of Makoto
~ Location: Makoto map


RELATED LINKS

More Berlin dining:

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot

~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?

~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar

~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats

~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte

~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant

~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg



		

	

LardButty in Berlin – Breakfast at Oranium

Berliner Frühstück # 1 of 3 – sausage fest

“Berliners know how to do breakfast”, says my guide book.

Berlin has a reputation for its breakfast culture, often a social event, with breakfast being served in many places until 4pm. And I’m eager to find out.

Our first breakfast here is at a restaurant recommended by local Mitte resident D, Oranium, a high-ceilinged, spacious venue on Oranienburger Strasse opposite the beautiful old post office.


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Oranium restaurant – high ceilings + spacious


Being in Germany, it seems only right and proper that the two of us who are tourists head straight for the Oranium Berlin specials: sausages.

K chooses the sausage trio – Berliner currywurst, Thüringer rostbratwurst and small Nürnberger sausages skewered with leek, onions and peppers fresh from the grill, served with red and yellow curry dip, BBQ sauce, and oven fresh baguette @ €9.10, while I order Nante Eckensteher – small Berliner currywürsts served with crispy French fries and cole slaw with dill sour cream at €8.90.


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Sausage trio: Berliner currywurst, Thüringer rostbratwurst + Nürnberger sausages


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Berliner currywurst and slaw

D orders ‘Strammer Max’: smoked ham with two fried eggs on whole-wheat bread garnished with tomatoes and pickles at €7.20.

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Strammer max: smoked ham and eggs


Such a good shout.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: German (in Germany)
~ Address: Oranienburger Strasse 33-34, 10117 Berlin Mitte
~ e: info@oranium.de
~ Nearest station: Berlin Oranienburger Str -S, Oranianburger Tor -U
~ Website: Oranium website
~ Menus: Oranium menu
~ Photos on flickr images of Oranium
~ Location: Oranium map


RELATED LINKS

More Berlin dining:

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot

~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?

~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar

~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats

~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte

~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant

~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg