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Former Hotel TerraVina head chef Gavin Barnes promises fine dining at his new Highstreet Kitchen in Lymington

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A NEW fine dining restaurant set up by former Hotel TerraVina head chef Gavin Barnes has opened in Lymington.

The Highstreet Kitchen is the realisation of a career-long dream, and in setting up the venue Gavin has brought much of the team he worked with at the Woodlands hotel, which at the time was run by world famous French sommelier Gerard Butler and his wife Nina.

Gavin, who was a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2015, is promising “honest and uncomplicated but perfectly crafted dishes”, enjoyed in a relaxed, informal environment.

The feedback so far from guests has been positive
The feedback so far from guests has been positive

“This is high-end, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be casual and fun,” he said. “We offer breakfast, lunch and dinner – I want this place to be an extension of people’s living spaces.”

The team is using many local producers, including Blackwater Farm in Ashurst, J.S. Fresh Fish in Southampton, Blackwater Pork in Ashurst, and Harvest Fine Foods in Totton, which stocks a huge range of local fare by companies including the New Forest Fruit Co, Sopley Salads, New Forest Mushrooms, Sunbeam Watercress, The Tomato Stall and Dorset Blue.

“My suppliers have done a lot of the hard work for me – many of them I have been using since working at TerraVina in 2013 so I know their quality only too well,” said the father-of-three, who worked as sous chef for The Jetty’s Alex Aitken at Le Poussin at Parkhill – now Lime Wood.

Gavin was a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2015
Gavin was a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2015

“Opening a restaurant right here in my own town has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, it’s all I’ve ever banged on about. I knew I had to gather a following though, and bring the best people with me – that’s what I’ve done.

“I wouldn’t be here now without the dedication of my managers Laura Neiass and Moyra Ferguson. They’ve helped build the restaurant from the ground up.

“It’s been a six-month labour of love for us, from choosing the coffee and sourcing the right foods to decorating the restaurant and choosing the glassware. We’ve done everything ourselves, with the help of friends and family, and we’re ready to get ourselves established.”

Like the menu, which features mouth-watering treats like roasted cote de boeuf with bernaise and butter poached wing of south coast skate, the wine list has been put together with sustainability in mind.

“The list was created by wine specialist Laurent Bergmann of Ellis Wines and Tanguay Martin from Roberson Wine,” said Moyra. “We’ve got some great English wines, and we’re going to be championing and extending our English sparkling wine range.”

The Highstreet Kitchen is also open for breakfast
The Highstreet Kitchen is also open for breakfast

The feedback so far from guests has been more than positive, with many returning customers within the five-day period of the restaurant opening.

“We are going to do our absolute best to get things right,” said Gavin (45). “But we will get it wrong sometimes and we want our customers to buy into those mistakes and help us do better.

“What I really want to do is to invest in my team – they’ve looked after me and now I want to do the same.”

The Highstreet Kitchen is at 68 High Street, where Pizza Express used to be. It opens all day Tuesday to Saturday and Sundays for brunch between 9am and 2pm.

For more information or to book a table, go to www.thehighstreetkitchen.co.uk

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