See the summer makeover at The Lodge Kitchen and Bar at The Balmer Lawn Hotel

The Lodge Kitchen and Bar at The Balmer Lawn hotel in Brockenhurst is summer ready

The Lodge Kitchen and Bar at The Balmer Lawn hotel in Brockenhurst is summer ready - Credit: The Balmer Lawn

As of May 17, many dining establishments are hoping to be able to open their doors to welcome guests inside once again. But as temperatures warm up and we start to enjoy longer, drier days, the question is...are we ready to head back indoors, and more importantly, do we really want to? 

With so many restaurants and pubs investing in glorious outside spaces for drinking and dining, we will be spoilt for choice when it comes to al fresco experiences this summer.  

Quirky decorations can be found in all corners 

Quirky decorations can be found in all corners - Credit: The Balmer Lawn

One place that should be at the top of your list to try is the newly created The Lodge Kitchen and Bar at The Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst. With the extended and newly landscaped Savernake Terrace looking out over the expanse of lawn in front of the hotel, this is the perfect place to watch the comings and goings of the New Forest’s most famous residents. The ponies roam freely here, and as we sipped the delicious Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, Champagne Rene Jolly (by the glass on the wine list at £9.95) a pair entertained us with a galloping display worthy of the New Forest show.  

If the sun’s rays are a little overpowering however, or, dare I say it, the heaven’s unexpectedly open then fear not, as The Lodge offers covered seating for plenty of guests under its stylish tented roof.  

Popeye is having a good time 

Popeye is having a good time - Credit: The Balmer Lawn

First opened in time for Christmas last year, The Lodge was only just gaining a reputation before Covid put the kibosh on any further plans for entertaining. Abandoned in its guise as a ski lodge, the team at The Balmer Lawn have been busy transforming the space for summer, and the newly created beach themed Lodge is finally able to welcome guests once more.  

We were treated to the best seats in the house upon our visit, on stools and a high table directly under a heat lamp. With one of the frostiest Aprils since records began, this was very much appreciated, and the little button to turn the lamp on was thankfully just an arm stretch away.  

The artificial indoor trees have been decorated with flip flops and summer accessories 

The artificial indoor trees have been decorated with flip flops and summer accessories - Credit: The Balmer Lawn

What's on the menu?

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As well as the usual Al la carte menu, The Lodge has its own menu based around the new Gozney pizza oven, which sits proudly at one end of the tented area next to the new outdoor bar. With five mouth-watering pizza options on the menu from the Isle of Wight (IOW Tomatoes, IOW Blue Cheese, Confit Garlic) to the Diavola (Spicy Pepperoni, £15 Spianata, Olives, Chilies), you are sure to find something to tempt your tastebuds. There was also a special on the menu when we visited which we combined with the sharing platter to create the ultimate al fresco feast. Olives, stuffed peppers, meats and breads were presented on a wooden board to continue the laid-back and rustic, yet refined atmosphere. Desserts were equally as delicious, the Salted Caramel Fondant can be highly recommended, and dishes were served beautifully which will have you snapping away for your Instagram feed.   

The beach vibe continues on to the Savernake Terrace

The beach vibe continues on to the Savernake Terrace - Credit: The Balmer Lawn

As we tucked in, I was so pleased to see such a variety of guest. Old and young, dogs, walkers in wellies to ladies who lunch (the afternoon tea looked incredible). The vibe at The Balmer Lawn is inclusive, friendly and welcoming. The perfect representation of the National Park in which it is so beautifully nestled in.  

As well as the food, quirky touches to the décor keeps your eye wandering. From the gorgeous artificial tree adorned with flip flops to the surfboard and TV screens showing videos of beach revellers, The Lodge certainly does satisfy that wanderlust, even if only for an afternoon. With plans for DJ sets and live music sessions, this really is set to be one of the dining destinations of the summer. We’d book in quick, before the tourists discover this New Forest delight.  Book a table on 01590 623116