WHETHER you’ve spent a day at the nearby Hawk Conservancy or are just passing through the area on the A303, The Hawk in Amport occupies an enviable location.

We turned up for dinner having enjoyed a weekend drive through the countryside, weaving through narrow lanes of picturesque thatched cottages before arriving at the inn, set overlooking the Pill Hill brook.

I’m told The Hawk used to be more pub than restaurant, but today definitely has more of a feeling of the latter. The list of starters was impressive, so we decided to share the pâté with cornichons and farmhouse toast and the chicken liver parfait, which came with red onion jam and toasted brioche.

Happily my partner preferred the pâté while I favoured the parfait. Don’t you just love it when that happens?

She particularly got a taste for the cornichons, and while miniscule sour French pickles aren’t really my thing, she was enthused enough to buy a jar from the Old world charm with 21st century comforts ‘Chic’ look to historical inn 26 Andover Advertiser 22 May, 2015 andoveradvertiser.co.uk supermarket a few days later.

Back to my parfait, which was soft and silky and had a great flavour, and the portions were generous enough for us to request more toast.

Our mains arrived 10 minutes later and looked impressive.

I had plumped for the 8oz hanger steak with hand cut chips, watercress and peppercorn sauce, with a side of seasonal vegetables, while my fiancée can never resist when a menu offers pork belly, which on this occasion came with spring greens, black pudding, wild garlic, leaf mash and cider apples.

It’s hard to say who enjoyed their main more. My medium steak was juicy and perfectly cooked, while the chips were just how I like them – chunky, fluffy and crispy, and the sauce complemented the meat well. My partner’s belly of pork was just as good, the chunks of soft apple the perfect accompaniment.

Greed and temptation got the better of us and we rounded things off with a honeycomb mousse and gooey chocolate pudding. I don’t normally like chocolatey desserts, but this one was fantastic.

Rich but not overly so, it slipped down a treat with the salted caramel ice cream.

The mousse, I thought, was a wee bit bland, but my partner preferred it to the chocolate pudding. Again, smiles and empty plates all round.

The weather wasn’t great when we visited, but on a sunny day I could easily picture myself whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon on the sandstone terrace. I only moved to Hampshire in January and haven’t yet ventured over to Stonehenge. It’s less than 20 minutes from The Hawk, so we’ll definitely be back and combine the two.

Mike Sims

Hawk details - Amport, Andover, Hants, SP11 8AE, 01264 710371,hawkinnamport.co.uk