There’s been quite a buzz about Dan’s restaurant in Marlborough. CHARLOTTE KELSEY finds out why

WE were thrilled to be heading to Dan’s Restaurant because it has been fully booked since opening late last year and were excited to sample the ‘great food, great service and lots of things to drink,’ as advertised on the website homepage.

There has been a lot of excitement locally about a boutique independent restaurant opening in the town, and our evening exceeded all our expectations.

Dan’s is a bijou eatery tucked just off the main High Street in Marlborough. The restaurant seats 20 to 30 guests which gives it a wonderfully cosy atmosphere. This is a fantastic contrast to the stark chain restaurants along the High Street — luckily the ambience at Dan’s is understated elegance at its best.

The décor is focused on natural tones and materials and certainly encompasses the current trend for all things Hygge, whilst touches of copper and soft grey brings the look bang up to date. Lots of candlelight gives a soft romantic glow over the polished wooden tables, perfect for a heart to heart and lingering over the delicious food. The restaurant offers a wonderfully relaxing experience and nothing is rushed, which perfectly complements the incredibly fine fare on offer.

The boutique impression started with the warm welcome we received from Sally, who was front of house. We started with a welcome drink, (a glass of Prosecco for me and an ice cold Estrella draft beer for my husband, Tom) while we perused the menu. Sinking into the comfortable cushioned banquette in the window, glass in hand, the stresses of the week and the cold night outside melted away.

The menu was short but perfectly formed with its emphasis on locally sourced fare. We struggled to choose as everything sounded delicious, each with its own wonderful twist.

I settled on the beef carpaccio to start, paper thin slices of rare beef topped with a salad of earthy sweet beetroot, peppery rocket, salty feta and pine nuts drizzled with extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil from the nearby Ramsbury estate. The beef was perfect and melted in the mouth, a real treat.

Tom plumped for the mezze plate after much deliberation (the gin and tonic prawns were also a hot contender.) The plate was packed with delicious morsels of hot herb-filled falafel with beetroot, chickpea, aubergine and yoghurt dips, sweet carrot salad, pickled crunchy vegetables and fresh baked flat bread. I didn’t get a chance to sample it as it was gone in a flash, but I am soundly assured it was delicious.

To accompany our mains we chose a bottle of the Bishops Leap Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The wine was crisp and fresh and went down far too quickly!

The wine list is not in the least bit intimidating and is peppered with wonderfully light-hearted descriptions which certainly encourages you to try something new. Dan puts on wine events with his sommelier and we’d just missed a special ‘Australia Day’ celebration with taster wines with each course.

For my main I enjoyed the seafood bouillabaisse, a traditional French fish stew with grilled fillets of gurnard, scallops, prawns, mussels and rouille and topped with spiced garlic crouton. The bouillabaisse was seasoned perfectly, the fish stock just cutting through the warming tomato, and with the gurnard fillets, it made for a filling meal.

Tom settled on pink roast venison from Burghclere on creamy cabbage and bacon, crisp sautéed potatoes, roast wild mushrooms and a rich rosemary sauce. I had to try some as the venison looked delicious. It melted in the mouth, rich but not overpowering and cooked to perfection.

We were too full for dessert, but they sounded so delicious we couldn’t resist. I settled on the lemon sorbet sundae, which was a combination of lemon posset topped with crushed meringue, cream, lemon curd and shortbread crumb finished with lemon sorbet. Refreshing and zesty – just perfect when you are totally full but still fancy a little something sweet.

Tom tried the honeycomb and hazelnut parfait which came smothered in hot toffee sauce. I am not a fan of hazelnut, but this was completely delicious! Creamy and buttery rich, it was a perfect end to a decadent treat.

I cannot recommend the experience highly enough and have no doubt Dan and his team will make sure you have an unforgettable evening. I’d strongly recommend booking as the tables fill up fast, but be sure to follow Dan’s facebook page as last minute cancellations are often announced there. All we need now is to find an excuse for another visit...

North Wessex Downs AONB, 2 London Rd, Marlborough SN8 1PH
01672 512112

Parking: Parking is available along London road and in the Parade or a 2 min walk from the town. 
Disabled access: Yes

Our ratings:
Food: 10/10
Choice: 10/10
Decor: 10/10
Service: 10/10

Main course prices: £16.50-£26
TripAdvisor rating: 5/5