The go-to site for what makes life worth living in and around Petersfield, Hampshire, and some other stuff too. For flaneurs, bon vivants, indeed boulevardiers of every complexion - why go anywhere else?

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Petersfield's smartest restaurant, Michelin starred and Michelin priced. Moved to new and swish premises in Dragon Street in late 2006 from the much smaller space currently occupied by The Lounge. Here, the rooms are roomier, but the decor - neutral and the atmosphere - austere - have been carried through. Presumably this is to minimise any distraction from the culinary fireworks to come but we felt it had been taken too far; for sure, no-one likes to eat under searchlights but the peculiarly flat, indirect illumination makes the room feel inhospitable - as though the traditional 'gloomy corner' had been extended to the entire restaurant - and certainly doesn't set the food (or the diners) in a flattering light. Another time we'd make sure we had one of the few window tables with natural light or (in summer) would aim to eat outside in what looks like a nice courtyard. 

Both food and wine at JSW win plaudits; the food is certainly technically excellent (which is to say that you would never aspire to it at home), though more in terms of appearance and construction than flavour, the wine (from a fairly short list available by the glass) OK but unmemorable, the service professional (though not faultless) but the whole experience is emotionally uninvolving and pretty joyless. 

We guess there are a lot of people around who still like this kind of haute cuisine. If you're one of them, then JSW checks all the expected boxes and may well ring your bell - don't let our oikish preferences put you off. Dragon Street, Petersfield, Hampshire. 01730 262030

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