Matthew Tomkinson

Matthew Tomkinson, innovative head chef and Roux scholar of The Terrace at The Montagu Arms, Hampshire, creates a seasonal, enticing 3AA Rosette menu capturing a delicious and exciting range of flavours, textures and aromas. Matthew’s commitment to the perfect dining experience drives a constant quest to find the best ingredients for the plate through sourcing fresh, local and seasonal produce from trusted regional suppliers. 

The Hotel’s Kitchen Gardener provides a selection of home-grown ingredients, nurtured by hand and harvested with care to perfectly compliment each dish.

Matthew was enticed into a career in the kitchen on a fishing trip with a friend. His companion was a chef at a French restaurant, who regaled him with tales of his job.

Matthew completed a degree in Hospitality Management where he spent time work placements in a supermarket canteen and as apprentice chef at at pub. A year at The Greenhouse (a vegetarian restaurant in Cheshire) followed, during which time he began to broaden his understanding of ingredients – particularly vegetables – and how to best to reflect their individual merits.

His next job was at Simply Nico in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, near London. Allured by a menu filled with French terms he didn’t understand, he loved the atmosphere, friendship, food and attention to detail,

From there he moved on to Michelin-starred Ockenden Manor in West Sussex, working under Stephen Crane. While there he won the Roux Scholarship – a prestigious cooking competition for promising chefs under 30. He won a work placement at the three Michelin-starred Michel Guérard’s Les Prés d’Eugénie in south-west France.

He then joined The Goose in Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire, as head chef, winning his first Michelin star in 2008,

He is now settled at The Montagu Arms in the New Forest where, in 2009, only six months after joining the restaurant as head chef, he won the second Michelin star of his career, which he retains today. He has held a Michelin star at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant for seven consecutive years, and was named Hampshire Chef of the Year in recognition of this achievement in 2014.

Terrace Restaurant, The Montagu Arms Hotel
Fine dining restaurant in the New Forest, Hampshire
More about this venue

Warm Salad of Alresford Wood Pigeon

By chef Matthew Tomkinson


Just before serving, season the wood pigeons inside and out and in a very hot pan brown all over. Place breast side up into a hot pan and roast at 200°C for 6 minutes, remove from the oven and place the pigeons on a plate. Drain any fat from the pan and add the honey, allow to darken in colour but not burn and then add the pigeons back allowing them to get well coated in the honey. Season and rest in a warm place.

For the chutney, sweat the beetroot, apple, bay leaf and star anise in a little olive oil for 5 mins. Add the remaining ingredients and cook gently until thick and chutney like in consistency. Season, remove the bay and star anise and chill.

Combine the water, sugar, salt and vinegar and stir to dissolve. Add the thyme and garlic and bring to the boil. Add the mushrooms and leave to one side to cool.

Shred the duck meat and season well. Mix with the chives and the duck fat and divide into four. Cut the sheet of pastry into 4 even strips and mix the flour with enough water to form a thick paste. Place the duck meat on the strips and fold into samosa shapes using the flour paste as glue. Place in the fridge to set.

Cover the beetroot in just enough water, add the spices and bring to a simmer. When very tender remove the beetroot and blend to a smooth puree taking care to remove the spices. Add the olive oil and vinegar to taste. Keep at room temperature until needed.

Combine the sugar and water and allow to dissolve, add the nuts and bring to a boil. Cook until they reach 108°C (you will need a sugar thermometer) drain well and immediately deep fry at 180°C until golden and crispy. Drain and cool.

To Finish/Serve: On four plates place blobs of the beetroot puree and the beetroot chutney. Scatter around some of the drained pickled mushrooms and some of the candied walnuts. Deep fry the samosas until golden and crispy, drain and season. Place a samosa on each plate and then carve the pigeons off the bone, placing two breasts on each plate. Garnish with the watercress and pour around a little of the sauce and serve.

Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, Hampshire

This recipe is featured in our book Signature Chefs South West & Channel Islands. Click here for more information

Ingredients for four servings:

  • Wood Pigeon
  • 4 Wood Pigeons
  • 20G Runny Honey
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt And Pepper
  • Beetroot Chutney
  • 1 Large Red Beetroot, Cooked And Grated
  • 1⁄2 Granny Smith Apple, Grated
  • 1 Small Bay Leaf1 Star Anise
  • 1 Tsp Redcurrant Jelly
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Port
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil

Pickled Mushrooms

  • 300G Mixed Mushrooms
  • 50Ml Water
  • 50Ml White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1⁄2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Thyme Sprig
  • 1 Garlic Clove


  • 50G Cooked Confit Duck Leg Meat
  • 2 Tsp Reserved Duck Fat (Warm)
  • 20G Finely Chopped Chives
  • 1 Sheet Feuille De Brique Pastry
  • 1 Small Bay Leaf
  • 50G Plain Flour

Beetroot Puree 

  • 1 Large Red Beetroot
  • 1 Large Red Beetroot
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 Clove
  • 2 Juniper Berries
  • 2 Black Peppercorns
  • 20Ml Sherry Vinegar
  • 20Ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Candied Walnuts

  • 70G Walnuts
  • 40G Sugar
  • 40G Water


  • 1⁄2 Bunch Watercress
  • 100Ml Reduced Pigeon Sauce

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