The crab rarebit has arrived! And yes, it so works. Think fresh Isle of Wight crab meat mixed with Briddlesford Lodge Farm’s new Caerphilly cheese and a splosh of brewerYates’s Holy Joe amber ale, served with Living Larder’s peppery leaves and Tomato Stall heirloom toms. You can’t get more local than that.
We’ve been having some fun since we re-opened in March this year. The kitchen is now firing on all cylinders and we have some delicious new dishes to show off. Ben is back behind the range, plus we’ve been joined by two exciting Spanish chefs – meet Daniel, our new sous, who has clocked up the hours in some super smart restaurants, among them El Bulli, and Alfonsa, now in charge of all our sweet stuff - check out her Isle of Wight spin on Spanish classic Crema Catalana using Island cheesemaker Richard Hodgson’s award-winning soft cheese.
Front of house is back in the game too, we’re pleased to report. After a few re-opening glitches we’ve had a staff re-jig and brought back some old favourites, including another family member, Ben’s brother Jack, who just couldn’t stay away after working for a few years in the Big Smoke. He’s now looking after all online / techie stuff and helping to get things shipshape throughout the season. Just in a case you hadn’t already noticed, Holly is back from maternity leave and keeping everything ticking along nicely.
There’s nothing like a young child to make you question your work life balance, so we’ve decided to cut a few of our hours back (see our new opening hours below), with no more breakfasts for non-residents (sorry, folks!), nor lunch on Wednesdays or Thursdays, we’re in a much happier place. And a happier crew means happy food & happy guests - or rather happy seafood, our raison d’être.
Whilst talking about seafood, in addition to rarebit, we have another new crab special for you - spider crab claws in chilli, ginger and garlic butter. Caught straight off the Ventnor coast by father and son fishermen duo - "they're as fresh as you can get & absolutely delicious” says Ben, who recommends this as a dish to share and get down and dirty with.
We’ve had a re-think about our gravadlax, too. Instead of Scottish salmon, we’re using trout caught from the nearby Hampshire chalk streams – which is much more sustainable, becoming an even stronger focus for us. We’re serving it with a smoked trout pâté - alongside pumpernickel, horseradish crème fraiche and an optional glass of house-infused aquavit – "skål!"
Meat-eaters need not worry, we have plenty to excite, including our spectacular new extra dry-aged steaks sourced from Aubrey Allen, supplier to some of the country’s top chefs (thanks for the intro, Chris Galvin!).
Holly’s homemade pasta is proving very popular, with specials including Isle of Wight lobster tagliatelle, which boasts a half lobster and lobster bisque, and vegetarian friendly goats cheese and pesto ricotta ravioli. Join us for our popular family friendly Pasta Wednesdays, with its bargain £20 set pasta menu (a la carte & specials also available).
Add to all of this a new, approachable, more affordable wine list, with wines starting at £4.25 a glass thanks to our new supplier Berry, Bros and Rudd, and it’s party time in Gurnard.
In short, we’re a tighter, happier, more focused team turning out what we think is our best, most affordable yet delicious food yet.
Look forward to seeing you soon,
Ben, Holly & Uffa Cooke