There is a real buzz on the Island gurgling and bubbling around the little village of Gurnard just outside of Cowes. And the cause? The Little Gloster, an unassuming waterfront restaurant that belies the culinary creative and expertise that is delivered as standard on the inside. Self classed as a location offering “non-pretentious, well-priced food and drink, in a warm and friendly ambiance” this is a venue well worth discovering.
The Island now boasts a wide selection of cafes and restaurants with an ever increasing range and standard of food on offer, from great café fry ups and local fish & chips to seven course tasting menus. So when searching out new and interesting eateries around the Island, it is like Christmas when you stumble across one that really hits the mark on a multitude of levels.
This is definitely the case with the Little Gloster; location – tick, views – tick, relaxing chic décor – tick, friendly well trained staff – tick, warm welcome – tick, papers to read – tick , amazing simple yet mouthwatering breakfast, lunch and dinner menus – tick... and the list goes on.
You know when you’re onto a winner when you want to order at least three things off the menu at once.
OK – so the space – situated right on the waters edge looking out over the Solent, your view is constantly changing as the wind and tide bring yachts floating past in all directions. An enclosed garden next to the sea offers the perfect spot to relax on oversized outdoor bean bags and enjoy a sundowner. But with windows facing the sea all around, the outside is bought within in this airy contemporary space.
The welcoming ambiance makes it a great place to read the papers over breakfast or go with a group of friends and take the Crew Table that seats up to 25.
The food is fresh and simple, Chef Ben’s philosophy is to let the flavours speak for themselves by keeping it simple – a skill picked up from his Danish grandmother whose influences are everywhere from the food to the décor.
The menu has lots of ‘local’ and some of the combinations are a masterpiece – like the “gravadlax” house cured salmon with horseradish, sprouted spelt bread, Danish style caviar & crème fraiche. These amazing flavours work together beautifully.
The 28 day aged IoW steak burger & frites on toasted brioche bun, little gem, red onion, tomato, mustard ketchup mayo & Danish gherkins is possibly the best on the Island, cooked to perfection so it remains juicy and packed full of flavour. Children aren’t forgotten with a homemade selection of dishes on their ‘Little Crew Menu’ – which can also be coloured in by little ones while they wait.
Opened in 2010 by Cowes born owner and head chef Ben Cooke and wife Holly, the restaurant carries on Ben’s family’s tradition for excellence and service (his grandmother used to own and run the now closed Gloster Hotel), a philosophy compounded by years working aboard some of the worlds premier super yachts serving high end cuisine.
“The menu is simple and yet elegant, providing for a mix of tastes’ said Ben. “I could have made the whole thing fussier, but that isn’t what the Island wants or needs, or more to the point what I like to cook.”
Holly is in charge front of house and ensures that all customers needs are met with a warm smile and a relaxed air, reassuring you that nothing is too much trouble.
This family run restaurant also boasts a boutique B&B, with three rooms on offer all decorated with simple seaside elegance with that ever present Scandinavian influence – making for a tranquil and relaxing stay and the perfect place for dinner is right on your doorstep.