Warming Winter Eats
As winter arrives, with its crisp air and brittle sunshine, sitting outside watching the sunset is a distant memory and our gastronomic wants are more geared to a warming lunch by a roaring fire. Move over crab salad and sharing platters with a chilled glass of white, it’s homemade pies and hearty stews with a pint of local ale, or a glass of rich red wine that we’re after.
So here's a guide to this winter’s top places for lunch or a casual supper.
Cosy – The Coast Bar & Dining Room, Cowes
For hearty winter fare The Coast Bar & Dining Room is the perfect place to get cosy this winter. Located in the heart of Cowes, Coast offers fantastic seasonal food in a relaxed environment and as the nights draw in the candles and log fired stove make this a really great spot to grab some lunch or a hearty dinner. Try the 12 hour braised beef and Rioja stew or one of the daily specials, which includes homemade pasta and fresh local fish dishes. Coast also boasts a wood fired pizza oven producing crisp, authentic Italian style pizzas with a range of innovative toppings.
The Coast Bar & Dining Room, 14-15 Shooters Hill, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 7BG, 01983 298574, www.thecoastbar.co.uk
First Class - Off the Rails, Yarmouth
Housed in the renovated Victorian railway station in Yarmouth, Off the Rails offers great views from the comfort of its cosy interior, complete with wood burning stove and railway paraphernalia throughout. Serving a fresh local menu that changes weekly (the burgers are a must try), great coffee and cakes, this is the perfect place to plot into your cycle plan for that essential pit stop.
Off the Rails, Station Road, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, PO41 0QT, 01983 761600, www.offtherailsyarmouth.co.uk
Town Centre - Nomad, Cowes
Right on trend, following the current desire for authentic street food, Nomad serves up a global influenced ‘shut up and feed me’ menu making it a must visit when on the Island. With two restaurants situated right in the heart of Cowes, Nomad’s weekly changing menu has Neuvo Latino, Asian and classic British inspired dishes. As they state this is “Fun, exciting no rules food’. The crispy pork belly bao steamed buns with chipotle aioli are a must try! Heaven in a bun. Opt for the ‘shut up and feed me’ tasting menu for £25pp to get the real taste experience.
Nomad Cowes, 62 High Street, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 7RL, 01983 242144
Add a little sunshine - Bendula Caribbean, Ryde
For a true taste of the Caribbean that brings spice and warmth to your heart (and stomach) Bendula in Ryde hits the spot this winter. Meaning ‘Meeting Place’ in the Gambia, this is a great place to grab some delicious warming homemade food. Following the seasons around the world Bendula offers a broad range of Caribbean and African cuisines. From melt in the mouth jerk ribs, to the tangy sour ackee and salt fish with fried dumplings – this is the real deal. Whatever you do make sure you try the goat curry with rice and peas – a Caribbean classic that is seriously delicious.
Bendula, 5 Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 2DU, www.bendulacaribbean-isleofwight.co.uk
My Isle of Wight Favourite – Culver Haven Inn, Culver Down
Now this is a definite one for a blustery winters day. Located right on the tip of Culver Down, The Culver Haven Inn is accessed via a long single lane that weaves through National Trust land. The Yarbridge Monument towers behind this modest pub which boasts one of the best views on the whole Island - looking over the cliff across the channel below with nothing between you and Dieppe but that open expanse of water – apart from the odd ship or two. As well as the amazing views, this family run pub has a roaring fire and a wide menu that caters for every taste, as well as daily specials which often include fresh local fish and Bembridge crab. This is the ideal place to start and finish a bracing winters walk exploring the East Wight. Then refuel with homemade steak and ale pie or the trio of Isle of Wight sausages with mash on your return, washed down with a pint of Goddards “Fuggle Dee Dum”. Cheers!
The Culver Haven Inn, Culver Down Rd, Bembridge, Sandown PO36 8QT, 01983 406107, www.culverhaven.com
4 December 2017