Spook at the Bay

I was delighted to hear that Spook, a London-based top end catering company, had taken over the catering at The Priory Bay hotel and that they’re open for lunch and dinner throughout the summer months. So we ladies had to go and investigate of course.

Helicopters were taking off and landing as we arrived on one of the hottest days of the year so far and took a shaded table on the terrace. It was all very reminiscent of the old Priory Bay I have to say. Last time I went for lunch on the terrace a helicopter landed half way through the main course, much to the excitement of one of the ladies present who thought it might be her rather famous entrepreneur and airline-owning son. Sadly it was not.

We took the advice of Zoe, one of Spook’s owners, and had two sharing platters between the three of us to start, one of which was seafood and the other of Italian charcuterie. They came on slices of tree – think huge thick bits of trunk – and were heaving with juicy morsels such as oysters, crab, tiger prawns, bresaola and prosciutto with local cheeses and Mediterranean vegetables. And I got to eat two of the three oysters, which was a bonus.

Next up was a garden salad with broad beans, radishes, ricotta and bean shoots and a sliced piece of prime beef, cooked to perfection in sea salt that was called a Bavette. Plus a bucket of triple cooked chips that were yummy. I never did get to eat any of the green bean salad as one of the ladies in our party hogged the lot, so I assume it was good. The beef was delicious.

We didn’t indulge in desert – I have to say that I don’t think I could have fitted one in anyway. The other ladies decided to pick up an ice cream on the way home. But on the day we visited Spook had Chocolate Delice with cherry sorbet, clotted cream and honeycomb that sounded somewhat fabulous and a mini Pavlova with summer berries. If only I could have fitted another morsel in, I would have done so.

I had their own homemade lemonade to drink, which was very refreshing, but I was reliably informed that the Chilgrove Gin and Fevertree tonics were good. Maybe they ought to be stocking Isle of Wight Distillery Mermaid Gin I thought, and completely forgot to mention it to them. Plus I didn’t realise until I read the menu that they do non-alcoholic cocktails such as an Apple Mojito. I shall have to try one next time.

The waiting and bar staff were extremely attentive and helpful, even with the most pernickety requests. And the hotel hasn’t changed at all. It still has the air of comfortable grandeur that I know and love. Plus they are opening the big boathouse on the beach for summer suppers looking out over the sea I hear – as long as it isn’t booked for a wedding of course.

I have to say that Spook at the Bay more than exceeded our expectations and I shall be paying a few more visits this summer. Not in a helicopter, more’s the pity. But you never know, of course. Life has a habit of being unpredictable, thankfully.

Lady Penelope

21 July 2017

By Lady Penelope in The locals' blogs