2015’ Food Journey around the Island in a Monkey Nut-Shell   Leave a comment

For 10 months of the year it’s a bit tricky for us to get very far and when we do it usually involves food and/or socialising. Apparently we can get away with that. The common thought is that we should be chained to the house, but we have pop our heads out of the laundry/kitchen/office every now and again for our sanity.

This year, as every year, has seen changes in food and drink. Movers and shakers and some money makers. Our top 10 things of 2015 of course involve food and drink! They come in no particular order, just my list that I jotted down before 2016 started and I ran out of time.

  1. ‘Thompsons’ opening. Robert Thompson’s first own restaurant. It surprised us a bit when he chose Newport, not a seaside location, but a beautiful building none the less. And who wants to be predictable? Mr OSGH is pleased he now has a sign up, but you can’t rush these things. Newport is very much on the up and has been for a few years. Robert Thompson is helping to expand it on the other side of town.
  2. The ‘Waterfront Inn’, Shanklin, was taken over in January by father and son Rupert & Billy. After some rather simple changes – not simple on the bank account though, they have transformed the building and the seafront really. It is our ‘local’ now and hard to get Little Miss OSGH past it without a visit to ‘Badger’s House’ (their incredibly cute and patient dog). They have been through a few chefs this year, but seem to be settling down and have started some theme nights. Little Miss OSGH ever the helper assisted Billy with put up the Christmas lights and was the proud ‘turner on’ of the lights. They are really good! We’re looking forward to our NY Eve celebrations there this year.
  3. OMG the Goat’s cheese!! Yes, a goat farm on the Island. Due to regular trips to Yarmouth these days for baby sitting, we discovered Michelle and her husband’s farm and their temporary shop selling the most amazing mousse-like goats’ cheese. The best we’ve had since Normandy. They have been here since 2013, but are constantly expanding their reach and range, now at the Farmers Market as well as fayres and their own shop on the farm. Watch out for their goats’ milk soap at OSGH in 2016. Mrs OSGH has to confess that she ate goat this year – not from their farm, God forbid. Something she thought she would never do – she has a long history with goats on the Island – that’s another blog waiting to happen. We’re now in love with Yarmouth, with it’s new jewellery makers Rust and our lovely, expensive Marlborough Sauvignon we like at The George!
  4. Living Larder – we kept hearing this name all over, mainly from restaurants. In the olden days before we moved to the IOW we had a veg box delivered from an organic farm near where we lived in Kent. What with everything going on and then a baby coming along we never got round to it here. Actually, we did try one this year and it didn’t really work out for us. So this year Living Larder will be getting our order. Our greengrocer in Shanklin closed this year, so we’ve been using 5 a Day in Ventnor and will continue to do that for the guest house. Especially as Mrs OSGH has her jam making equipment (Birthday present, as requested!) and is excited to try it out. Not having a sweet tooth though and with Christmas it’s mainly been red onion marmalade, red onion marmalade with chilli and chorizo jam (which may be introduced with breakfast, we shall see.
  5. Bembridge had it’s first food festival. Mr OSGH was a little disappointed by the size, but it was their first year and there were the usual suspects, which is fine if you go to 1 food festival a year on the Island and great if you’re a tourist – it saves trapsing round all the shops and venues. It did mean that we went to ‘Shed’ for the first time, a Bembridge delight. We still haven’t tried making their mackerel balls, but did enjoy eating them!
  6. Back to Newport and Thomas Square. Olivos were renovating their next door building for quite some time and there were rumours they were opening a B&B. Then they sold it! Then….along came El Patron and thank the Lord! An authentic Mexican on the Island. And FYI Trip Advisor reviewer/nay sayer, you can have soft tacos and the tortilla chips are sooo authentic and moreish. It’s street type food in a basket and so good that Mrs OSGH would probably eat it off the floor if she had to. We’re still big fans of Primrose Café & deli. We never tried the burger bar that is already up for sale on that side of town, but we did try out a few Newport Pubs, particularly liking the Castle for a drinky.
  7. There have been some other fantastic renovations this year. One of the most outstanding is the old Wax Works in Brading. Brading is a very old town, dominated by it’s Roman Villa and wetlands. It used to be rather touristy too, but then the Wax Works closed and it became a bit of a linear town, just for driving through…until 2015! Well, a bit before that they started a museum in the railway station, oh, and they still had the Roman Villa and the bull, but anyway, one of the pubs closed, which was also supposed to be the Post Office…I tell you what they may have got quiet, but I bet there was a lot of gossip about who was doing what and when and how! So after toing and froing and Kyngs café at the wax works, ending up in the old Dark Horse, the pub that closed – are you still with me? – the Wax Works, after planning hoo hars, opened it’s restaurant The Rectory. Phew! And it is stunning. Opening in the summer Mrs OSGH drove past it quite a few times and it was always busy, from day 1. Finally we found time to go there and it is stunning. No more cobwebby wax works or rickety floors. And the food is excellent. Well worth a visit. Brading is on the up! And Mrs OSGH needs a little lie down after that paragraph!

7a…Mrs OSGH final allowed Mr OSGH to go to the Yarbridge Inn. It was a not very cold December lunch time and having been warned by our butcher that we should have booked we went along anyway and we got the last table. It looks a bit like it’s the old railway station – purely by shape, as it’s long and thin. The menus, yes menus, were extensive and if you can’t find something you want to eat here, then don’t go out ever! There is so much to choose from. They even have a daily roast! Mrs OSGH had a chicken, ham and brie pie and you could actually taste the brie. Sorry Mr OSGH I should have let you go sooner! We’ll be back.

  1. One of Mrs OSGH’s highlights of the year was staying at the Seaview Hotel. It was a present for her sister’s milestone birthday, that she doesn’t like to talk about. We had lunch at the Best Dressed Crab – another new and great experience of 2015, then walked to Seaview, (having already dropped off the bags), around the beach, collecting shells (which are still in her hat) and discussing the noise of the hovercraft and why they are not in general use around the world (yes, a very exciting conversation) ending in a little drinky at the Old Fort before checking into our beautiful room at the Seaview Hotel. We had a 3 course dinner from their ‘Focus on Food’ menu, which was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015. The food was to die for and the cheese board immense! A very happy night spent sans child, con wine and bloody Marys and being served breakfast in the morning.
  2. The Shakers this year have been thinking outside the box. Shanklin welcomed a tapas restaurant, formerly Small Talk Café, now Small Talk tapas bar. It’s really worth a try and very reasonably priced.They have Spanish beer and cidre on tap too. We had a lovely evening there wine tasting with our butcher and his wife, with South African tapas. Another shaker this year was Fogg’s formerly known as Phileas Foggs. It’s taken all year to remember the new name – it’s an age thing. Since Mark & Lyndsey bought the restaurant they have gradually changed things, slowly at first, to ease people in, then a little more dramatically since the rebranding, but it’s always good these days. We just don’t get there often enough. To shake up Christmas we thought we’d try and book a table for Christmas Eve (only a handful of days before Christmas) and of course they were fully booked. The menu looked great though and it appeals to everyone. Shaking in 2016 will be Fine Nammet. Closed by Jenna & Paul, it will be reopening in 2016, so watch this space. El Toro in Ventnor are changing things in 2016 too, after their rather long holiday in the Canaries they are full of new ideas.
  3. Sandown, oh Sandown. A new, exciting restaurant opened – The Bandstand. Mr OSGH has been, but Mrs hasn’t. Everyone says it’s good and it’s a welcome addition to Sandown, it looks nice too, with it’s byfold windows overlooking the sea. IOW council still have an aversion to allowing people to improve Sandown, although one, yes, one planning application was allowed this year on a dilapidated building (with lots of conditions obviously). A new burger joint opened too. The Beach Shack are also changing things for 2016, again watch this space, once Greg and Amanda decide which avenue to take it will be quite a different ‘shack’.


We have a list of new places we want to try and 2016 seems to be longer than ever:


The Bandstand for Mrs OSGH

The Harbour Kitchen

Toninos (on a list from 2013)

Murrays (also on a list for 2013)

Piano Café

The George (no we still haven’t eaten here)

Yarmouth Deli

The Hut


We still also love;

Cantina, Ventnor we now get our gluten free bread from here

Bonchurch Inn

Three Buoys




Seaview Hotel

Primrose Café

The Beach Shack

El Toro

Waterfront Inn

Best Dressed Crab

The Old Fort


The Rectory at the Wax Works

El Patron


Yarbridge Inn




Posted December 22, 2015 by shanklinrocks in Uncategorized

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