The Isle of Wight (known also as The Island) is a place that has a huge feeling of nostalgia of times past, despite playing host to the Isle of Wight Festival and International Scooter Rally. We visited the Island over the August Bank Holiday which happened to be when the scooter rally was on. We stayed in the seaside town of Shanklin – I do like English seaside towns (we went to Weymouth earlier this year and amongst other places, went to the curiously named Manbo’s Bistro).
We were in Sandown and came across Bellamy’s, a restaurant that calls itself both a bistro and a cafe. From the outside, it did seem more like a bustling cafe – black and white checkered table cloths, bottles of malt vinegar on the tables and happy diners tucking into large plates of pie and mash, fish and chips and ice cream sundaes. There was also a table of people eating a lobster platter. We were intrigued. The menu was indeed eclectic: main courses ranged from home made steak and kidney pie, chicken curry, pasta, chilli con carne to various seafood dishes. Starters included soup of the day, prawn cocktail and crab cakes. The seafood was caught locally.
We were very lucky to get a table without booking. We had some local beer to drink, the aptly named and very refreshing Ale of Wight from the Goddard’s brewery. We then went for crab cakes and pâté to start. We wanted to try the crab and lime quiche but they had sold out. The crab cakes were small but dense and very tasty and were accompanied by sweet chilli sauce and a salad. I did feel that, when compared with other items on the menu, they were a little on the pricey side. However, they were made with local Bembridge crab! The pâté was pleasant enough and tasted like a good quality shop bought pâté.
After much deliberating, we had mushroom and spinach pasta (one of the few vegetarian options on the menu) and crab burger and chips for the main course. I was, however, very tempted by the lobster pasta but after a fishy starter, I decided on a veggie main. The pasta was homely and like a comforting mid week supper – I enjoyed it very much. The crab burger and chips was filling – the burger was generously filled and like the crab cake starter, was very tasty.
We didn’t have space for dessert (we saw other diners having some delicious looking and huge desserts!) but we had a couple of liqueur coffees instead – as good as a dessert 🙂 These rounded off the meal perfectly.
We were charmed by Bellamy’s: the service was friendly and efficient and we loved the menu. The cooking was homely rather than refined. Where else can you order chicken curry, cottage pie and a lobster platter? During the day, you can have a fry up breakfast and toasted teacakes.
Bellamy’s is definitely worth a visit if you are in Sandown. As with many restaurants in seaside towns, they are open throughout the year but the opening hours are seasonal and change depending on whether it is summer or winter so it is best to check first. Bellamy’s can exist only on the Isle of Wight – it fits in on the Island perfectly and I can’t picture it anywhere else!
Bellamy’s Bistro Cafe
71 High Street
Isle of Wight. PO36 8AD
Tel: +44 (0)1983 403288
Opening hours are seasonal: (Summer opening hours) Tuesday – Sunday day 10.00 – 15.00
Tuesday – Sunday evening 17.30 – 21.00
Typical cost per person excluding drinks: Up to £20 for 2 courses (more for lobster)