JSW is currently one of a handful of Michelin starred restaurants in Hampshire and is located in the small market town of Petersfield. JSW are the initials of the restaurant’s chef and proprietor, Jake Saul Watkins, who attained his first Michelin star in 2002. We visited recently on a fine Summer evening for dinner. The restaurant is housed in a former 17th century coaching inn and is inviting and modern with crisp white tablecloths and wooden beamed ceilings. There are also a few elegant line drawings on the wall – the artwork opposite me was that of a female nude, a tasteful one of course! There is no background music which may be a little disconcerting if you’re one of the first to arrive. Continue reading
Type of food / drink: Pub food and real ale
We went to The Cricketers’ Arms in Berwick Village in East Sussex recently while on a trip to nearby Charleston House and Gardens, the beautiful retreat for the Bloomsbury Group. The Cricketers’ Arms is a traditional flint walled country pub that serves a number of Harveys real ales. It was first established as an ale house in the 17th century. The pub is set in a lovely cottage garden and is situated at the bottom of the South Downs. The setting is idyllic and peaceful. It was a warm and sunny early summer day so we sat in the garden. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Type of food: Pie and mash
I have a small collection of late 80s and early 90s vinyl records (LPs, 7 and 12 inch singles and picture discs – does anyone remember these?!) and I still have a trusty NAD turntable – both records and turntable are ‘in storage’ at my mum’s. I preferred records, while my friends bought cassettes. Back in the day, I would save up and buy records from Woolworths or HMV – both shops are no longer on my high street. How times have changed.
Southsea’s Pie and Vinyl opened in 2012, one of the few new independent records shops to have opened in recent times. However, this is not just a record shop, it is also a pie and mash shop – and probably the only pie and record cafe in the UK. However, I could be wrong. Continue reading
Cuisine: British / Mediterranean
I am very fond of English seaside towns. I love the remnants of a past age in holidays – piers, amusement arcades, bandstands, donkeys… I also find something rather sad about out of season seaside towns when the beaches are empty and some hotels and restaurants are closed. We stayed in Weymouth earlier this year while it was just out of season and before the arrival of crowds of holiday makers.
The curiously named Manbo’s Bistro is a family run restaurant near the harbour which serves a range of food, from sandwiches and jacket potatoes at lunch time, to seafood and pasta at dinner time. They are open throughout the year but the days do change depending on high or low season, so it is best to check before you go. We went on a cold evening when the town and most of the restaurants were pretty quiet. The decor is cosy and inviting, with wooden tables and low lighting. Continue reading
UPDATE 11th August 2016: Truffles has closed.
I remember going to Truffles a few years ago and was charmed by the food, the ambience and cosy decor. Truffles was a French restaurant that served escargot, mussel velouté and, as the third course of a four course set meal, a huge cheese board. The background music was (obviously) French chanson. I was very sad to see the restaurant close as it seemed to be doing well and it was a lovely treat. So, I was pleased to find out that while I was away on a long trip to Australia, Truffles had reopened as Truffles of Southsea! Continue reading