We visited the charming Devon seaside town of Sidmouth recently on a cool day in May. It was still outside the main holiday season and the beach was desolate, although there were some young surfers braving the cold. We had a small wander and then decided on lunch, fancying something hot rather than a sandwich. We chose The Loft Restaurant on Old Fore Street. The menu changes regularly and is described as Mediterranean. The ingredients are locally sourced – dishes included a nice selection of sharing boards, salads, pizza, Italian flatbreads and a tapas menu on Friday evenings. They also serve breakfast and homemade scones. Those on gluten free diets were well catered for with all of the pizzas, most of the pasta dishes and scones available as gluten free. Continue reading
It was a rainy and windy August Bank Holiday Monday – by rain, I meant torrential rain and it poured virtually non stop all day. We had spent the day in Shanklin braving the elements – we did come across a few other hardy souls too who ventured into the same pubs and cafés as us. Didn’t want a spot of rain to ruin our Bank Holiday! Shanklin Chine was closed for the whole day on what could have been one of the busiest days of the year.
That evening, we didn’t want to venture too far from the hotel for dinner in case it started to rain again. The town was pretty quiet and we stumbled across Jasmine, a curry house in Regent Street. After such a cold and wet day, a warming curry was just what we needed. The weather did seem to play a part on the number of diners eating in – there were a few tables but they seemed to be doing a roaring takeaway trade. 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
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