Set on a cobbled street just a stone's throw from the historic Poole Quayside is Hotel Du Vin, an imposing Georgian building and the location of last Friday's dinner date and restaurant review.
The hotel one of nineteen in the Hotel Du Vin Group has 38 bedrooms and two beautiful rooms suitable for meetings and events, aptly named Port and Starboard.
On first entering the building, originally built in 1771 as the 'Mansion House' I was struck by the beautiful stone staircase, drawing your eye to the elaborate 'Gary Myatt' mural of 'Drunken Sailors' that dominates the landing.
I would of liked to of spent more time looking around but on the night of our booking the weather had taken a turn for the worst and we got quite wet running from the car park, we were keen to get in the warmth of the restaurant.
Walk down a couple of stairs, past the snug and on into the bistro, a well stocked bar and comfy chairs greets you, an intriguing looking wine tasting room to the left - glass doors leading outside to the patio area.
I have seen photos of the garden space with its sail like canopies and wished we could of sipped cocktails outside, (next time). Staff quickly noticed our arrival and welcomed us to the bistro.
To be honest this particular day could of been Friday 13th if I was superstitious, I'd been to the hairdressers spent what I consider to be a lot of money on a haircut only to spend ten minutes in the pouring rain after someone decided to drive into the side of my car. Blow dry ruined! And again on the way to the restaurant.
So the offer of a drink whilst we looked at the menu was only to welcome, I was pleased to hear that they stock Conker Gin, a local brand and one of my favourites. In fact ,we later learnt that Rupert the founder of Conker Spirit was doing a talk at the hotel that evening. If only I had known! Keep an eye on their Events page.
We had been invited to try the very reasonable Prix Fixe Menu, the photos are a little dark as it was such a dismal evening but hopefully give a good insight into the food we were served.
PRIX FIXE MENU
2 COURSES £19.95 / 3 COURSES £24.95
LEE COOTE STARTERS
SHELLFISH & HAZE CIDER CHOWDER Garlic and parsley sourdough croute
DORSET SMOKED RED CHEDDAR ARANCINI BALLS Basil mayonnaise, Isle of Wight tomato
MELON, FENNEL & CAPREOLUS AIR-DRIED PORK SALAD
These were are starter choices, a refreshing and generous portion of melon and pork salad and the taste of the sea by way of a shellfish chowder.
PALMERS IPA SLOW BRAISED LAMB BREAST Crushed potatoes, olive tapenade, anchovy, buttered green beans
WARM PROVENÇAL TART Rocket and Dorset Blue Vinny
SOUTH COAST PAN-FRIED GREY MULLET Isle of Wight tomato gallette and basil pesto
The choice for main for me was influenced by the weather the lamb seemed like the perfect choice on such a damp day, it was lovely and tender, teamed with fresh green beans and crushed new potatoes, a lovely combination but personally I found the addition of the olive and anchovy a little overpowering.
Stone Bass caught on the South Coast served with Isle of Wight Tomatoes was the other main we chose, great to know the hotel uses local ingredients where possible.
WARM PORTLAND PUDDING Vanilla ice cream
1833 BARBER’S CHEDDAR Fig chutney, cheese biscuits
DORSET ORCHARDS CIDER & STRAWBERRY JELLY Mixed berry compote
I was impressed by the staff in the Bistro who were very attentive considering how busy the restaurant had become by the end of the meal, my request for sorbet instead of ice cream with my dessert was no problem. Desserts were full of summer flavours and the perfect way to round of the evening.
I am looking forward to going back to Hotel Du Vin Poole and sitting in that garden sipping cocktails and having a spot of lunch on a sunny day.
We were gifted our meal for the purpose of this post, however all opinions and images are my own.