Schpoons and Forx Restaurant Bournemouth Hilton
In the heart of the Hilton hotel in Bournemouth is the hotel's signature restaurant Schpoons and Forx, Head Chef Matt Budden recently developed a new menu and I was invited along to sample some of the dishes together with some of the Bournemouth Bloggers.
We met in the bar area just by the entrance to the restaurant and where offered a section of cocktails, Emma's cocktail was definitely the prettiest.
When the evening starts like this you know it's going to be a fun evening.
Matt Budden has over a decade of experience and is well known in the area for sourcing fresh local ingredients and works hard to create a seasonally driven menu.
Schpoons and Forx has an open kitchen and the tandoor provides some theatre whilst you eat we had a table of six in prime position to watch the chefs in action.
I have eaten in the restaurant several times before so knew we were in for a treat, the advantage of having the opportunity to sample a variety of dishes is you get to taste something you would not normally order. If you are in a group I would definitely recommend ordering a selection of starters rather than one each otherwise you could end up with menu envy.
The pulled lamb shoulder in this starter was so lovely and tender served on a soft beetroot taco and topped with mint, miso & pickled onions.
New Forest wild mushroom risotto was another of the starter options and although I didn't try because I'm not a lover of mushrooms the rest of the group said it was really creamy and delicious. I noticed that this dish can be ordered as a main course although it seems to have truffle as well as truffle oil in the full size portion.
The flame roasted Chesil mackerel was another of my favourite starters served with a garlic and chilli dressing and a definite hint of lemon, the bread was really useful to mop up some of that delicious dressing.
It is great to see more vegetarian options on the menu and although we had vegetarians in our group they were not the only ones that tucked into the halloumi & roasted carrot hummus flatbread sometimes I think it can be a little bland but the Harrisa gave it just the right amount of spice and reminiscent of middle eastern food.
The Bubble and Squash main course was a triumph, everyone at the table loved it, not something I would of ordered if I had seen it on the menu but with such a mixture of flavours and textures I could happily forgo a main with meat on future visits.
Keeping it local with the South Coast Lemon Sole served with a caper, lemon & seaweed butter, delicious but tricky to share in a group, you might not want to order this is you don't like the bones in your fish.
The Creedy Carver Duck Breast & Leg was slow cooked, really tender and a generous portion, plated with fondant potato, beetroot and juniper enjoyed by all the meat eaters.
I intend to take my husband next weekend to sample the Ribeye steak for himself, simply because it was the best steak I've had in a restaurant for long time, he is a huge steak fan and didn't appreciate me telling him how good it was. Served with locally grown watercress, roasted bone marrow, skinny fries & aioli, Molly and I were reluctant to pass it around the table.
For those with a sweet tooth and a some room in their belly you can choose a full size dessert or a mini taster of a selection of desserts, we were given three to sample but I wasn't quick enough to photograph all three.
Bring on the Bounty - this dessert took me right back to Christmas Days of searching for the blue wrapper in the Quality Street. Yum for me but it seems coconut is a bit like Marmite - you either love it or hate it.
Honeycomb and Cookies consisted of exactly that, a cookie ice-cream sandwich with a sprinkling of honeycomb and some white candy floss for good measure.
The Pistachio and Cherry Olive Oil cake went so quickly I didn't have a chance to photograph it but i really enjoyed it was something unusual and would choose it as my dessert next time.
If you fancy something savoury there is a lovely selection of British cheeses
Tunworth - camembert style, pasteurised milk, soft white rind
Dorset Blue Vinney - skimmed cow's milk blue cheese
Westcombe Cheddar - hard cheddar style, unpasteurised cow's milk
Ticklemore - hard goats cheese, mellow flavour
Huge thanks to Executive Chef - Matt Budden, Sou Chef - James and all the team at Schpoons and Forx for looking after us so well during the evening, we had a fantastic time.
All food and drinks was complimentary, however, all opinions and photography in this post are my own.