Little Gems






Recipes and tips

A  seven day eating holiday on the Isle of Wight

2013/14 reviews

2012/13 reviews

2015-16 reviews

2016/17 reviews

2017-18 reviews

2018-19 reviews


PC  proprietor/chef

HR  Highly recommended


Links:- and Hewitt's Restaurant



The Red Lion - Freshwater (HR)

Top 5 2017/18

TOP 5 2016/17

It returns after a couple of years in the doldrums as a new chef enlivens this eatery. The funky, misspelled menu has gone. The interior however remains the same. The one major change is that it wants to be a restaurant and not a pub. But it canít make up its mind whether to offer table service or bar ordering service. I think the eatery prefers the former but the staff are not fully trained to be constantly on the alert.

So, the food. My bet noir regarding risotto was assuaged. I had the tomato and chorizo (fusion?) it was perfectly cooked, rice firm and overall a loose, creamy, texture with an abundance of flavour. Risotto can be boring so flavour has to be nothing less than moreish.

On a later visit I thoroughly enjoyed the pan fried seabass with a giant crab cake and a wonderful tomato, caper and tarragon sauce. The reputation of an eatery can be destroyed in one fell swoop on a head chefís day off if the second chef is not properly trained. Head chef Dan Mitchel need not worry his second in command did him justice. I am looking forward to a return visit.

Over heard in an Island Pub

"I'm sorry we haven't got Chardonnay, the nearest we have to that is a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc"!!!

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Seaview Hotel  Pub  - Seaview (HR)

I prefer to eat in the Hotelís pub, it has more atmosphere. Although the restaurant has lost its blue and is more welcoming.  began with goats cheese salad with beetroot. I have already mentioned it in the Seaview restaurant review but to repeat myself the venison cottage pie was fab-u-lous.

A more recent visit in 2019 was certainly up to scratch. We sat outside on the street side patio watching the walkers go by. The brawn declared the sausage and mash the best he'd had in a long time. Rich gravy, creamy mash, tasty, meaty sausages. I went for the soup ha==and sandwich which was rather nice. The sandwich filling was nice but rather scant. compared to the hunks of bread.

Where is it? Seaview  on the sea front

Boat House - Puckpool

Lunch on the patio looking at the mainland can be a pleasant experience. I can't help but feel how lucky I am to be here and not over there. That stretch of water makes all the difference and makes me feel rich.

My mushroom tart was basically a pastry case filled with a sautŤ of mixed mushrooms. I can always think of ways to improve a dish but it was nice enough. The Brawn had the small sausage and mash which actually came with 2 plump sausages of distinction, mash potato that was smooth and a gravy that could have been improved with some natural stock and nicely browned onions, but enjoyable for what it was.

Returned a few weeks later and had what they claimed was game pie with home made pastry. What refreshing change to have nice crisp pastry with gravy on the side. It was most enjoyable. Normally a pie is smothered with gravy with the intention of hiding it inadequacies.



Bonchurch Inn - Bonchurch (R) PC

TOP 5 2016/17

TOP 5 2015/16

Joint "Best Pudding of the Year" Award 2014

"Best Pud" Award 2012 now classed a "Little Gem"

What I like about the Bonchurch Inn is that they have a concept and stick to it. They are not influenced by trends and the latest fashion food. They do what they do (Italian inspired cooking) and they do it well. The menu is small, pasta (gluten free available), stone baked pizza ad specials board.

It has changed little over the years. Dark inside with scrubbed floors like a back street Italian bistro. This is its charm. There is a walled courtyard which is the cool an a great place to be on a baking summerís day. In winter you will find locals huddled around the fire, kegs of beer and ladle loads of nostalgia. It is an Inn for grownups prepared to accept what is on offer.

I had the meatballs with pasta and they were so robustly good I returned a couple of weeks later in the hope they were still on the menu. I was in luck. My last visit was for crab and prawn risotto. The staff apologised for the delay as it was cooked to order. This explains why it was so good in texture and flavour. Of course I finished with their wonderful Tiramisu which is ten times better than the version sold at Jamieís in Portsmouth.

There are rules. If you sit in the bar area you will be asked to move, this area is reserved for their regular locals of which there are many and they like to show their appreciation. The kitchen is across the courtyard so if you go when it is raining your meal might arrive wet. You have got to like quirky.

It a hidden gem. Parking is limited and it is tiny inside. More seating outside in the Summer.  But as they say small is beautiful.

Where is it? - From Ventnor to Shanklin turn right towards Bonchurch pond. Drive slowly or you will miss it. it is on the right half way down the hill. If you get to the church you have gone to far.


Why do some eateries refuse to take credit/debit cards if a customer spends less than £5 in some cases £10. It's is a kind of punishment for not spending enough. In some cases they even make a profit on this customer by making a surcharge of £1.00. When all cards are based on around 0.58 - 1.5 %  interest The charge say on a cup of coffee of £2.25 of a pound is a bit steep. I very rarely have cash on me so often where I eat lunch is dependent upon who will fine me for not spending enough. With an increasing number of solo diners it's about time these places reassessed their customer service policy.

NB. I have frequently walked out of a place after ordering soup and being told that instead of £4.25 it will cost me £5.25 if I pay by card

Padmore Lodge, Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO32 6LP