the pond café, isle of wight

last weekend david and i enjoyed a lovely lunch at the pond café in bonchurch (just outside ventnor, isle of wight). this bright modern restaurant was a random choice – we were hungry and it was the nearest place to where we were staying.

from the outside, and based on the name, i was expecting to have a sandwich lunch but as i opened the door i realised that the battered tables and metal chairs on the small patio were not representative, and that this was more of a restaurant than a café. having said that, the lunch menu is excellent value - £14.95 for two courses and £19.95 for three courses.

i started with a salad of parma ham with caper berries and pesto dressing. i really liked the mix of salad leaves which were used - they were a great combination of peppery (the obligatory rocket) and herby (a mix of differently coloured spiky leaves) flavours and contrasted well with the rich pesto dressing. david’s roasted red peppers and tomato salad with mozzarella tasted wonderfully fresh and summery (we were blessed with warm sunny weather, which it suited perfectly).

my main course had more capers in it – roasted skate wing with leek mash and a caper butter sauce. the fish was beautifully cooked and full of flavour. the dish also worked really well as a whole. the abundance of butter (in the mash and the sauce) meant it wasn’t particularly healthy though. similarly indulgent was david’s confit duck leg with crushed new potatoes (a wonderful hint of fresh tarragon really lifted these) and a mushroom and pancetta sauce.

if we’d had more time i am sure we would have looked at the pudding menu - the group on the table next to us all ordered the cappuccino crème brulee which had apparently been a big hit on their previous visit. however, we had a wedding to get to. many congratulations to my brother Karl and his beautiful bride Lara. and thanks for giving us the opportunity to discover the pond café.

the pond café

bonchurch village road, bonchurch, isle of wight po38 1rg

telephone: 01983 855666

opening times: lunch – thursday to monday 12:00 to 14:30; dinner – wednesday to monday 19:00 to 21:30; closed tuesday