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“Locally sourced, excellent quality, seasonal food with hints of Michelin magic”
Review of The Pond Cafe

The Pond Cafe
Ranked #2 of 3 Restaurants in Bonchurch
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $36
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Relaunched under new culinary direction in February 2017, the Pond Cafe is situated in the beautiful village of Bonchurch, near Ventnor, on the sunny Isle of Wight. Offering carefully prepared modern British and European plates to order, Chef Andy uses local fresh ingredients wherever possible. With its outside terrace overlooking the picturesque duck pond it is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed meal. Reservations are recommended for lunch (Wednesday through Saturday) and especially for dinner (Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings). An expanding range of fine wines, quality beers and Island and international spirits is available.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
127 reviews
91 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Locally sourced, excellent quality, seasonal food with hints of Michelin magic”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

I have eaten twice at this exemplary restaurant, named after the picaresque Pond it overlooks, most recently as part of a pasta-making demonstration day with chef and owner, Robert Thompson. The food here is of a comparable standard to the chef’s Michelin starred restaurant up the road, but at a fraction of the price.

The food here is always seasonal and mostly locally sourced, including some unusual ingredients that are only available on the Isle of Wight. The menu is Italian-influenced and can include local mushrooms, garlic, foraged herbs, cheese, and even local vodka. On my last visit in early spring, we had grilled asparagus, prosciutto, and shaved parmesan salad with two different types of homemade bread. The next course was handmade cappelletti pasta stuffed with unusual local mushrooms and served in a pool of pureed wild asparagus that the chef had picked that morning. The main course was perfectly roasted lamb with grilled artichokes – have you ever tried to prepare one of these yourself? – and fresh tomato salsa. Dessert was fresh lemon tart with crème fraiche. With the house wine, the meal cost around £30 per person, and every bite was memorable.

Some of the reviews below complain about the portion size, but I find that once you’ve worked your way through all the courses, you have ended up with the perfect amount. On our workshop day, I warned my friends not to fill up on the delicious rosemary and garlic bread on offer with the starter as there was much more yet to come.

Also, seeing first hand the time and effort that goes into the preparation and presentation of each dish, I think the prices are well worth it.

The restaurant is intimately sized but is soon to be expanded.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank GeorgeHCS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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267 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    128
    64
    35
    31
    9
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“No table ...”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

We tried to have lunch without a reservation. When we arrived we asked whether there is a table available. We were advises that they were expecting several people with reservations soon. We asked whether it would make sense to have a walk and come back later. The waiter ensured that they would have a table available in 30 min and that we should come back then. Thus, we decided had a little walk. When we came back we were asked to wait for the table for another 45 min, what we rejected. Obviously you can't expect a table without reservation, however we were guaranteed a table in half an hour and only stayed in town for that. What a waste of time ...

Helpful?
Thank Michelin2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caterham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A great Sunday dinner”
Reviewed March 19, 2013

My wife and I were on a long weekend break on the Isle of Wight, and happened on this restaurant via a referral. What a stroke of luck! We had a wonderful meal, and the solo waitress looked after the guests superbly well. I had the mackerel to start with, and then the crab risotto as a main course with a mixed salad. The risotto was just gorgeous, and the salad with it was especially tasty. My wife had thinly sliced haddock to start with, and then the sea bream - really great tasting, and well-presented. More than enough to eat, and delicious too. Definitely a restaurant we would visit again.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Geoff W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rugby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
154 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“2nd visit”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

I went with a friend, last year with my husband. The food this time was not as good. The risotto was fab as a starter, it was local crab-very yummy. My friend had mackerel and was very unhappy with the portion size. The main meal we both chose was lamb, which was quite tough.
The waitress was wonderful, helpful, great service, but overall it wasn't as memorable.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank berni a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth
Level Contributor
261 reviews
179 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Excellent food at reasonable prices”
Reviewed March 3, 2013

My wife and I ate here on a Saturday night for our wedding anniversary. I couldn't choose between two of the main courses so I had a smaller portion of each! All the food that my wife and I had was wonderful and the price was very reasonable for the excellent quality on offer.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank JohnnyGPortsmouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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