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.