Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Burr’s, Newport Burr’s, Newport
The other day Cat was tidying her wardrobe. At the front were a pair of holographic leggings, a pair of impractical skyscraper platforms and... Burr’s, Newport

The other day Cat was tidying her wardrobe. At the front were a pair of holographic leggings, a pair of impractical skyscraper platforms and a silver biker jacket.

Stuffed at the back was an old stripy jumper. This sweater, historic enough to be referred to as vintage, is Cat’s old faithful. Everyone has one: it could be a really comfy pair of trainers, slouchy ancient denims or, as seen in popular fiction, Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Golden Boy’ tee.

As avant-garde as Cat’s iridescent plimsolls may be, sometimes it’s too easy to have your head turned by the latest Shiny New Thing. Every now and then it’s worth taking time to rediscover old favourites.

And so it was that Matt and Cat took a step away from St Thomas Square and sauntered down one of Newport’s characterful side streets. Although the area around the Minster is fast becoming Newport’s go-to food district, other streets are available, folks – and other eateries in those streets.

Matt and Cat’s destination was Burr’s. As they made a bee-line for one of the oldest family-owned restaurants on the Island, they speculated on whether the cosy restaurant’s extremely reasonable lunch special menu was still a thing. And, guess what, fans of good fortune? It was!

One of Matt and Cat’s favourite approaches to Newport is not channelled down the steep terrace of Hunnyhill, nor via the monstrous industrial landscape of St Georges Way to the east. No, M&C like to their first glimpse of the county town to be from the flyover. With the elevated vantage point one can see nothing but higgledy-piggledy red-tiled buildings, a couple of church spires and the funny twisted roof of the Quay Arts Centre. It’s a picturesque reminder of how historic Newport is and, despite the best efforts of developers, it retains quaint thoroughfares, old pubs and even the occasional leaded window.

One of these historic buildings is home to Burrs. Back in the day, it was the Bugle Tap, one of Newport’s many pubs. It probably has many tales to tell and, since 1997 at least, those stories will be of decent home-cooked food made from local ingredients.

Burr’s has an air of intimacy. It’s the sort of venue that would be perfect for a romantic date; all white linen, flowers and candles. However, you don’t have to be all loved-up to enjoy dinner there. In 2011 Cat had her works Christmas party at the restaurant which, although the wine was flowing, didn’t seem ignite any colleague-based amour!

The day that Matt and Cat visited was Cat’s choice – Matt offered to buy her lunch as penance for a minor oversight and he was happy to accept his ‘punishment’. As they munched on their complementary fluffy focaccia and garlicky olives, Cat quickly forgave Matt. Her deep-fried Brie, with salad and redcurrant sauce, was as soft as her resolve; the crust was firm but not explosively crunchy and the cheese casually oozed out, like milk-based magma.

Matt began with a chicken liver pate with green peppercorns, complemented by a robust port and orange jelly. The zing of the peppercorns and the tang of the orange were a great combination – this was the comfortingly classical taste of really good cooking.

Continuing with the vegetarian theme, Cat’s chose goats cheese tart and salad for her main course. The tart was quite simple; a short-pastry shell enclosed an intense basil and tomatoey lagoon surmounted by a disc of lightly-baked goats cheese. It was surprisingly hearty for such an uncomplicated dish. Recently Cat received representation from a vegetarian friend who decried the lack of variety in meat-free dishes. Apparently goats cheese is over-used, but that doesn’t stop it being nice if you have a taste for it. When Cat was a vegetarian back in the dark ages, she mostly had the choice of plain, cheese or mushroom omelette and chips. Or fish. Vegetarians eat fish don’t they?

Matt and Cat’s bill
Two course lunch (Wednesdays and Thursdays only)
2 @ £10.99 = £21.98

Talking of which, Matt’s fish and chips looked lovely; frosted with twinkles of sea salt. Piping hot, it was clearly freshly cooked. A little pot of home-made sauce tartare, some peas, and a lemon wedge – nothing more was needed to make an ideal light lunch.

A meal at Burr’s deserves more time to appreciate than Matt and Cat could give theirs – being on their lunch breaks and all. However, the cheerful and quick service meant that if they wanted to spoil themselves in less than an hour they could. Pretty much everyone that Matt and Cat spoke to later the same day all said, “Oh, I love Burr’s, but I haven’t been for ages.” You can guess what advice they got. Matt and Cat can’t say the same, as they’ve now enjoyed the excellent lunchtime menu twice this season. And with this reliably good home-cooked and locally-sourced food, it won’t be long before the next time, either.

  • Paul Sargent says:

    I have never had a 3 course meal where every course I enjoyed so much part of me died when it ended. The food is out of this world with great friendly staff.

    After eating here I never want to eat anywhere else again when on the IOW.

    You will not be disappointed.

  • becca says:

    had a great lunch here today actually had 2 starters i had smoked mackerel croquettes with saffron mayonaise followed by chargrilled scallops with crispy bacon all fab

  • Nick says:

    Had a great lunch here yesterday with my wife we had a bembridge crab and spinach brûlée and some French onion soup with a big cheesy crouton both superb finished off with a nice cup of coffee they are only open on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s at the moment we will be back

  • Rebecca says:

    We had a superb meal at burrs last night(valentines) a 7 course supper with the best beef Wellington I’ve ever had. A box of chocolate hearts for all the ladies. Superb service and very busy thanks to all the staff who made our night.

  • Wendy V says:

    Rather than have pancakes last night, we went to Burrs in Newport. Another faultless meal with great service. To start Ian had deep fried smoked salmon shards on rocket salad, with horseradish sauce, while I predictably went for the Bembridge crab and spinach brulée with herb crust topping. Every time I visit, I mean to try a different starter, but find the yumminess of this dish irresistible.
    Mains were fillet steak for Ian, which he found excellent, and for me grilled whole trout with flaked almonds and black cherries. Both came with perfectly cooked veg (carrots, broccoli, crunchy roast potatoes, and red cabbage which I think had been cooked in orange – lovely, intense flavour).
    Somehow we found room for a gorgeous whiskey and marmalade bread pudding served with vanilla ice-cream (for Ian, though I had to sample a spoonful, obviously), and lemon creme brulée for me, the sugar nicely tappable on top; the underneath a lovely combo of creaminess and tanginess. Both were beautifully presented.
    The house white – a reasonably-priced Chardonnay – was also excellent.
    It must be a pain for Burrs to have their section of Lugley Street closed for roadworks just now (early March ’11), but they are open and the food is as good as ever. Highly recommend it.

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