Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
The Bargeman’s Rest is a nautical-themed pub in an unusual inland waterside location. It’s easy to see but fiddly to drive to (you will...
Chili burger

The Bargeman’s Rest is a nautical-themed pub in an unusual inland waterside location. It’s easy to see but fiddly to drive to (you will undoubtedly get lost in the one-way system of the nearby industrial estate); why not take a pleasant stroll to it along the quayside instead?

The pub is very accommodating and has a large family room and a splendid terrace, ideal for observing passing boats on a sunny day. The spacious pub still seems quite intimate, with sails and ropes draped about and plenty of nauticania to knock your head on. In the summer Matt and Cat like to sit in the garden and enjoy their meals by the quayside – although at low tide this is more of a mudside view. On Tuesdays, one can be enthralled by the spectacle of thousands of geriatric holidaymakers clambering gamely in and out of coaches and rummaging through the souvenir tea towels on sale at the quayside opposite. With the accompaniment of a good pint of ale in the comfort of the Bargeman’s beer garden this is an attraction which could almost become a compulsive spectator sport. If the daytime parade of oldsters doesn’t interest you, most evenings there is live music and the place can get pretty lively.

A recent chicken Caesar salad

Matt & Cat often eat at the Bargeman’s; for today’s review they had arranged to meet some old friends there for lunch. After bagging one of the many tables, Matt and Cat started their visit at the bar where a good selection of real ales indicate that this really is a pub as well as an eating-house. The welcome was businesslike. Once the whole party had assembled the menu was considered. It bore the usual pub favourites including a range of snacks and light meals. When you have tired of the menu’s vast selection, there is always plenty to choose from on the specials board. Matt chose his favourite chilli burger, whilst Cat more demurely selected a light meal of goat’s cheese tartlet with onion marmalade.

The meal came quickly and looked great. The Bargeman’s always presents its food well, on large well stocked plates (which leave no room for any doubt that this is going to be a good feed). Matt’s burger came with piles of chips, heaps of very fresh salad, and a big helping of home-made chilli con carne with chilli relish and soured cream. A real feast, which Matt wasted no time in attacking. Cat’s tartlet was an enjoyable combination of flavours which she found very acceptable. There was a generous helping of goat’s cheese although the foliage was a bit meagre. Nonetheless, it was very tasty. The soup of the day was a vast tureen-full, served with two mighty hunks of bread and the salad nicoise was, again, a very generous portion.

This big pub can cater for many diners, but is still quite definitely a pub. It manages to retain a lot of atmosphere and keep the prices low and the quality high. For these reasons Matt and Cat commend it as one of the best places in Newport for a good meal and a drink.

The Bargemans Rest, Newport Quay

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  • Woolfy

    20th August 2011 #1 Author

    Thought we would try the Bargeman’s Friday Lunchtime. Staff were quite friendly, but a few more smiles would not have gone amiss. Outside tables could have done with a good clean. I ordered a Crab Sandwich & my Wife had Cheese. Unfortunately the same knife to cut the Cheese Sandwich had I can only guess previously cut my Crab Sandwich as there were Crab bits on the edges. My Wife has a serious Fish Allergy & luckily she spotted the Crab in time. But most was left for the dustbin. Totally spoiled our lunch time. With a Local Beer at £3.60 a pint… Ouch… We will not be venturing back there in the near future.

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  • b bell bev.

    4th December 2010 #2 Author

    went to the bargmans tonight for a second chance after vowing never to return thought maybe the chef was just having a bad day last time. major mistake food still remains appaling .cheap produce cooked bad .never going back.

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  • Jill

    30th July 2010 #3 Author

    Sorry Bargeman’s it has to be said. The meals we had there last night were even more dreadful than the meals we had there the night before! For two evenings in a row this week we have attended events at Quay Arts and, having enjoyed a meal at the Bargeman’s in the past, decided to take the opportunity to try it again. On the first night I and another member of our family chose the deep fried camembert from the board menu. We were each presented with two way overcooked tiny tiny discs of cheese with a couli (not sure about my spelling there) and a small handful of leaves and two large chunks of bread. I get the impression that the large chunks of bread were to distract from the disappointingly miniscule portions of dried up and shrivelled camembert. My partner had fish and chips. The fish was also over cooked and tasteless. Not to be deterred and knowing that anyone can have an off night we decided to give it a second chance the following evening. Wish we hadn’t. I know it is silly but I suffered that English thing of “not wanting to make a fuss” last night and instead of commenting to the staff or manager there I simply left my food uneaten. I have to say it was one of the worst meals I have ever had. I chose from the vegetarian section of the menu mushroom and stilton tart. To be fair it may have said ‘creamy’ mushroom but nevertheless I was not expecting a plate of food that was swamped in what resembled a can of condensed mushroom soup. No sign of any stilton and even if it was included it would have been drowned. The pastry had, of course, become a soggy mess. The new potatoes were overcooked, tasteless and turning to mash in the ‘soup’. It saddens me to say that it really was one of the worst meals I have ever had. My partner had a cheddar and brie ploughmans and, once again, huge chunks of bread to distract from the extremely mean portions of cheese.
    The only thing I can say in its favour is that the staff were pleasant and the crab sandwich ordered by V. was alright.
    As I said, we have in the past enjoyed meals there but what on earth has happened? We won’t be going there again and certainly couldn’t recommend it to anyone.
    I hope someone from The Bargeman’s reads this and responds but I think it unlikely.

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  • Geoff&Sarah

    23rd April 2010 #4 Author

    Saw The Bargeman’s Rest mentioned in and Island good food guide, so we made our way there on the last lunchtime of our holiday.
    All I can say is that the place must have last been reviewed a while ago as it was a huge disappointment.
    I had the steak, which I asked for cooked rare. It came with all the usual trimmings (chips, tomatoes, onion rings etc.)The chips were of the ex-frozen variety and underdone. The toms were also undercooked as they were slightly browned on the cut side, but raw elsewhere. Either cook it, or don’t, but don’t leave the poor thing half way.
    Worst of all was the steak. The meat was supposed to be rare, butI like a bit of colour on the outside with pink on the inside. This had neither and was uniformly grey, giving the impression that it had seen the microwave.
    My wife had the chilli-burger. Expecting a thick, home made burger she actually received a thin, supermarket four-for-a-pound style effort.
    The kids had a chicken burger (of which Maccy D’s would have been ashamed) and the scampi. Distinctly average both.
    All in all, we felt let down, both by the place and the good food guide as we had built ourselves up to expect far better than we got.
    Unless they improve hugely, we won’t be back

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  • Nick Churchill

    14th April 2010 #5 Author

    If you actually read the review properly you will see that older people in question are not frequenting the pub but actually day trippers (?) purchasing items from the ‘quay opposite’ and is a light hearted descriptive observation given as a juxtoposition to the alternate view of the muddy slipway at low tide (all of this was written 4 years ago so I must assume that they have bought their tea towels and other items and got back on the coach by now).

    Perhaps Helen’s comment of 4 years ago was not helpful but perhaps actually ‘reading before leaping into print’ with a criticism would be more constructive?

    I enjoy M&C’s reviews because as well as being very informative they are written with humour and dare I suggest that M&C may be, like me, members of the Saga generation (apologies if you are not) and so have every right to comment about their peers!

    Perhaps an updated review is due as well?

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for your comment, Nick. Now then, what did I come into the kitchen for..?

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  • Paul O’Rourke

    14th April 2010 #6 Author

    It is very often older people who keep these restaurants going. Furthermore, they are probably most likely to be reading websites such as this, as they are likely to be more discerning where good food is concerned. Comments about the amount of elderly frequenting a restaurant really has no place in a review.

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  • David D. Ballard

    13th April 2010 #7 Author

    Family-friendly pub food. It is what it is.

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  • Anon

    4th March 2010 #8 Author

    Had my 18th Birthday here, was a wonderful evening! We often eat here, and have found most meals to be to our liking. My favourite is the veggie sausage and mash… On occasion the steak is overdone/poor quality, but you get what you pay for, meals are cheap, staff are friendly and portions are huge! Great place for drinks as well, we had our college leaving ‘do here. Overall 9/10 I think ^_^

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  • Dave

    24th December 2009 #9 Author

    We stopped here because the place we wanted to go was shut. We ordered the roast pork special and the TexMex burger. The pork was deeply unpleasant and the mashed potatoes tasted “odd”. My burger was unlike any that I’ve ever tasted. It had a spongy quality and it didn’t really taste of beef. The chilli was a pale imitation of the real thing, with just a hint of spice. After five minutes, we left. This is food that is unloved, made from the cheapest ingredients with the minimum amount of effort.

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  • Jasmine

    6th January 2009 #10 Author

    I was invited to the bargemans with my boyfriend for his christmas works meal, the service was ok but from the begining i felt rushed to finish my course so they could throw out the next.The waitress’s spoke to no one the whole time which i felt was rude, espechially as there was around 25 of us, therefore alot of money was coming from us all. The food was ok, nothing special but despite all we were having a good time….. until we were asked to drink up that is. Instead of being politely asked to finish our drinks as the bar was closing an extremely rude barman shouted out that if we didnt finish our drinks in TWO minutes we would lose them all! As this was the first time we had any idea they were closing we were all shocked at how abrupt he was,also how he didnt use the same manner with the locals. One of us explained to another member of staff that we thought there was no need for his rudeness but the girl simply replied that they wanted to close ( but there was still around 30 locals still ordering and drinking in the bar!) It was another five minutes until the barman came into the room again, he was no older than 23 and explained that we had to get out! none of us could believe what he was saying, naturally we were all angry and a few were getting very annoyed with him, then he threatened one of us to go outside where he would sort things out that way! Then the girl reappeared to pull him away so we left. We were all disgusted with the manner in which we were treated. To make it all better as we were walking to our cars they both continued to shout abuse at us out of the windows! I wont repeat the words they were using but im sure you get the idea. I will never return to the bargemans rest in the future and will make sure others know how badly we were treated that night. None of us provoked the behaviour we were treated to, and i suggest if you want a business to run well dont let the staff pick fights with the customers for no reason! If any managers read this who work there our meal was on the 23rd December 08, hope that helps to pick out who those staff were so they can be dealt with accordingly.

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  • Mike

    22nd December 2008 #11 Author

    Am I the only one who finds Helen’s comment about elderly people offensive? You will be old one day and I hope you get treated with more respect.

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  • Rainbow

    28th June 2008 #12 Author

    Seems I’m not only one who likes their bread! The Bargemans is a good Newport staple. I’ve been there many times over many years and am always satisfied with the food plus the atmosphere is great- check out the live music, listings in the IWCP. By the way, the carpark next to Little London is large and free in the evening and a much better place to park than where the brown tourist signs direct you. I’ve never understood why they send on you on such a convoluted route!

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  • Sean

    13th June 2008 #13 Author

    I’ve been to this pub a few times and my most recent visit lived up to the high standards set so far.

    Good, friendly, fast service. Excellent food and great bread!

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  • Les Tergit

    27th May 2008 #14 Author

    First time to the Bargeman’s. I had a Ham Salad which was simply superb. Proper ham and a very varied salad accompanied by the best wholemeal bread I have tasted since Malta.

    Will have to go back.

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  • Matt

    15th October 2006 #15 Author

    Glad you liked our review – but it’s not just about what we think. Do let us know how you get on, won’t you?

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  • Helen

    15th October 2006 #16 Author

    thankyou very much for your informative write up. i will be visiting the pub on this coming tuesday (night) and hope at that time of day I would have missed the geriatrics and will enjoy a great evening with my man !

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