Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Archive review: this review refers to the previous management of the Blacksmiths Arms. The pub reopened in 2017 under completely new ownership.  Note: After...

Archive review: this review refers to the previous management of the Blacksmiths Arms. The pub reopened in 2017 under completely new ownership. 

Note: After writing this review in 2010 Matt and Cat were banned from the Blacksmiths Arms in 2012, so it won’t be updated. See why at the end of the review.

Matt and Cat are often entertained by Isle of Wight residents who brag about the views from their homes. “We have the best view of the Solent,” Cat heard a colleague boast once, “We can see the racing at Cowes” – and presumably the belching smokestacks of Fawley oil refinery can be glimpsed beyond the gin palaces.

Blacksmith's burger

Much has been said on this website about restaurants with spectacular views; it is a general rule that the more breathtaking the vista, the less effort is made with the food. Whilst there are several honourable exceptions, you don’t have to look far to find some popular seaside eateries rightly confident that punters will come in their droves, shovelling in indifferent fodder distracted by a view of the sea.

However, not all venues with views are tainted. Some manage to provide decent food as well as something nice to look at. At Newport’s Blacksmith’s Arms, much is made of the panoramic view of Parkhurst, Newtown and beyond. So much so, in fact, that they have extended the pub with a glass-walled room offering extensive uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside and distant northern coast. When Matt and Cat last visited the Blacksmith’s Arms way back in 2006, it was a smaller property with underwhelming catering. Have the recent improvements extended to the cooking?

Chicken and Stilton

The day Matt and Cat visited was one of those fine autumn days with clear skies and crisp colours. The view across the valley to Parkhurst was delightful and they paused in the pub’s capacious car park to look beyond the decent-sized kids’ play area and behold the surrounding countryside. It was a great vista, and for once a view which was not mostly of the sea.

The pub can be entered from one of two approaches; through the front door into the vestiges of the original pub, with its low ceilings and stone floor. Or you could enter from the rear, through the patio, bypassing the cosy bar and emerging into the newer sections of the building. M and C chose the garden approach, taking care to shut the gate with its warning of dogs on the loose inside, and arriving in the conservatory where the pub reveals a different character from the homely front bar.

Two meat patties, unable to be constrained by the bun, hung outside like a pair of spaniel’s ears
Black Forest gateau

The restaurant area has been expanded with the addition of the vast north-facing conservatory. Matt and Cat, spotting a table by the window, took their seats and enjoyed the view. What they enjoyed less was the intermittent yipping of an attention-seeking spaniel and its owner’s feeble and ineffective attempts to keep its voice under control. The Blacksmith’s Arms welcomes dogs, and has a few of its own wandering around. This is great, as dog owners often feel excluded from all sorts of places when with their charges so it’s sensible that the Blacksmith’s makes its dog-friendly policy known. It’s not really fair of Matt and Cat to highlight this particular disruptive hound, as there’s little the pub could do about it, but each of its high-pitched cries, followed by the antiphon of the hapless dog owner did little to enhance the atmosphere.

Turning their attention to the menu, Matt and Cat noted that it was not as extensive as their first visit, which was an improvement. It looked like the pub was concentrating on a few good classic dishes like burgers, steaks, fish and a reasonable vegetarian selection – a commendable strategy. There were also lighter bites such as baked potatoes and a variety of salads and sarnies. Matt couldn’t resist checking out the specials board which had nearly a dozen extra dishes to choose from. While on his feet he went to the bar and, along with the drinks, he ordered ‘Blacksmith’s burger’ for himself and chicken breast in a creamy Stilton sauce for The Cat.

Matt and Cat’s bill
Blacksmiths Burger £8.95
Chicken Stilton £8.95
Black Forest Gateau £4.00
Drinks £3.90
Total £25.80

Polite staff laid out cutlery and napkins and, after a short while, the food. Cat’s chicken sat in a cheesy puddle and its accompanying vegetables were delivered in a side dish. The chicken, which had been roasted, was a tad on the dry side but it was moistened by the fantastic Stilton sauce. There was a good selection of vegetables: new potatoes, mange tout, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage, and more than enough for a single portion. Delving into the inner reaches of the chicken Cat found its interior to be softer and it was nice and hot throughout.

Matthew’s burger was a whopper. Two meat patties, unable to be constrained by the bun, hung outside like a pair of spaniel’s ears. A fried egg too, was escaping from its bready cover. Grated cheese, and a really thick, smoked rasher of lean bacon completed this very decent entry in the Island’s hotly-fought best burger stakes. Hot, fresh chips and a very good green salad got top marks from Matt.

Despite stuffing themselves with their first courses, M and C could not resist the lure of Black Forest gateau. This staple of the 1970s dinner table seems to be making a comeback. In fact, the winning cake at the Great Isle of Wight Bake-off was a BFG and it was a worthy winner. The gateau at the Blacksmith’s Arms was a standard one, and pleasant enough. It came with a boat of cream, allowing M&C to drench it as much as they liked. It was soon gobbled up.

Cat couldn’t resist a visit to the ladies which on their 2006 visit was described thusly, “The construction of the toilet is unfinished; the ceiling awaits completion after the installation of a velux window.” Like a box of motorcycle parts going rusty in a garage, the toilet is still an unfinished project. Although there is now a note apologising for the state of it.

So, on Matt and Cat’s first visit since 2006, what’s the verdict? The Blacksmith’s Arms is a pub worth visiting, especially if you’re a dog owner who likes a spectacular view. The conservatory is a great addition but it’s a shame that the owners have been unable to encourage their builder to apply the same vigour to the toilet. However, the food is certainly better than before with a decent menu, tempting specials and very good value.

Note: After writing this review in 2010 Matt and Cat were banned from the Blacksmiths Arms in 2012. The landlord wrote to explain as follows:

Yes you are [banned], back in 2006 when we where refurbishing you probably done our family run establishment alot of harm over a ladies velux window not being painted, I also hear from other businesses that think you are now making money from your loyalty scheme, we have an excellent reputation on the island and our buisness is booming having expanded year on year!

  • JamesP says:

    Are you still banned for something you said in 2006? I suppose I shall have to go and find out what’s it’s like for myself.. 🙂

  • Kensington says:

    Just came across this review and as I have never been to the establishment I am not going to comment specifically about it. But I think if both children and dogs are welcome in an outside area, then it should be the land lord’s responsibility to ensure that the outside area is adequately maintained for children to play safely. Otherwise perhaps children should not be allowed in the outside area if this is not possible to ensure. My own views about dogs in pubs is quite simple… if I am not eating, then I have no problem with well behaved dogs what so ever. But if I am eating, I would choose a venue where there is either a separate restaurant area where dogs aren’t allowed or I would choose a venue where dogs aren’t allowed full stop. This being the case, I think that this review (and ones like it) is helpful in determining the policy on dogs when choosing a venue to eat or take children.

  • Mark O'Sullivan says:

    Am a bit mystified by some of the comments on this page. My wife and I have been using the Blacksmiths Arms for a number of years and have never had a bad meal. The food has always been superb. At Xmas this year I had what was probably the best steak I have ever eaten in my life at the pub. The staff are always very friendly and attentive and it is always busy there – so that tells a story…!

  • Neil says:

    I’ve lived on the island for a few years now, and tend to know where to go to avoid the ‘grockle-tax’ that some establishments choose to charge during peak season. So when I was treated to a drink in the Blacksmith’s Arms by a mate after taking him for a spin through Brighstone Forest, I was a little in awe when he was charged over £10 for two pints and a plate of chips. OK, we were talking about boats (we previously worked together overseas at a sailing centre and friend was competing in Cowes Week), but I don’t think that qualifies us for paying over the odds.

    The beer was fine, the plate of chips certainly adequate (if not that generous) and the view was lovely, but even now I’m still a little in shock.

    Maybe I’m missing something obvious, or maybe I misheard the barman. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

    So sorry Blacksmith’s Arms, that stung. And unless you review your prices I’m afraid you’ve lost another island customer.

  • mazzaratti says:

    After a visit this lunchtime with my Mum and my 2 dogs I cannot praise the Blacksmiths highly enough. Excellent food and the staff were lovely,all of them.
    We shall be returning without a doubt, loved it.

  • Bushy says:

    Isn’t it time for Matt & Cat to act as moderators and apply the editorial blue pencil to some of these more illiterate rants? Otherwise people will be deterred from visiting the site and normal punters will be put off from making constructive comments.

    Matt and Cat respond: you should have seen the ones that didn’t make it, Bushy! But seriously, yes, we’re considering when to do that. The comments area is not supposed to be a discussion forum for exactly the reasons you mention. There are other websites on the Island providing that facility far more effectively than we ever could.

  • @ScrappySPJ says:

    I agree with PAUL MULLERY and @MintyMat and Kate and Looby and Sir Lunchalot and Rik Kershaw-Moore the only . Mauro and Simon only care about selling food, if you get only bad reviews, you are not part of the scheme, 90% is bogus owners comments. We have these problems for 3 years, Matt and Cat get ask several time to put out from this website but refuse to do so, Mauro and Simon they try to play god with your website. We have some information about the legal way to help you on this matter. I advise other websites who r in this situation to contact us.

  • Rik Kershaw-Moore says:

    I am guessing the legal recourse being suggested is along the lines of the recent Trip Advisor ruling…

    However certainly not going to visit either establishment as the owners are clearly a bit odd.

  • Margaret says:

    I am intrigued by many of the comments, I started to read them on one page and noted that the dates were all from 2011, I went to try and find more upto date comments and found the same stories exacly, dated 2012.

    We go to the Blacksmiths Arms quite often and have never had a bad meal, or unfriendly staff, as we live most of our time in the USA, we find this pub very refreshing when we visit the Island, but if we had read your comments first we may not have gone there in the first place, which would have been a mistake.

  • da yw wyth says:

    This place has always had a reputation for being unlucky due to its dark history. That certainly is borne out by this discussion….

  • Simon says:

    Yes i agree , I also will not be going to either establishment again, It is utterly boggling to me that a business would demand to be removed from this site , Either shape up or go out of business, The customer is always right , And Matt and Cat WERE customers , No one was paying them to go .

  • rambler says:

    I’m not anti-dog; I am anti-people who put dogs above humans.The proprietors of the Blacksmith’s Arms have made their position clear. They’d rather have dog owners than any other customers. So be it. As for bleating about negative comments- do something to change the tone of the comments rather than throwing your toys out of the pram!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    The perceived problem as Mauro sees it concerning reviews – positive or negative- applies to all public organisations. I worked in education and my college was subject to OFSTED and the “Rate a Teacher” site. most comments were positive but we did have the occasional negative comment.

    I would say to Mauro and the Blacksmith’s Arms, get used to it because it’s not going away.

  • Sir Lunchalot says:

    Is a fortune being made off these dining cards?

    Are M&C big fish in a small pond? Is Dragons Den calling for this multimillion idea?

    There’s a lot of meals and petrol to go to the different venues they write about? I suspect if they added in their time over the years they have dedicated to running this site, they would be rich in something…is enjoyment the right word…or sadomasochism?

    If they further worked out a rate of pay per hour spent running this site they would probably make a complaint themselves, jump out the window, or some department in the United Nations would simply shut them down for running like a sweatshop!

    As I have never eaten at a certain Italian in Shanklin I thought I would get a second opinion from Trip A, out of the 10 latest reviews, 8 were 3 or less out of 5 stars, with 6 of those being poor/terrible. Do not know if you can complain about Trip A, or what its advisors have against shanklin italians, as it seems they also have opinions as do contributors here?

    Trip A is a shark in a goldfish bowl. But nowhere near as classy, funny and appreciated as M&C! Keep up the good work Gods

  • Looby says:

    I too have been following this recent run of comments and find the comments from the owners most odd. I too would question any establishment that requests to have a review removed(especially a good one!). I would suggest that if you don’t like the review, and comments made from existing or prospective customers then challenge(as others have in the past)in a business like and professional manner.

    Matt and Cat are merely expressing their views on food and establishments. I do find them very useful, but it would have to be a very ‘poor’ review that would put me off trying somewhere for myself as we all have different tastes and requirements.

    I take exception to the suggestion that such a high number of the comments on here are bogus yes I use my nickname as do many of my friends but I can assure the person who made that rather naive and immature comment that I recognise a good many of those providing feedback and they are real people and therefore potentially paying customers.

    To be honest I would have thought given the current economic situation any business should be pleased to receive positive feedback which afterall is free publicity.

    I would suggest that the ‘owners’ may want to reflect on how childish this looks from a customer perspective.

    Keep up the good work Matt and Cat you entertain myself and lots of my friends and also give us ideas of where to try next ……

  • Kate says:

    I always really enjoy reading this website but have never felt compelled to comment until now. I thought that Mat and Cats review was quite positive and really do not understand all this bad feeling. One things for sure, I shall not be visiting the Blacksmith Arms or Mammia mias as I really do not like the attitude they have shown on here. Talk about putting off future customers! I suspect I am not alone in this either.

  • kj says:

    He doesn’t have proof…just not happy with people having opinions that are different to hiS

    This site is based upon opinion…primarily Matt and Cats, who have always been fair (sometimes too fair) the rest of the comments come from punters. I don’t like Mammia Mias, thats my choice and have never posted the reason why…some choose too. Others love Mamma Mias and choose to post so. To have the owners make rediculous claims does not bolster the standing of the establishment, just the opposite.

    Concentrate on acting on bad revues and revelling in good revues and maybe your business will thrive…..

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Sorry to be a bit picky Mauro. You say that you have proof about false comments but you do not say what the proof is. Then you say the bad reviewers have PROBABLY? never been in.
    Somewhat confused sir.

  • @MintyMat says:

    I’m stunned. I read your review as really positive. We took our book group there last year following your recommendation. I was impressed by the views and the food. Often thought about popping back in whilst cycling past. I won’t bother now.

  • mauro mamma mia owner says:

    its easy to just talk talk talk! the people working in the business is us and its easy to discriminate and slander. Most of the comments are false and have proof!
    most of the people putting bad reviews have probably never been in, at the end of the day let the honest people work and stop the false slander.

  • Downsviewduo says:

    I have found this recent run of comments fascinating; I would question any establishment that requests to have a review removed. If you don’t like the review, and subsequent comments, challenge it in a professional manner. Offer to disprove the detractors, and invite the unhappy customers back to show them that it was a ‘one-off’ etc.

    This is the Hospitality Trade people; the business is obviously there first and foremost to make money (this is understandable), but it should do it in a manner that gives the customer value for money and a positive experience.

    I have worked in the hospitality trade myself previously, for many years, and know first hand how demanding it can be, and I know how demoralising it can be. However I also know how corners can be cut, and trade can be taken for granted.

    To suggest that such a high number of the reviews on here are bogus is simply ridiculous; it is naive and also arrogant in my opnion.

    Bottom line is this; any business should be pleased to receive free positive publicity. That is why I am sure many of the Islands establishments have benefited from this sites content, likewise I’m sure other places (probably deservedly) have seen a fall in trade due to poor publicity.

    I for one would never spend my money at an establishment that asked to have a review removed from this site; it simply tells me they have something to hide, and have no willingness to challenge or improve.

  • da yw wyth says:

    An odd double standard here! If children are expected not to relieve themselves indiscriminately around the place in a child-friendly pub, why should this be acceptable for dogs i n a dog-friendly one? And if there should be a 6.30 curfew for children why not one at the same time for dogs?!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    As a non-bogus contributor to this site, I am intrigued by Mauro’s comment that 90% of reviews are bogus. Given that virtually all contributors have nom de plumes, Matt and Cat do not know who they are and cannot edit or delete until they appear, so how does he arrive at 90%? Also he says that he are no longer on this site but:

    a he is still being discussed and

    b one can still find mamma mia on the site

    Just a query

  • mauro mamma mia owner says:

    call 01983 861162 happy to help you regards mauro

  • Simon says:

    Hi mumma Mia would really like to know about this legal info you have as sick to my back teeth of matt and Catt playing god, whilst we work a 90 hour week and they cream money from the public
    Regards simon

  • mauro mamma mia owner says:

    I agree with simon the only . Matt and Cat only care about selling a discount card, if you are not part of the scheme, you get only bad reviews 90% is bogus reviews. We have these problems for 3 years, we ask several time to be put out from this website but Matt and Cat refuse to do so, they try to play god with your business. We have some information about the legal way to help you on this matter. I advise other restaurants who r in this situation to contact us.
    Since we are not on this website our business has increased 40% with genuine customers not bogus reviews.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    You have a good point there Lester, if you go to a pub with children but dogs are allowed on the premises, then the obvious solution is to go elsewhere. You are also correct with respect to parents drinking or dining when it is way past the child’s bedtime. When my son was little, we accepted that our day finished around 6.30pm. We had a takeaway or cooked something at home. We did not have him crying in a pub late at night when he should have been in bed.

  • kj says:

    totally agree….dog owners will learn from these reviews that dogs are welcome and children not…there is plenty of choice and these reviews are informative and based on people opinions..nothing will change that.

  • Lester says:

    Well its interesting for us readers, we have freedom of speech on blogs, and M&C the right to review an establishment, so does the establishment have the right to not be reviewed?

    It would depend on what side of the fence you sit. The Blacksmiths have politely asked (and I remember Mamma Mia doing this some time ago) No comment will change my mind, you need to try for yourself, the food at The Blacksmiths has always been good, great Sunday Roast with more veg than most other places at a great price. But these comments and reviews may put off customers, especially visitors, as we see lots of comments here from those, during (what is perceived) as a financially difficult period for publicans. So who can blame them for asking not to be reviewed, all be it the review is not bad at all in my opinion, and M&C only do as they state ‘honest reviews from an unreliable source’ – does what it says on the tin, they are not the Good Food Guide and don’t claim to be!

    As for the longest running saga since The Archers. Whether you like dogs, hate dogs, hate children, or whatever…if you go to a place which has a ‘Dog Welcome’ sign and a bowl of water on the floor, there may well be dogs, the dogs may go to the loo, maybe in an area where children may play…go to a pub which does not welcome dogs, or forget the pub, do what’s best for the kids and not your belly (if your that worried) take the kids to the beach , the downs, a play-park, or somewhere a lot more fun to a kid than a pub where your self indulgence is being met and your trying to justify your visit by letting the kid have 5 minutes on a slide or something. Dog owners have a much restricted choice of pubs to take dogs compared to pubs which welcome rugrats.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Dogs in public places is an issue which will run and run. I like all animals including dogs although not a dog owner myself. Having dogs in places where children play or diners eat is, in my view, unsatisfacory particularly allowing dogs in children’s play areas. Owners may clear up faeces but cannot clear up urine. Most responsible dog owners would probably agree that it is not ideal to have dogs roaming in areas where children play.

    Dogs in dining areas for me is also an issue. It is not allowed to bring dogs into hospitals,libraries,cinemas and other public places. It would certainly not be allowed in a restaurant and should not be allowed in a pub serving food which is a restaurant for that purpose. I use the Folly Inn quite often and have noticed a decline in dogs there since posts have appeared on this site.

    Some bring their dog to the pub because there is no one to look after it at home and they have had neighbours complain about their dog barking constantly for hours when it has been left in the garden. A dog may be regarded as part of the family but it is not part of the general public who may take exception to have a dog in the vicinity of food.

  • Downsviewduo says:

    I have not personally visited the Blacksmith’s Arms for a few years, so am in no position to comment on the current quality of food or level of dog mess!

    I would like to say though, that as a regular reader and contributor to this site I think it would be wrong for the review to be removed because of the owners, whilst admitedly polite, request to have it so.

    It is important that the ability for customers to comment on services be available, I regularly base my dining out decisions on the comments on this site.

    The negative comments are from customers, not Matt and Cat, and there are definite common themes.

    I completely understand the owners unhappiness with the negative comments, I expect they are hard working people who would like to make their business work.

    The answer for me here is simple really, sort out the problem with the dog mess (for this appears to be the predominate complaint) and the negative reviews will surely become the minority. My message to the owners is please listen to the comments; you may like dogs, I like dogs, lots of people like dogs, but I am yet to meet many people who like dog mess, it just doesn’t go with the idea of a modern eating establishment.

    Message to Matt and Cat, the removal of the review would be a mistake and undermine the purpose of the site itself; I also suspect that even if the review was taken down comments regarding the establishment in question would still manage to find their way onto the site via ‘suggest a venue’.

    Ok, soapbox being put away for the night………………

  • Alex says:

    I shall make a point of visiting the pub although I usually avoid any pub which has a child play area. The food looks good and it is nice to be welcomed as a dog owner.

    There are some gastro pubs (horrid term, but you know exactly what I mean) which I frequent on the mainland which have friendly pub dogs wandering about the bar and garden, and it really is an attraction for me and the other returning customers. They give a homely, comfortable feel for the place.

  • simon willis says:

    Hi Matt and Catt, could you please take us off your website completely. we are a dog freindly pub with a fantastic garden that is never full of dog mess and unfortunatly it is imposible to monitor the gardens all the time unless we employed some one to do a dog poo patrol all the time! We are a country pub that has dogs in and yes some of them may mess and most of the time customers will clean this up. Our dogs usually go when they are walked in the morning away from the pub and many people come to the pub with there kids and find our friendly golden retrievers an attraction!
    Our numbers are up every year and we are now in our tenth year of trading.Our food is excellent and this reflects in the vast increase in trade year on year. We do not wish to be part of your discount scheme so you can make money and hard working publicans loose out, it almost seems like you are running a protection scheme! So please just wipe us completely of off your web site,
    Regards Simon

  • Jason says:

    As a couple of other people have pointed out, it’s quite a nice pub, perfectly acceptable food and easily the best view of any beer garden on the island. What does, literally, stink is that beer garden with the amount of dog filth left lying around everywhere – under tables, on the steps and worst of all all over the children’s play area. I’ve been going to the Blacksmith’s for many, many years and now I’m a parent I’ve sadly had to stop as no view is worth a child covered in crap from head to foot. I think you have to make a distinction between dog friendly and customer friendly.

  • Bec says:

    Seems a bit silly to be banned from there, as you said the food was very good, and gave an overall good review. Seems a bit OTT. We find the reviews on your site very useful (we do like the Blacksmith’s arms too)

  • Henry says:

    I agree with the Blacksmiths. I feel that this website is extremely unfair on business and the staff who try so hard to earn thier wages. The comments area is specifically unfair as it is unregulated and is very often made up. Businesses can very easily slate their rivals here, it is also very difficult to get comments removed. I think M&C should have asked businesses if they mind partaking in this site before playing God.

    Matt and Cat respond: ironically enough (given the subject of your comment) we do at times check that comments are by real people who leave genuine email addresses. Which you didn’t, Henry. So normally your comment would be removed, as from time to time does occur across our website. But in this case we decided to leave it because it was just too self-referential to resist.

  • Alec says:

    Nice atmosphere, lovely views and excellent food.
    We purchased a cheese & bacon burger and a sirloin steak both of which were lovely. The steak was cooked well, the burger was good quality and the bacon in it was lovely.
    Dessert (creme brulee cheesecake) was very nice too.
    Can’t fault the food or the service and the dogs were very sweet.

  • Adam says:

    THE WORST MEAL EVER. This may be an understatement. Ordered 3 crab salads 1 lamb and 1 pork. When I tried my crab salad it was dirty and gritty, the other 2 where the same. These were returned to the kitchen. The waitress returned a few minutes later with a leaf of lettuce a chopped tomato and a few slices of cucumber, plonked it on the table and walked off. This apparently was 3 portions of salad, the old gritty salad was left on the plate. I called the waitress back who couldn’t see the problem. My Mum then bit into what she thought was crab meat only to find cold lamb fat in her crab salad. We then asked for the manager.

    The food is average the hygiene is appalling and manager has a lack of customer service skills.

  • Hayley Adcock says:

    My parents, 9 month son and I visited yesterday afternoon for lunch and had a great time. Warm welcome and helpful staff. The food was great, Sunday roasts all round, quick service and excellent quality. My husband is a chef and we find it very difficult to find places he would be happy to eat (within a budget!) I am defiantly taking him here and would recommend it to everyone I know. I can understand the problems people may have found with dog poo and can only recommend fencing off the play ground so dogs and children can play happily. Quick note on the baby changing – its brilliant and the best place I’ve found so far on the island.

  • da yw wyth says:

    A shame some dog owners are impervious to the effect their animals’ filth has on others. And shameful in a publican! I will certainly think twice about going there from now on. (I have encountered the dog in the past, who it is compulsory to smile benignly at…!)

  • d.l.d says:

    we visited this pub on the way back to the ferry.we had three small children with us who immeadiatly went to play in the childrens play area while we ordered our meal.unfortunaly the play area was also used by the pubs dogs,therefore covered in dogs poo.neadless to say our children got covered in poo when they used the equiptment i.e slide so it was on their clothes as well as their shoes.we had to try to clean them up but the smell and inconvenience meant that the meal was ruined!this pub cannot be hygenic as dog poo and food do not mix.we will not be returning to this pub and would not recomend it.The staff were also unconcerned about the problem!!

  • jlp says:

    Visited the Blacksmiths because we learnt that they sold Warsteiners beer which we love. Decided to order a meal while we were there. My husband ordered roast beef and veg. Beef in all fairness, (according to my husband), was okish but his vegetable were soggy and tired. I had scampi, chips and peas. It was low quality, frozen, then microwaved conveyer belt pub food. However that sadly is common, what really upset us was the pub dogs. (They were lovely by the way, I like dogs). One dog sat staring at me the whole time I was eating crying for me to feed it and the pub garden had drifts of dog hairs to the side of it. The landlord and his family seemed to be having a good booze up so didn’t notice the dogs behaviour. It was really uncomfortable, and sadly another place that we vow never to go back to.

  • johnny says:

    Visited the Blacksmiths arms last evening,me and my wife -sunday 26 june- opted for the “special” chilli beef, one with no onion/garlic.. No problem said the waitress, the meal came ,both with onion & garlic??…later on had a cheese board which was nice….decided to finish off with a coffee..went and paid for two…20 minutes later…no coffee…went to ask..Oh! we forgot to put a fresh brew’ll be a few minutes!…3 minutes later we had our coffee’s… the last dregs from the coffee pots that may have been sat there for the last hour..and at least the last 25…I was not happy and complained..only to be told..Well!! there is a fresh pot on!..thats as maybe why serve me and my wife the tepid,dark thick gunk that not even a pint of milk would dilute…We were not happy to say the least and duly left…
    P.S.We went there for a recce for a forth coming family meal…better to be unhappy after spending £35 than £ 350 !!

  • rambler says:

    Visited recently; meal fine and the setting / view fine. ‘Dog Friendly’ is one thing but dogs roaming freely in the restaurant ? Sorry, it’s off the list for us – what would the Hygiene Inspectors make of it ?

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Interesting comment from Afterthesun regarding customers “trying it on” Two instances I have witnessed on the Island concerned the Crab at Shanklin and what was Essex Cottage in Godsill (is it still Essex Cottage?)

    I was stting on the wall at the Crab having a pint and watched two couples with kids enter. About 5 minutes later they all exited and I distinctly heard one man say to the other “They want the money up front, you can’t sort of creep out”

    At Essex Cottage a couple with two kids came in and ordered starters and mains. Halfway through the starter the owner asked if everything was OK and the man had some issue with the starters. He soon started on “this was an anniversary meal and has been ruined… etc and what are you going to do about it” Obviously trying to get a free meal for 4 people. The owner said “shall I tell the chef to stop the meal then?” “Oh no need to do that but we would like some compensation blah blah” The lady was having none of it. She stopped the meal and they left.

    One owner was telling me some diners produced a piece of brown glass from the meal and wanted free food as compensation. he took the offended diner around the entire eatery and said ” can you see any drink or product contained in brown glass here”? The answer was no because there was no brown glass on the premises. She had obviously brought it with her.

    I have every sympathy for the food industry on the Island because they have to cope with so many customers who are no less than crooks.


    have been to the blacksmiths arms on many occasion, i have to say i feel the food is always excelent the service fantastic and as for the dogs, they are better behaved than alot of humans! an episode that i feel needs to be exposed is, i overheard a couple of diners sceeming to get a free meal or a heavy discount from their bill! i couldn’t believe my ears and instantly strained to listen further, these people collected hairs from their tops and then sent the food back to the kitchen, i did notice most of it was gone!! and sure enough the waitress could not appologise enough and they were offered a refund. i did inform managerment after they had left and can only hope there are not too many people that are totally dishonest and only out to cause trouble for these small business’s. Keep up the good work blacksmiths

  • Sailor Sam says:

    Errg! Thanks Lou for that. I have a big thing about dogs being around areas to eat and certainly concernerd about the ‘poo’ issues as I also have a small child. One of the reasons I stopped dining in the Crab & Lobster in Bembridge. Was thinking of trying the Blacksmith after hearing about the improvements but may give it a miss now you warned us!

  • Lou Bricante says:

    We visited as a family. When we arrived my daughter wanted to play in the fabulous garden but a workman told me ‘i would’nt, there is so much dog poo…..’
    We took his advice, unfortunatly, the neighbouring tables children didnt and an emergency mopping situation accured to clear the dog poo off the floor of the restaurant. What a shame the smell couldnt be mopped up.

    Food arrived, i had ordered a special of Liver and Bacon. I have to say, it was absolutley delicious. My daughters Ham Egg and Chips was also good. My mothers burger was bad for a bad burger van burger and my wifes jacket potato was uncooked.

    Now, we could cope with all of this but, when you are then told that hairs in two of the dishes must be your own as the colour doesnt match that of the chefs hair. The potato was not raw and eventhough we sent it back after 2 mouthfulls, we were only doing so to get out of paying for it. WE ALREADY HAD!!!!

    The rudness of the management and lack of customer service was astonishing, for this reason we will never go back. what a shame as the extension is fab, the loos are finished, the views amazing and the Liver stunning.

  • Simon says:

    Hi Matt and Catt
    Thanks for returning, it’s a shame it was not this month as we have just finished an extensive project on tripling the size of our kitchen and the ladies toilets have doubled in size and are looking very plush and clean now having been totally tiled,decorated and soft lighting installed, 2 new toilets and sinks and baby change area also! I think you will pleasantly surprised on your next visit. We are where we want to be now after an 8 year project and business is growing at a steady rate so we are all proud of our achievements. Hope you visit again. Thanks Simon

  • Great “four lakes” view. Good value pub food. Friendly dogs. But we could have done without the music.

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