Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Yarmouth, early on a Saturday evening, the night of a major international sporting event. Matt and Cat are strolling through the town, idly looking...

Yarmouth, early on a Saturday evening, the night of a major international sporting event. Matt and Cat are strolling through the town, idly looking for somewhere to eat that is not bursting with jolly gentlemen in sportswear crowding around the wall-screens. The streets are emptying: occasional groups of half-a-dozen chaps are hurrying to and fro, just off their yachts and hunting for a pub.

The Blue Crab, Yarmouth

Expanding their search, Matt and Cat happened by chance upon the Blue Crab, a restaurant a little way off the beaten track in Yarmouth. Its windows were filled with cheerful hallowe’en-themed decorations and inside was no sign of televisions.

A friendly waitress greeted her guests, and offered them a choice of several tables, including – and here she looked meaningfully at M & C – ‘a booth’. Booth, eh? Did they look like some love-hungry youngsters? Hungry for food, definitely! Anyway, a booth it was, which proved to be a decent-sized table set in an alcove. Just in case the booth ambience was not enough to promote intimacy, the waitress, whilst lighting the little candle on the table, pointed out the booth’s adjustable light dimmer switch. Cat was so entertained by this gadget that she strobed the light enough to attract an amused comment from a neighbouring table – and prompt their own subsequent discovery of a similar switch. Such simple things, but somehow so much fun.

The menu was very well-presented and included some really interesting-sounding dishes. Plenty of seafood, of course: whole roasted bream with black olives and parsley; mustard and maple glazed salmon; and of course a seafood platter. Specials were almost as numerous and were both starters and mains, with such delights as Guinness and beef casserole with puff pastry crust, and mussels with leek, bacon and cider.

Whitebait with smoked garlic and paprika mayonnaise

Matt chose whitebait with smoked garlic and paprika mayonnaise for starter followed by the remarkable-sounding pigeon breasts with black pudding, bacon and blackberry brandy sauce. Cat picked breaded goats’ cheese starter, and pan-roasted chicken with leek, bacon and mustard sauce for a main course.

Breaded goats' cheese

Whilst waiting for the food, Matt and Cat took advantage of the intimate atmosphere of the booth to eavesdrop unnoticed on their fellow diners. Their ears pricked up when one chap loudly declared “At last I’ve discovered where to get the only decent Chinese outside of London.” His fellows begged him to impart his discovery. Matt and Cat poised themselves for a revelation. “Belfast” announced the cosmopolitan chap firmly. Ah well – not the oriental mystery they were expecting, and not quite on the Island either. This forthright fellow had plenty more to say, and could have filled a review all by himself – more of him later.

The starters arrived, and looked great. A great pile of piping-hot whitebait nestled in a scallop shell, with a deliciously piquant and home-made sauce to dip them in. Two big chunks of goats’ cheese were done to a turn – hot and crumbly, but not melted. They shared the plate with a small salad and some tangy red pepper chutney. A splendid way to kick off the meal. The starters were washed down with a pint of local Ventnor Golden bitter and a not-so-local glass of palette-pleasing apple juice.

Before long, the informal but attentive service of the Blue Crab worked its magic, the plates were whisked away, and the main course arrived. Bowls of vegetables and new potatoes came alongside for the diners to share. The veg was particularly good, splendidly fresh and hot with a sprinkle of aromatic herbs.

Pan-roasted chicken

Cat’s chicken was lovely, topped with a delicious and tasty melange of bacon and leeks, all with a creamy mustard sauce. Matt was delighted with his adventurous choice of pigeon. The four tiny breasts looked like rare fillet steak, so lean were they, and had a subtle but very full dry gamey taste that was perfectly offset by the powerful but sparingly-applied blackberry brandy sauce.

Pigeon breasts with black pudding, bacon and blackberry brandy sauce

The black pudding, once only found regularly in Scottish chip shops but now a staple in fancy restaurants across the land, was a splendid way to support the pigeon, both literally and in texture and flavour terms, being crumbly and flavoursome. All in all a novel and cleverly-devised dish, excellently executed. Matt, in his last mouthful, even got a pellet of shot to prove that these really had been wild pigeons. He left it proudly on the side of the plate – a reminder of many game suppers from his younger days.

Ruminating on a pretty good feed in a very pleasant atmosphere, Matt and Cat heard their outspoken fellow diner nearby on fine form once more. The bill was being presented and the waitress politely asked if everything had been satisfactory. It had, but our pal was so pleased that he was determined to impart some of his wisdom as well as open his wallet. “Let me tell you how vegetables should really be cooked,” he said confidingly. All listened expectantly. “Boil them in carbonated water”, he declared. “Thank you sir”, said the charming waitress, all smiles. “I’ll be sure to tell chef.” Doubtless she did, too.

So, overall an interesting and enjoyable meal, with excellent and personal service in a great venue. Recommended.

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  • John mclaughlin

    5th August 2015 #1 Author

    Don’t judge from outside go in get a table and look taste try something different. Matt& Cat You need to up date your blog and visit.I heard about the blue crab and went for lunch with a mate. All I can say is wow Woohoo a resturant that says its a sea food resturant and lives up to it thankyou wonderfull and what a portion. I had the baked makerel with beetroot and roasted veg a side saled came with it and choice of chips or new potatoes they came out with 2 beauty’s on the plate. Awesome thankyou! My friend had the smoked haddock and potatoe omelette with choice of potatoes saled. An exerlent choice of island bottled beers wines and softies I had the local cider blooming loverly with a jug of water to share. This is a gem I’m even going tomorrow with my wife daughter and mum to show them how great it is cheers guys can’t wait to visit again soon and try somthing else maybe the platter or even the sea bass to share for 2 that came out and looked amazing😃


  • Jean

    28th April 2013 #2 Author

    We searched in vain to find opening times for this restaurant. It would’ve been helpful if they put them on their website. Is it open on Sundays for instance?


  • Janet and Roy

    8th October 2012 #3 Author

    Had the biggest crab i,ve ever eaten ! Husband has bass , and both were brilliant . Thanks to all the very helpful staff for a very enjoyable last night of our holiday . We,ll be back next year !


  • John & Janet

    11th September 2009 #4 Author

    Another very nice lunch here, charming and friendly service
    as last time. Consisently good – this plaice is an asset to Yarmouth.


  • alan turner

    17th August 2009 #5 Author

    We called in for a fish & chip takeaway last
    Wednesday as we were on the way back to catch the
    ferry back to Lymington.What a TOTAL waste of £8.
    I could not take them back as we were about to board
    the ferry. The fish was just a load of tough batter
    with NO FISH inside it ! The chips were frozen and
    tasted VILE. We put them in the bin. Give it a wide
    miss !!


  • Adam White

    30th July 2009 #6 Author

    My wife and I had lunch here during The Old Gaffer’s weekend event.

    We both chose the crab salad.

    The crabs were massive and caught fresh that day in Yarmouth.

    The whole meal was excellent and the service great.

    A good value restaurant well worth a visit


  • Emma Orchard-Ohlson

    5th June 2009 #7 Author

    The food and service here is amazing, I had a fish platter and although I have eaten all around the world I have never enjoyed a meal more, all the tastes and texturs blended together to make a totally unique experiance. The service was excellent,and the food faultless. I know food well and that was it ats its very best.


  • Theresa Flower

    12th April 2009 #8 Author

    Booked a table for dinner for my family for my sons 18 birthday at the Blue Crab having been for lunch a couple of times. Arrived exactly on time but were told we would have to wait 5 minutes for our table. That would have been just about acceptable but 5 minutes turned into half an hour. As there is no waiting place we had to stand and to make it worse stand right by a table with people eating as there was no where else.

    the food was good but we certainly would not go again

    Whilst standing menus were brought to us and we were asked to decide what to eat whilst standing. Eventually shown to our table. Drinks ordered and were told someone would be along to take our food order. Another 20 mins until a waitress came. We ordered and having given our order were immediately told that 3 of the main fish dishes were sold out!! why were we not told this when we were given the menus. Further we had not booked a late table at all so no excuse. We were asked if we were having starters and we said no (our budget was a main course and dessert). The waitress was not happy about this and said we would have to wait 20 mins then. In the end we waited one and a quarter hours and that was only because we chased it up. Absolutely disgraceful and a total let down. Which was a shame because the food was good but we certainly would not go again – very bad service, disorganised and no excuse when we had booked a table a week before we went.


  • jon and emma rickwood

    20th October 2008 #9 Author

    we booked a table at the blue crab after reading your recomendation, we live in bognor regis and stayed on the I.O.W for a week in September we rented Bundys cottage in Wellow which was very nice, we eat out a lot in our area and can honestly say we are very spoilt for excellent places to eat and can say hand on heart that the Blue Crab was one of the nicest experiences we have had. The food, service and atmosphire was an absolute delight which we would highly recommend.


  • John & Janet

    22nd July 2008 #10 Author

    We crossed the water for lunch here a couple of weeks ago.
    Food was top notch, we loved the relaxed ambience and the “booth” seating.
    Unfortunatly the old salt who rows you over from Lymington in
    his clinker dinghy for 50p wasn’t operating that day, so we had
    to spend our brandy and cigar money on the ferry fare.


  • Rev. Blue Humphries

    30th May 2008 #11 Author

    Not been yet as not visited the island.Will be there from July ’08.just pray the Chef HAS NOT listened to the carbonated water theory (was a chef in my past life & haven’t stopped laughing at this yet)!!! Bet his tempura batter’s great thought,tee hee


  • debra blakeman-barratt

    5th April 2008 #12 Author

    love this restaurant, so helpful and pleasant and of course fantastic fresh food, and the bad things….none!


  • Alison Mortimer

    29th January 2008 #13 Author

    If you book for dinner make sure you have a light lunch!

    Truly fresh fish, cooked simply with the most delightful service. We’ve had four meals here during two week-long visits in 2007 and my only regret is that on the last visit I wasn’t feeling 100% and did not do justice to the evening.

    The Blue Crab is on a very short list of places where the food is fresh, the chef knows what he’s doing AND the service from every waitress truly is warm and genuine.

    I still have their business card in my wallet to remind me to book before our next visit in June. Can’t wait!