This is an archive review of a previous incarnation of The Boathouse. For the current review go here. The Boathouse – and Matt and...

This is an archive review of a previous incarnation of The Boathouse. For the current review go here.

The Boathouse – and Matt and Cat’s previous remarks about it – has proven to be one of the talking points of this website. See the bottom of the page for the old review. Way back in 2008 M&C described the newly-reopened venue as “like the curate’s egg – good in parts” – damning with the faintest of praise. Comments from others, which you can read below, show that this inconsistent experience was not atypical. So perhaps it was no surprise when The Boathouse once more closed its doors in early summer 2009.

Sea bass and chips at the Boathouse

Sea bass and chips at the Boathouse

What was more surprising was how quickly they reopened, this time revealing a new set of faces drawn from the highly successful stable of Liberty’s and The Black Sheep Bar. Both of these Ryde eateries have garnered approval from your reviewers in the past, so Matt and Cat were intrigued to see whether this formula could be successfully parachuted into an ailing venue that could once have been described as Springvale’s biggest white elephant.

August 2009 review:
The first thing to say about the all-new Boathouse is that it looks just like the old one. In fact nobody, without a keen eye, would really notice any difference on the surface. And that’s not surprising. The one thing, possibly the only thing, the restoration of the former Battery Hotel achieved was to make a very high-quality venue indeed. A big public bar area at the back with comfy chairs and a cosy log fire leads gracefully into a series of sophisticated rooms where customers can enjoy intimate dining with spectacular views across to the mainland. It’s all very clean, very tidy and immaculately tasteful – even if, as a brand-new set-up, it is inevitably a little short on lived-in character.

M & C arrived unannounced and strolled into the bustling bar. No tables were to be had in the more formal restaurant area, but the cheery staff directed them to the bar tables, which turned out to be ideal, with plenty of room and lots of opportunities for discreetly observing fellow patrons. They settled down with drinks and the new menu. Here was one difference for a start – when Matt went for a pint of beer he had eight pumps to choose from. Last time every one was dry. A bar which sells beer! Now that’s an amenity which obviously the previous Boathouse had considered optional. Matt was pleased with this improvement.

Chips

Chips

Secondly, the menu. This document was short and to the point, but was supplemented by a specials sheet which Cat managed to retrieve by making enquiries in the restaurant. In the ‘Starters and Light Bites’ section was a familiar array of signature dishes from the Black Sheep‘s highly praised tapas selection. Promising. The mains was a very short selection of safe bets: not surprising for a venue that’s just finding its feet. However an impressive seafood platter for two was on the specials list. Cat, who loves fish but hates bones, decided that she could take the risk and ordered sea bass with chips. Matt, also feeling like a change, ordered chicken wrapped in bacon.

Waiting for the meals, your reviewers enjoyed the pub-like atmosphere and, as usual, took the opportunity to observe their fellow diners. Deck-shoes and open-necked shirts abounded as respectable DFL gents revelled in the freedom to walk the streets of Seaview without socks or ties. A mixed group of middle-aged folk provided the flapping ears of Matt and Cat with some juicy aural titbits including this gem which wafted across the room with no context, “I distinctly like the mob cap but there’s not enough bosom on that one”. This was followed by a banshee-like shriek, causing The Cat to involuntarily wave her cutlery and blaspheme, and the rest of the venue to fall silent. It turned out to be a sneeze from a cagoule-clad patron. Despite the interjections it was all terribly good-natured and certainly felt like a busy and welcoming place.

The meals arrived with polite service, again having encouraging overtones of the Black Sheep Bar. Both dishes were similar, with the meat coming with salad and chips. Cat nibbled gingerly through her tasty sea bass, and although she did manage to extract the tiniest bone, declared it to be well worth it. Her chips pleased her less, as although they were hot they looked like the tail end of the batch, and perhaps not quite up to the standard of the rest of the meal. The aromatic salad dressing put Cat in mind of a childhood flavour – memories of Sunday lunch at Granny’s – but she was unable to recall exactly what it was. Matt’s chicken was also well-received. An enjoyable home-made bread sauce sauce complemented the chicken and bacon combo, and the whole thing rested on some fresh baby spinach to make an agreeable melange of tastes and textures. Simple but effective.

Ice cream with chocolate brownie

Ice cream with chocolate brownie
The Boathouse is now a place where one can go with confidence and enjoy a decent meal, or just a quiet pint

The cheerful waitress, clearing away the plates, enquired about pudding. Cat immediately protested that there was no way, possibly, that she could force in the smallest mouthful. No, not even under sufferance. Really, not a thing. Matt, by comparison, showed no such discretion and made straight for the home-made bread-and-butter pudding with clotted cream. Yes, friends, clotted cream. Nobody asks ‘cream, ice-cream or custard?’ here because clotted cream says it all. Even the name strikes fear into the arteries. Have no doubt: it’s delicious, and if you eat enough of it you’ll probably end up clotted yourself. But if you’re going to have home-made bread-and-butter pudding then in all honesty you may as well have clotted cream too. So that’s what Matt did.

Bread-and-butter pudding

Bread-and-butter pudding

As the dessert menu was being taken away Cat’s eye was caught by a phrase that she’d missed during her vigorous if unconvincing protestations of repletion. Hot chocolate brownie? With vanilla ice cream? Suddenly she was just as eager as Matt, and so at the last minute this previously overstuffed damsel managed to convince herself that she might just fit in a little tiny speck of melted chocolate and ice cream.

Matt and Cat’s bill 2009
Chicken wrapped in bacon £10.00
Sea bass £12.00
2 x desserts £7.00
Drinks £4.50
Total: £33.50

When the puddings arrived Matt couldn’t help but chuckle – the bread-and-butter pud and cream was dainty and refined portion; whereas the chocolate brownie and ice-cream filled a massive glass chalice that Cat needed two hands just to lift. Hot melted chocolate and syrupy brownie mix melted deliciously with the ice-cream, and even gave off steam as the hot and cold mixed together. Cat set to with a big spoon and eyes as wide as saucers. Matt was also impressed, but more by the quality presentation of what is, after all, the classic nursery pudding. A sprig of redcurrants lay nonchalantly on the soft bread, and a honey glaze was drizzled across the plate, making the clotted cream glisten invitingly. For once, traditional roles were reversed. Whilst Cat disappeared behind her vast goblet of chocolate, Matt politely picked through this splendid creation. Neither were disappointed. In fact, both agreed that the pleasant but workaday main courses were outshone by these magnificent desserts, which lifted a decent meal to the realms of a very good one. Had they essayed a starter – and assuming these were the same creations they had raved over at the Black Sheep – doubtless they would have been even more pleased.

So it’s a good first report for the phoenix-like Boathouse. Frankly, to reopen an establishment as big and prestigious as this in the middle of the season takes some doing. A less-than-perfect reputation inherited from the previous management probably didn’t help either. But despite all this the Boathouse is now a place where one can go with confidence and enjoy a decent meal, or just a quiet pint. Recommended.

The Boathouse in July 2009 reopened under different management. The review below, written in May 2008, refers to the previous establishment.

There has been much written on this website about the value of location. Without a doubt, the experience of eating unprepossessing food is enhanced by a spectacular view. On sunny days on the Island, seafront eateries with impressive aspects such as the Spyglass and the Baywatch on the Beach are full to bursting as patrons take in glorious scenes of sun, sea and sailors.

The Boathouse

In times past, the Battery Hotel, between Ryde and Seaview, bucked this enterprising trend. Despite its enviable situation on a popular seafront promenade, the pub seemed to understate to the point of neglect its location, location, location. A novelty concrete Captain Mainwaring and Dad’s Army platoon in the garden did their best to lure in the punters… but it was all too little too late. The Battery closed, and its passing was hardly noted.

In 2008, The Battery emerged from its scaffolding cocoon as the latest of four different Island venues cleverly called The Boathouse. Hearing on these pages that this pub’s new owners previously owned Shanklin’s The Bank, Matt and Cat were keen to pay a visit…

Fillet of Island beef and mash

Fillet of Island beef with mash

The tired old pub has been replaced by a breezy, sailing-themed up-market eating destination: perhaps, rather than the Ryde plebeians, the new place is intended for the ‘down from London’ golden folk in Seaview.

The makeover of the exterior of the venue has been carried out meticulously. The walls are painted a restful blue and some are even clad in nautical weatherboarding. The party-sized Captain’s Room is a particularly fine piece of interior design; nautical heroes gaze down at the beautifully laid table from their gilded frames.

Cat managed to not bat an eyelid and requested the most expensive dish she had ever ordered

After getting their drinks at the bar (Matt was astonished to find that four pumps of real ale had been drunk dry!), your reviewers waited to be seated. And what a stroke of luck, the ‘best table in the house’ was free. Sure enough, the table’s position did not disappoint, being adjacent to French doors which offered a clear view of the Solent and No Man’s Land fort.

When it came to the prices, these were surely pushing at the upper end of the casual diner’s budget. One fish dish was merely marked ‘market price’: presumably meaning that if you need to ask, you can’t afford it. The starters ranged from mackerel fillet on toast with horseradish dressed salad (£4.50) to a purse-puckering £6.50 for seared sea scallops, pea cress salad, black pudding and pancetta. However, Matt and Cat were so stunned by this awesome venue that they were willing to give the Boathouse a good go. If they could deliver a meal as well as they could refurbish a pub then this just might be one of the finest eateries on the Island.

Butternut squash, red onion and crottin goats cheese tart (£12) or the char-grilled chicken breast tagliatelle (£13.50) would normally have caught Cat’s eye, but tonight was fillet steak night. Cat managed to not bat an eyelid and requested the most expensive dish she had ever ordered: fillet of island beef, wild mushrooms, truffle mash and herb butter (£19.95). “Good choice”, endorsed the waitress. Matt chose rib eye of Shorewell (sic) beef and mash (£14.95). Both elected to have the steak rare. On the menu, neither dish mentioned vegetables and, on enquiry, M and C discovered that there were none to be had.

The curiously spelt menus were taken away, and in a surprising lapse of service, the wine menu and glasses were left behind, cluttering the table throughout the meal. Matt and Cat decided that, as The Boathouse offered itself as an expensive upmarket sophisticated venue it would be judged as such. Small matters of etiquette that would be overlooked in your average pub might count against it here.

If they could deliver a meal as well as they could refurbish a pub then this just might be one of the finest eateries on the Island

Tapping their toes along to the prehistoric soft-rock classic ‘(I’ve Been Through the Desert on) A Horse with No Name‘, Matt and Cat mused on their fellow patrons. Where had these people come from? Well-to-do, deck shoes, open-necked shirts… perhaps they were all visitors? Or maybe Islanders scrubbed up beyond recognition for a posh night out – even Cat had dragged a comb through her nest-like mane.

Ah, dinner. Big plates with small portions were delivered with a flourish. Whatever the views on quantity, the presentation of the food was very pleasing. Both Matt and Cat’s plates had patties of mashed potato topped with the steaks which were in turn surmounted with warmed vine tomatoes. Both plates also had mushrooms – a single large flat mushroom for Matt, and wild mushrooms for Cat. A knob of speciality butter was to finish both dishes; Matt’s had the surprisingly understated anchovy butter and Cat’s herb butter must have melted for there was no sign of it.

Staff buzzed about the place with a deferential, even humble, attitude. Matt and Cat were visited by each and every one of them: there were three, one arriving before the first mouthfuls were even chewed. Yes, the meals were alright. Really they were. No, honestly, they were fine. Both steaks were a lot closer to medium than rare but, as they couldn’t be sent back to be cooked less, both were eaten with good grace and much smacking of chops. Matt’s was a splendidly tasty treat, seared but tender. A really well-presented reminder of why locally-sourced meat is worth the extra effort. The mash and tomatoes complemented the meat, and the dish worked extremely well. However, Matt was pretty hungry, and once he’d polished his plate, he wasn’t entirely replete. At these prices it shouldn’t be necessary to have a starter; perhaps it would have been appropriate to offer some complimentary rolls or olives beforehand?

Chocolate soup

Chocolate soup

Because Matt was still hungry, they decided to give the puddings a try. Cat’s waistline protested as her brain yelled out for rhubarb and grenadine crumble and clotted cream. But it was the implausible-sounding chocolate soup which won the day. Proclaiming itself as valhrona (sic) chocolate soup with ginger ice cream and chocolate wafer, Cat had to ask the waiter what valhrona was. He hadn’t a clue, and had to ask the chef. It turned out to be Valrhona – a brand of chocolate. The fact that the Boathouse hadn’t even spelt the brand name right did little to dispel the suspicion that the menu was designed more to impress than to inform.

Matthew played safe with sticky toffee pudding, clotted cream and butterscotch; although there may have been a moment when his choice could have gone the way of white chocolate and raspberry panna cotta.

From a great start, this was suddenly all going rather badly

The puddings arrived without cutlery so, while it was being brought, Cat stared open-mouthed at the chocolate soup. The bowl contained a spectacular amount of incredible-smelling steaming liquid chocolate. It was certainly delicious but there was just so much of it. It was the sort of pudding a man would make for a woman. Women like shoes, George Clooney and chocolate, right? If women like chocolate, imagine how pleased they would be to have an entire chocolate fountain’s worth in one bowl. A much smaller amount of the soup with some fresh strawberries or tiny sponge cakes would’ve been less intense; it was a week’s worth of calories in one dish! Cat attempted to cleanse her palate with the ginger ice cream. Which turned out to be vanilla. There was no sign of the chocolate wafer either, which was probably for the best as Cat was well and truly sick of chocolate by now. There were three mandarin segments to take the edge off, but – horrors – they had somehow become contaminated with onion. A category error with the chopping boards in the kitchen presumably.

Dad's Army

Matthew gamely offered some of his pudding. Cat took a spoonful, wondering what had happened to his promised clotted cream. From a great start, this was suddenly all going rather badly. Ironically, at the very moment they were required, the ever-present waiting staff had all cleared off. Eventually Cat managed to flag down a passing gauche young chap and made her complaint about the ice cream and the oniony mandarin. “I’ll go and find out” he said, then disappeared into the kitchen for some time. What he had gone to discover was unclear but he came back and offered Cat a second portion of the chocolate soup. She declined. Nothing else was offered but, on request, The Boathouse took the cost of the dessert off the meal.

This was only the second time in 184 reviews that Matt and Cat have felt that their meals have failed to reach their expectations to such a degree that they complained on the spot (here’s the first). At The Boathouse, although apologies were forthcoming and concessions allowed, Matt and Cat had the impression that the staff, though polite, didn’t really know what to do about it.

Matt and Cat’s bill 2008
Fillet steak £19.95
Rib-eye beef £14.50
Puddings – free

There was then no offer of coffee, further drinks or the bill. Matt and Cat peered out of the window at the twinkling lights of Portsmouth until eventually they decided to find the till, pay and just leave.

The Boathouse is like the curate’s egg – good in parts. The delightful interior and decent main course more than made up for the inexperienced staff and the mis-spellings on the menu. What appeared on the plates was never quite what was ordered, and eventually the accumulation of these minor hiccups did have an impact on the dining experience. But this place is only a few weeks open – perhaps it was all teething troubles?

As Matt and Cat left, they saw to their delight the Home Guard, still on duty in the garden with a new coat of paint. Although things hadn’t gone quite according to plan, they distinctly heard the advice of Corporal Jones, “Don’t panic!”

This is an archive review of a previous incarnation of The Boathouse. For the current review go here.

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  • Daniella

    20th June 2010 #1 Author

    Myself and my partner ate here this evening and were not disappointed. I had the Red Snapper Tempura followed by the Hake with IOW Crab Sauce and my parter had the Mackerel Terrine followed by the Rump Steak. The food was of a very high standard and the waiting staff were attentive and polite. I’m glad it seems that following an earlier review they have changed the chips…naturally I stole a chip from my partners plate and they were fresh, hot, crispy and tasty…some of the best I have tested from my partner’s plate in a while! Myself and my partner love eating out and we have lived on the IOW for 9 months. We have tested out many places and this, along with Black Sheep Bar, Olivo’s and Michalangelo’s are our favourites so far in the Ryde area.

    Reply

  • SeaViewLocal

    21st May 2010 #2 Author

    terrible meal, rude staff only thing going for it is the location.

    Reply

  • piwakawaka

    5th April 2010 #3 Author

    Just eaten here for family birthday outing – food ok for meat/fish eaters but even though The Boathouse has a vegetarian category on the menu, it is a dull list of the usual suspects: pasta with mushroom sauce, something with goats cheese (yawn) and omlette & chips. Goats cheese salad on other part of the menu could do with having more (interesting) salad and less goats cheese. Plus a dressing is always a nice touch with a salad.
    Service however was nice even though they were very busy. Good in some ways, mediocre in others. Shame as a location like that deserves something more.

    Reply

  • mattfromryde

    27th February 2010 #4 Author

    Lunched there today, on first appearances all was good, with a great specials board, and clear evidence of a commitment to fresh fish. We ordered battered fish of the day and a fish pie, and as sat down reading through the wine list and other drinks leaflets I began to get twitchy. Why? Because it appeared from the literature that the place is now in the hands of the New Inn/Horse and Groom/other pubs I don’t hugely like group. The food arrived exactly as I thought it would, nice fish, frozen factory chips and the ubiquitous pub side salad (cherry toms – check, slices of pepper – check, red onion – check, cucumber slices – check, mixed leaves – check, complete absence of dressing or seasoning – check). Nothing wrong with the meal, and bright and cheery staff, but just not my thing. There is a veneer of a gastropub experience, but it ultimately fails to deliver through the failure to personalise the dishes. Why when you have gone to the trouble of having great venue & decor, great staff, and quality fish would you ruin it by serving rubbish chips and a pointless salad? Beyond me, and off my list of places to visit for the moment. Credit to them for keeping the place going and I hope that they do well with a new clientele, but I just don’t know who that is; It’s not a gastropub and it’s not a ‘family barn’, it’s in the middle, which is where I have the problem.

    Reply

  • Jef

    30th January 2010 #5 Author

    Heard last night that new people took over yesterday.

    Reply

  • Jef

    29th January 2010 #6 Author

    The lease was advertised for sale in the Publican Magazine a couple of weeks ago!

    Reply

  • mattfromryde

    29th January 2010 #7 Author

    I walked past there at about 7 last night, and there were no lights on. Very sad if it has gone, the site had great potential.

    Reply

  • bushy

    28th January 2010 #8 Author

    The sad rumour is that the Boathouse has closed, apparently because the owners of the site – a pub management company – asked for an exorbitant rent increase. Perhaps Matt & Cat could confirm one way or the other…?

    Reply

  • matt from ryde

    14th December 2009 #9 Author

    we had a wonderful light lunch there yesterday. A roaring fire, live music and excellent views of the kite-surfers outside completed the picture. We could have stayed all afternoon.

    Reply

  • Bill

    13th December 2009 #10 Author

    I visited the BoatHouse at the end of 2008 after its refurbishment and found it to be without character and a shadow of its former self. With only Boddingtons bitter and a fancy lager available,I decided to walk the extra mile to Seaview,where I enjoyed proper pint and a light meal.
    The old Battery Hotel had been a favourite of mine for many years and to find it stripped bare of its former character was heartbreaking.All it needed was a coat of paint!
    I will give the Boathouse another try this year, but if I find only one beer on offer and the bar staff dressed as waiting staff,I shall walk away!

    Reply

  • jon

    4th December 2009 #11 Author

    Since the Boat House has re-opened under new management in late july this year it has as risen from the depths of despair from the previous management and become one of my favourite places to eat. My wife and I have been on many occasions now and thoroughly enjoyed every visit, we can’t find a thing to complain about! The food is fantastic, freshly cooked to order, simple pub style dishes which let the flavours speak for themselves – rather than over fussy but underwhelming dishes you get in most places these days! real ales and a great wine list.

    The perfect balance of a family friendly pub with that extra special food and service.

    The staff are always very welcoming, attentive and happy to chat to us and they are even doing sunday lunches now…a very reasonable £11.50 for 2 courses or £14.00 for 3 with live music in the afternoon too so i was told by the delightful young manageress on our last visit. By all accounts they had to work pretty damn hard to take on and open this place in the height of the season after the reputation it had gained from previous owners so we congratulate you Boat House! It’s not an easy task to turn somewhere as ghastly as this was into such a fantastic venue. The perfect balance of a family friendly pub with that extra special food and service. A little tip I also learned from the manageress, they are now offering an Island resident discount card giving loyal customers up to 10% off!

    Reply

  • Michael

    30th November 2009 #12 Author

    I went to the boat house in july 09, with some friends.

    The starters was to over price,
    A Poach Egg with toast and a little source, £ 6.95
    The main meal, Pork Chop, no veg, £ 11.99
    I would not go there again

    Reply

  • Simon

    28th September 2009 #13 Author

    First time eating here and was not disappointed. maybe because its now being run by the same person as Libertys and The Black Sheep Bar.

    The menu choice for me was a little limited especially as being given menus we were told ‘ No Crevettes tonight” meaning 2 dishes were off.

    I had Crab on toasted bread as a starter, the crab was great, the Ciabatta bread needed more toasting as was a little chewy.

    My main course of Seabass ( my favourite fish!!) was very good, a very good sized portion. the only down side was when given salt for my chips i didn’t notice that it was in a pepper pot so i go rather more than expected. i like a good helping of salt on my chips so it was fine, but had it gone over my seabass it would have spoilt.

    a little more attention to detail, but otherwise very good.

    Reply

  • Mark

    25th August 2009 #14 Author

    Went to the boat house at the weekend and the food and the atmosphere was great. The steaks we had were cooked how we wanted them, the sea bass was perfect. The only slight complaint i have was on the service, well more in the accuracy of the order taken. When asked for chips or potatoes, we ordered potatoes. What we actually got was chips and a side of potatoes. When ordering another round of drinks, we got the same previous round of drinks, but we ordered a coke and not a larger.

    Other than those little negative points, which i am sure are teething problems, i would still go there again, its a good location to incorporate a walk and a very nice meal, in nice surrounding and atmosphere.

    Reply

  • Dave

    22nd August 2009 #15 Author

    Since it has reopened with staff imported from elswhere they
    have managedd to run out of real ale 3 times to my kmnowledge
    and food once. I was asked if I was going to make it my local and replied that until they could keep real ale on the pump at all times it was no good offering beer drinkers bottled and keg beer as this was not good enough. All young staff with no one seemingly in charge and front of house.
    A shame really as it isnt rocket science to run a pub.
    Watch this space, it could be empty again in three months.

    Reply

  • bushy

    4th August 2009 #16 Author

    Strolled along to the Boathouse for a light lunch today.

    Excellent menu selection – starters from £3 to £5, most expensive main is rump steak at £12. I had the hot goat’s cheese starter – excellent – and a glass of really nnice South African Sauvignon.

    But the most impressive thing was that all the staff were totally on the ball (unlike the previous incumbents!).

    I’ll be going again…

    Reply

  • bushy

    28th July 2009 #17 Author

    The Boathouse is now open again, and first reports are very good. Hope to try it in the next couple of days.

    Reply

  • cecantena

    11th July 2009 #18 Author

    The buzz is correct! The previous incumbents vacated the premises last Monday.

    Reply

  • cecantena

    11th July 2009 #19 Author

    Let’s hope the buzz is correct. At least professionalism will be
    prevalent if the Black Sheep management are involved.

    Reply

  • bushy

    7th July 2009 #20 Author

    The buzz on the street is that the Boathouse has changed hands in the last couple of days. The new team are apparently linked with the Black Sheep in Ryde.

    Reply

  • Mat

    29th May 2009 #21 Author

    I had a terrific lunch here today. Shared a huge plate of bread, cheese, meats and pickles all for £7.95. Great value and they couldn’t be more helpful. Can’t wait to go again for an evening meal and a few drinks.

    Reply

  • fishbourne

    4th December 2008 #22 Author

    I was looking forward to my night at the Boathouse – had taken the time to call in and make sure I had the best table – the champagne on chill and left instructions about the payment of the bill. Dissapointed all round – no greeting on arrival, had to request the champagne. Heating went off at 9.30pm, no wine list and no indication of prices, we were told after 3 bottles that there was no wine left? No cheese?? All this was farcical and we were able to laugh it off. But horrors when I went to pay the bill to find that one of my guests had paid after my specific instructions!
    There appeared to be no one in charge. At not one time did anyone ask if we were ok or even happy! The staff were young and far to inexperienced with no management. My party was of 6 and we will not recommend or go there again. Such a shame to take this attitude. We only wanted to enjoy ourselves.

    Reply

  • kj

    15th September 2008 #23 Author

    with there now being so many better places to eat on the Island, can’t say I’ll ever go back to the Boathouse under my own steam. The Food is ok, but the service is abysmal and in this competitve market that is just not good enough

    Reply

  • Kevin

    15th September 2008 #24 Author

    although i agree with most of the coments you made in yout reveiw , i felt you were being a tad hard on the boat house , i have dined at the boat house on four ocasions now and have found the food to be amazing and consisant every time and the prices fare , although it was slightly let down by the lack of a greeting the first time i dined it has done nothing but improved every time since . I hope we can all apreciate that this is a new buisness just finding its feet and hopefully all will come good for the boat house in time to come .

    Reply

  • GAVIN

    1st September 2008 #25 Author

    Been twice now, first when opened this Easter and then again in August…still finding its feet.

    On our last visit we had an unwelcoming greeting at the tills and the owners wife never made eye contact with us as the menus were handed over or made any other pleasantries. We waited for 30 mins for the first couse, a repeat of the problem we had on our 1st visit and when the food finally appeared, enquired about bread. Seemingly we should have asked for it! Odd attitude. The other young/inexperienced staff are equally out of their depth when dealing with the public.

    I was referred by the waiter as his ‘mate’ at Easter time when they ran out of the wine I first ordered. It seemed the staff felt uncomfortable waiting on tables and instead preferred to huddle at the till. On leaving in a huff first time with friends I asked the lady owner if the Boathouse was a restaurant or a pub. Her reply was it was a pub, as if it was an excuse for the extremely disappointing experience we had had.

    Our recent visit in August wasn’t as bad – the food was better, BUT there’s still no ambience, all the waiting staff need to go on a customer care course. It’ll be some time before we think about stepping back inside again.

    Reply

  • Olive

    16th August 2008 #26 Author

    I have dined at The Boathouse on three occasions with various family and friends. We have always been welcomed and enjoyed a throughly good meal. One of my guests has to have a special diet and with a few hours warning, this was supplied and she enjoyed her meal very much.

    Reply

  • Val

    14th August 2008 #27 Author

    My friend and I visited the Boat House with the intention of having a relaxing drink and something to eat. On arrival we were greeted by a po-faced barman with little in the way of customer service.

    On arrival we were greeted by a po-faced barman with little in the way of customer service.

    The interior has been very nicely upgraded and it seems a waste that the staff are letting in down badly. They do not seem to have any idea how to create a comfortable ambience and go about the place with an expression of resigned boredom.

    do not think we will be returning as a night out for us needs to include some interaction. I hope they can get their act together soon as the venue will go downhill very quickly otherwise.

    Reply

  • Janey

    5th August 2008 #28 Author

    We booked a table at The Boathouse having read the above review and comments, and duly turned up on Saturday evening wondering what it would be like – would we get fed? would we be thrown out?

    But I can say we were all pleasantly surprised, the food was great, the service competent(although some of the younger staff could do with a bit more training) and the atmosphere most enjoyable.

    We will definately be going back!

    Reply

  • Dan

    30th July 2008 #29 Author

    “The tired old pub has been replaced by a breezy, sailing-themed up-market eating destination: perhaps, rather than the Ryde plebeians, the new place is intended for the ‘down from London’ golden folk in Seaview.”

    highly offensive and completely out of place on what I thought was a nice relaxed site

    I would like to draw attention to the phrase “Ryde plebeians” in the above quote from your review…I really don’t think this particularly useful phrase to use when reviewing somewhere for its food! As a Ryde resident myself I find this highly offensive!

    Definition
    : A bum, a cheap person, a low class human being, the bottom of the barrel, an inferior person.

    As I said before – highly offensive and completely out of place on what I thought was a nice relaxed site by a couple wittering on about their enjoyment of eating out at pubs and restaurant – but is in fact clearly a social commentary on areas of the Isle of Wight they do and don’t like!

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for your comment Dan. If you’re a regular on this site you may as well get used to sarcasm – it’s unlikely to be off our menu for long. And as we are both Ryde residents like you, perhaps we were referring to ourselves…

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  • jane

    19th May 2008 #30 Author

    If you visit http://www.bembridge.com, there is a thread titled ‘The Boat House,Seaview.’
    There are some interesting comments about ‘Boat House’ on there.

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for that link, jane. To go straight to the forum comments about The Boathouse click here.

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  • Rick

    14th May 2008 #31 Author

    Could’nt agree more on above comments.Sad to see such a good effort in venue and menue slide down hill on such inexperienced front of house.No house wine!,DIY wine pouring service, no bill collection, no warm arrival greeting or leaving plus other nit pickings that add up to a big MISS! Sorry we will not be back for a while if at all.

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  • Ringo

    6th May 2008 #32 Author

    Yep, we can confirm most of the above. The food was good – and I think fairly priced for the type of place it is – but the staff were woefully inexperienced. Menus weren’t taken away, glasses were (at the wrong time), and waits were long.

    They’ve obviously spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the refurb so why spoil it all…

    Particularly irritating was the tendency of the young, untrained waitresses to stand in a huddle at the bar and chat/jiggle along to the music rather than look to see what needed to be done. Not their fault – they just haven’t been trained, and there is no-one senior keeping an eye on the front of house. They’ve obviously spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the refurb so why spoil it all by having no-one competent on the customer-facing side of things? Oh, and the music was too loud. We asked for it to be turned down, and it was for a while, then it was turned back up again and we obviously weren’t meant to notice. We did.

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  • kj

    5th May 2008 #33 Author

    well maybe the birthday party they let down at The Bank would like to know they have re-opened somewhere else

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  • Bushy

    4th May 2008 #34 Author

    Great venue, good food, a bit expensive but let down by disfunctional service and management.

    What can I add to this wonderful report? As a regular in Seaview’s other hostelries, I can confirm that the Boathouse is one of the main topics of conversation, with many of the comments being decidedly bitchy! My own brief experience of a bar meal confirms the general view: great venue, good food, a bit expensive but let down by disfunctional service and management – in particular, the feeling that no-one is in charge or has any feeling for the staff/customer relationship. Add to this the stories – some possibly libellous – about the reason why there is never any real ale available, and about the couple who complained and were told to leave. You two may have been lucky! Remember that it’s run by a chef (late of the Seaview Hotel): a breed not noted for good management or personnel relations skills!

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