Every festival veteran has their own top tips for survival. Suncream, dry shampoo and lots of toilet roll are your basic essentials. And, for advice on where to eat check out Matt and Cat’s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide. If you’re coming to the 2010 Isle of Wight Festival keep an eye out for our regular updates from the showground where our guest reviewer Wendy will be giving feedback on some of the grub you can buy to eat on site.
However, outside of the festival compound are some great eateries; you will pass a quite few of them on your way to the site. We can’t possibly list them all, but here’s Matt and Cat’s quick and simple guide to good eating places aimed at festival-goers on foot. There’s nothing too far from the beaten track, and nowhere too posh so you won’t feel out of place in your Hunter wellies and battered straw trilby. Every one’s a winner: follow the links for full reviews.
If you hit land in Ryde you’re in luck as there’s a huge range of food to tempt you here, and most of it’s pretty good. Walk up Union Street to find a lot of decent takeaways and sit-downs – don’t stop at the first one you see, unless it’s the Hong Kong Express.
Café: Missy J Café, on the corner of George Street and Cross Street. This cute little café is one of several in the area, and a new addition to Ryde. Well worth a visit.
Sit-down: Olivo, Ryde, Union Street. This lively Mediterranean restaurant has a Newport branch too – both are great fun with quick and excellent food at reasonable prices. Further down the hill Matt and Cat would like to give a shout out for the slightly more up-market Liberty’s, a classy venue with great food plus cocktails and coffee.
Take away: Chipmunks fish and chips, Monkton Street. Slightly off the beaten track but well worth the short walk from the esplanade. Also Alexander’s fish and chips, John Street. Do not go to the Codfather.
In East Cowes
East Cowes has a few eateries to choose from, some worthy of note.
Café: Sea Breeze Café, York Avenue. Right down in the town, this combines a café, coffee shop and chip shop – all are excellent. And it’s right next to the supermarket, so take the opportunity to top up on bogroll and sun-cream.
Sit-down: Lifeboat Inn, East Cowes Marina. If you’re looking for this one, use satnav or ask a local. It’s well hidden but worth the hunt as they serve some interesting and tasty pub grub.
Take away: Purple Mango, Castle Street. A modern and well-appointed Indian, which even has an indoor water feature, to remind you what running water looks like.
If you make landfall in Cowes, you’ve hit the posh bit. Don’t worry, it’ll soon look like a festival so don’t be put off by all those guys in deckshoes and faded pink chinos. But if you want to eat, you’re spoilt for choice – just wander the long High Street.
Café: Cowes is rich in cafés as those itinerant yacht crews always need feeding. Take your pick of a very good crop; try the idiosyncratic Eegon’s.
Take away: The Bahar Tandoori Halal Restaurant. For the authentic 1970s experience, this is a retro curry-house that will transport you back to the days of Hendrix and Dylan… and Richard Branson.
Sit-down: DB’s, Bath Road. A simple restaurant offering good food. Not very big, so don’t go en masse!
Around the festival site itself are some great places to eat. As well as a whole load of enterprising but temporary food wagons that pop up overnight, here are some stalwarts that won’t let you down.
Café: BLT Café, Riverway industrial estate. A cracking little place in the style of a classic transport café, perfect for those enjoying the festival at a discount rate from the, ahem… fashionable ‘West Bank‘. At the top of the High Street is possibly the best café on the Island, Original Phil’s.
Tea room: God’s Providence House, St Thomas Square. You’re on the Isle of Wight so have a cream tea, why don’t you?
Enjoy the 2010 festival, and don’t forget to leave comments here to tell everyone about your experiences of the local food, plus let us know where else you recommend!