At the scrag-end of a hot Sunday afternoon, Matt and Cat were in need of refreshment. Turned away from one establishment who saw eating as coming to an abrupt end at 5.45, they sought succour in June’s Fish Bar. It is neat and newly painted, but does not particularly stand out from the many tourist traps which litter Shanklin Old Village, so your reviewers entered with no great expectations.
The Fish Bar is an unpreposessing sit-down cafe, which also does takeaway fish and chips. Matt and Cat navigated their way through the strangely cluttered shop to take their seats. From this point on, the experience rapidly improved. The staff were very friendly, and despite the party arriving late on what had obviously been a very busy day for them, the place was clean and tidy, and the welcome was genuine and warm.
The menu was basic, but easy to understand – chip shop staples all round. The meals arrived very quickly, along with two hot cups of tea. The tea was hot and refreshing, with real milk. Not in pots – this was a fish bar, not a tearoom – but with china cups on saucers. The battered sausages eagerly consumed by junior reviewers Bill and Jack were very fresh, with thick, crispy batter that clung to the sausage as it should, rather than peeling away in a soggy mess. Unexpectedly, the chips were sublime – possibly the best chips this reviewer has ever tasted on the Island. Perfectly cooked and full of flavour, they had a springy texture that banished any thought of greasiness or flouriness.
On another occasion, the diners were delighted to see one of the serving staff strumming a guitar in a few idle moments – although this seemed to be for her own entertainment rather than any sort of performance, it was a long way from the piped music that pollutes some establishments, and well illustrates the unusually friendly atmosphere of June’s.
Your reviewers will undoubtedly be making further visits to sample some full fish meals from this unexpected gem.