We had a big push on our Dining Club as Red Funnel promoted it to selected couples taking a short break to the Island. Consequently we received some more fabulous offers which we, and the club members, were delighted with. Find out more here.
And talking of loyalty cards, we had a delightful chat with one of the mysterious Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire, who run a successful scheme similar to ours (although it pre-dates us). Like the Matt and Cat website, LWL has been providing unbiased reviews since the days before Twitter, Facebook and even TripAdvisor (yes, kids, we started out when the internet was all fields).
The most exciting thing we heard all month – nay, all year! – was that we’d been invited to join a band of Island enthusiasts to present the best of the Isle of Wight to MPs, Lords and other London VIPs… right there in the Palace of Westminster! The day was a major publicity coup for the Island, with hordes of people coming to chat to the Islanders, and a ‘real’ dinosaur! While we were up in The Smoke, we took the opportunity to do a bit of reviewing.
We sent ‘fake Matt and Cat’ to review Cantina as the staff in there know us. We were pleased to see that they found it as unusual and interesting a venue as we do. We also updated our review of the Bugle at Brading.
Dining Club dinner: The George, Yarmouth “The staff at the hotel had pulled out all of the spooky stops; they looked fabulously ghoulish, and the venue was adorned with cobwebs, candelabras and some exquisitely-carved pumpkins.”
Having immersed ourselves in big city culture during our exciting trip to Westminster, we decided to take a holiday – to That London. We were there for nearly a week and sampled the delights of cafes, fast food joints and Chinese restaurants. We didn’t write any reviews but, when we compiled our pictures we noticed some distinct patterns in our eating habits!
We managed to find time to write up a review of The Hambrough. Having had a very disrupted start to the year the venue now has a new chef, who knows his onions – and smoked beetroot ketchup!
Seafood Corner in Newport opened. The shop, which is run by the people behind M&C fave street food ‘crab on chips’, sells lunches with a seafood angle – naturally.
Dining Club dinner: Chocolate Apothecary, Ryde “The surprise course was cheese and chocolate. It could have been all kinds of wrong – but it wasn’t!”
Our friends at the Khrua Thai have finally made the leap and opened a restaurant in Ryde. We popped in one Sunday lunchtime to try out the results of them ‘testing the new cooker’.
It’s been all change at the Ventnor Botanic Garden as madcap chef Martyn Cutler has left for pastures new (and, knowing him, he’ll probably have a go at grazing them!). We got the chance to try the cooking of the new chef Graham Walker, as he ‘popped-up’ at The Mission.
After its unexpected closure the White Lion in Arreton has reopened under the stewardship of Phil Mew, landlord of the successful Fighting Cocks in Apse Heath. We tried the valley’s second newest pub, the Merrie Garden, which we found pleasingly satisfying. After a particularly bracing stroll from Gurnard we had lunch in Eegons, Cowes and took the opportunity to update our review.
Dining Club dinner: Lakeside Park Hotel, Wootton Bridge “Thanks to the staff for such a lovely evening – and for not calling us ‘guys’!”