Despite the dismal (typical) British summer weather, Matt and Cat made a seasonal visit to Shanklin’s Old Village to mooch around the gifte shoppes and see what they could find to eat.
Unable to squeeze into Pavarotti’s, ignoring the singular sugary delights of the Rock Shop and the previously reviewed June’s Fish Bar, your reviewers happened upon Pendletons, a restaurant so politely understated that it is almost invisible amongst the blaring high-octane shop fronts of its neighbours. However, on the night that Matt and Cat visited, Pendletons offered that rare commodity in this bustling tourist Mecca – a table for two. So they took it.
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The menu at Pendletons boasted a good array of local produce. Matt and Cat felt spoilt for choice. An impressive range of pasta dishes with a choice of sauces; a wide selection of salads, and a good list of clearly described main courses, many of which had some local element to them. Your reviewers expansively ordered a plate of antipasto from the list of appetisers; and for the main meal, Matt was immediately drawn to Isle of Wight pan fried pork fillet with a creamy cider and wholegrain mustard sauce. Cat chose the analogous Isle of Wight pan fried chicken breast with garlic, fresh thyme and lemon butter. Both meals came with a choice of veg or salad, and Isle of Wight new potatoes. No, there was no extra charge for these, thank goodness.
There then followed a wait of some forty minutes – not unexpected, nor really unpleasant. It was the height of summer, Matt and Cat had just taken the last vacant table. A word of warning might not have gone amiss, though. Still, it gave M & C time to enjoy the cool interior of Pendletons: bright, clean and modern, it is the antithesis of the chintzy décor of venues elsewhere in Shanklin.
Eventually, the pleasingly generous plateful of antipasto rolled up – with an apology for its delayed arrival. It was an enticing range of little pickles and meats to nibble upon. Feeling peckish, the diners soon polished them off, and from there on, the arrival of the food was well-paced, and there were no more delays. The chirpy waiter, coming to remove the remains of the starter, cheerfully enquired “And how did we get on with that?”. After making polite reply, Cat reflected that his previous employment might have been in a care home. “I don’t look that old, do I?” she enquired. Matt replied “Eh, what say?”.
Soon, the main course arrived and Matt and Cat were both very pleased indeed with what they saw. Beautifully presented plates of meat, both with piping hot and steaming sauces, and alongside, satisfying bowls of fresh vegetables and potatoes. Cat rated her chicken highly: it was delightfully tender and garlicky, with the merest hint of tangy lemon butter. The fresh thyme really added to the overall flavour sensation – that was a special dish. Matt’s pork was almost as good – piles of the juiciest pork, generously topped with creamy and mustardy sauce. If only the Isle of Wight spuds had spent a little less time waiting in the kitchen they might have been as perfectly fresh as the accompanying veg.
Pan fried pork fillet £11.95
Pan fried chicken breast £10.95
Gooseberry & elderflower fool £4.95
2 x coffee £2.70
Much taken with the meal so far, Matt and Cat bravely summoned the dessert menu, and found it was called ‘Afters’. Matt wondered whether this was a northern affectation – it’s not often that you get offered ‘afters’ south of the Thames. Anyway, the menu proudly proclaimed that all the ‘afters’ were home-made, and there was a very good choice. Matt and Cat shared a gooseberry and elderflower fool that came with a dusting of fresh meringue – delightful.
Pendletons proved to be an unexpectedly sophisticated venue in the middle of touristy Shanklin. What’s more, the prices were keenly competitive, as could be expected from an eaterie situated in a row of rivals. For decent portions of good quality food at good value, Matt and Cat have no hesitation in recommending it.