Each town on the Isle of Wight has its own idiosyncratic style and ambience. Newport’s gentle hustle is hectic compared to the relaxed meanderers of Yarmouth’s town square. Ryde’s artsy shops contrast with Cowes’ yacht-centric commerce. And, in the summer, Cowes is particularly busy. As mentioned before in their review of the Bahar Tandoori Halal Restaurant, Matt and Cat usually resist visiting Cowes during August because it becomes London-by-Sea – if they wanted metropolitan life, they’d go to this country’s capital.
However, by accident rather than design they found themselves in the local A&E on Bank Holiday Monday (along with several refugees from Wight Air extreme sports festival). As this took a while, Matt and Cat forewent their intended trip to the cream tea shops of the West Wight. Matt was only able to hobble, having stubbed his toe on a particularly resistant bookcase, so they parked up in Cowes and fell into the nearest eatery which happened to be the Pier View.
This town pub is right on the main drag in Cowes, and as your reviewers found, very conveniently situated. Unusually, it’s built on a hill, so it has steps between its various small rooms. The pub has also recently extended itself into a nearby shop, giving it some more pavement frontage, which the smokers were busy patronising. Matt and Cat took a seat in the new area, looking out onto the bustling High Street. The straightforward menu bore reasonably-priced burgers, salads, ploughmans and sandwiches. A specials board was available but Matt and Cat both stayed on the menu, ordering a cheese burger and a cajun burger respectively. Matt took a pint of what proved to be rather chewy beer to dull the ache in his toe. Maybe Cowes drinkers have moved beyond bitter to the delights of Pimms and Magners on ice, but Matt does rather prefer it if he can trust a pub to serve up a decent pint when required; and not to rely upon the customers to let them know when the barrel needs changing.
Whilst waiting for the food, Matt and Cat noted a disadvantage of the huge picture windows onto the street – the crowds of frantically puffing smokers outside managed to fill the interior with their emissions as well. Still, at least it was legal.
The burgers arrived soon enough, and Matt and Cat tucked in with relish. Both meals were well-presented and pretty good, not too small, and with all the expected components. The statutory ration of raw onion was conveniently placed to allow easy removal. Satisfactory all round.
As Matt hobbled back up the hill, Cat patiently dawdling alongside, they met a pal and chatted about Cowes – reflecting on the pleasant meal they’d just enjoyed… yes, not too bad a place, even in August.
Pier View, Cowes