Gorblimey! Now we know how Mary and Joseph felt a week or so before Christmas. (Christmas? Perhaps it was simply known as ‘Mas’ back then.) Trying to get dinner without a reservation at the height of the Island’s staycationing summer might be considered to be misfortune, to aspire to get a table during the high season in Bembridge is carelessness.
We started at Frampton’s, hoping for a seat at a pavement table or in its secret garden. Our enquiry was met with a shake of the bartender’s head. We schlepped our unbooked selves to Barbosa which, in its previous incarnation as Lockslane, was the venue for so many wonderful dinners. Not a hope here. Gossipy regulars were getting delightfully lubricated on wine while we stood dry-mouthed and expectant. And those expectations were again dashed.
We orbited in ever increasing circles, peering in the windows of the inexplicably closed Ganders. Not even trying at 33 St Helens, on the assumption it too would be shut – or at least to us – we headed to the Roadside Inn, Nettlestone. Surely they didn’t come for the community pub? When did that close??
Seaview Hotel didn’t get the chance to take our money as, screeching to a halt, we spotted that Seaview Pizza Kitchen, (housed in what is during the daytime Lily’s Cafe) was open. We had been so thwarted, whatever they were selling we were gonna eat it. The desirable pavement seats were by now all-but in darkness as the late afternoon sun was descending to twilight. So making our way to a table in the back of the cafe, we studied the menu in the gloaming.
That night at Seaview Pizza Kitchen, pizza was the only game in town. And it turns out that there is pizza and there is fusion pizza. First to mix it up was the ‘herbivore’ pizza. Standard vegetarian you might imagine; margherita base with melted mozzarella and maybe a drizzle of basil oil and a slice or two of mushroom; perhaps red onion. You’d be partially right, but this veggie pizza was also topped with Greek salad-inspired crumbled feta cheese fraîche and mixed olives. Alas the advertised peppers and roasted courgette were not available and not much in the way of meat-free substitute was offered – but then it had been a busy night for Seaview Pizza Kitchen.
Herbivore pizza £9.50
Curry pizza £9.50
Nonetheless the pizza was tasty; the sour cheese and red onion twanged their contrasting notes, and the base was pleasingly soft and chewy. There’s quite a fierce debate online about whether your foundation should be plump and yielding, or perhaps you fall into the thin and brittle camp? There are probably regional variations, all with their merits.
Reaching deep into the clown’s pocket of food fusion, Seaview Pizza Kitchen pulled out the silk scarves of that same margherita pizza knotted with chicken madras, which itself was attached to onion bhaji. Cat breathed in the aromas arising from little wooden paddle where world’s collided; Italian meets Indian. Indalian perhaps?
The curry pizza was remarkably good. Having had paneer only the once before and finding the acidic Indian cheese an unwelcome addition to her curry, it seems that the milder flavour of mozzarella is a better choice of cheese to accompany madras. Although interestingly both cheeses can be made with buffalo milk, cheese fact fans.
The tasty pizza was laden with tender cubes of marinated chicken breast, plus the sweet bhaji. The meat’s infused spices were at the milder end of the spectrum, enhancing rather than arguing with the flavours of the tomatoey pizza base. Fresh discernible coriander leaves were an appropriate herb to add to the dish and the whole lot was drizzled with a pokey mango yoghurt dressing. Shame the herbivore pizza missed out on some fresh herbs of its own – torn basil perhaps. Both pizzas could have benefitted from a quick roll from the pizza wheel too, then we could have shoved in the slices quicker. But it was no big deal, and the team kindly stayed on as we slowly finished up our meal.
Seaview in summer is a lively place; the village was bustling with people in salmon-coloured shorts collecting take-outs from Seaview Pizza Kitchen or just enjoying hanging out after over a year of social uncertainty. As the sun went down and the cafe’s lights went up we were happy that Seaview Pizza Kitchen had served us well after a busy (late) start to their season. Our fusion pizzas were a fun idea well executed – particularly the curry one.
This is the full-length version of the review first published in the Isle of Wight County Press.
- Decent pizzas
- Some interesting toppings
- Some toppings not available