Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
St Helen’s Restaurant has closed and is now reopened as Dan’s Kitchen. The reviews and comments below refer to the previous owners. M&C will...

St Helen’s Restaurant has closed and is now reopened as Dan’s Kitchen. The reviews and comments below refer to the previous owners. M&C will be reviewing the new venue in due course!

St Helen’s Restaurant was first visited by Matt and Cat in 2006, shortly before it was awarded an impressive two AA rosettes. In 2009 it changed hands, and of course as with every restaurant the rosettes are no longer in place, until the new chef earns them. The original 2006 review is at the bottom of the page. Read on to see how the restaurant fared in 2010.

St Helens Restaurant

2010 review:
It’s a tough act to take a on a big job immediately after a well-known character has stepped down. Gordon Brown knows all about that – and look how far that got him. So St Helens’ head chef Jason West is a bold man to accept the challenge of measuring up to popular restaurateur Mark Young; who made quite a name for the little place.

As the sun was sinking over the downs, Matt and Cat wandered over the green and ambled into the restaurant soon after it opened for that evening. The venue looked quite the inviting bijou niche eaterie; its clean interior was unchanged with its bright paint and arty seaside prints by local artists. M & C were welcomed and shown to a window table, where they took a look at the menu, which had a short range of simply described but enticing dishes.

St Helens Restaurant oven-roasted fillet of beef with rosti potato, roasted shallots, carrots, and jus

Complimentary warmed rolls were offered and eagerly accepted. Matt also had a starter; before long he was eating chicken liver parfait with mango chutney and toasted brioche. He was a little taken aback by the stark presentation of this juxtaposition of ingredients. Neatly arranged, but devoid of any garnish or treatment, this promising-sounding starter turned out to taste as unremarkable as it looked. Matt also noticed with a moue of disapproval that after it was cleared away, the wineglasses were still on the table, although the diners were drinking water, and even the used sideplates for the bread remained in situ. Details, details. But at these prices, details count.

Cat, unusually, simply gave up half-way through her dessert, remarking that she had ‘got bored’ of it
St Helens Restaurant slow-cooked belly of pork with grain mustard mash, cabbage, crackling and black pudding

On to the main courses, and Cat’s choice was oven-roasted fillet of beef with rosti potato, roasted shallots, carrots, and jus. Jus, in this case, turned out to be a flavourless but attractive-looking brown gravy, on which an impressively large steak sat atop a rosti. Cat eyed her steak with suspicion, before cutting it open. Although the meat was described as oven roasted, it looked more like grilled or maybe pan-fried. Also, she’d asked for it to be medium, but a brief investigation with her tongue proved the interior of the meaty and still-bloody slab to be cool. This was a blue-rare steak; not at all an unusual way to enjoy a tender fillet, but definitely not the way of the Cat.

The waiter noticed this unusual activity and courteously came over to see if all was well, and Cat asked for a bit more heat to be applied to the steak. The St Helen’s dealt well with Cat’s request, and within a few moments M&C heard a loud sizzling in the kitchen. Soon the steak was whisked back to Cat, piping hot and just as she had requested. It was an excellent piece of meat, perfectly tender and encircled by tiny carrots. The tangy shallot was particularly tasty in comparison with the understated flavour of the rest. However, like a 1970s BBC TV production, the dish was all just a bit too brown.

Matt, in a echo of his choice at his 2006 visit, chose slow-cooked belly of pork with grain mustard mash, cabbage, crackling and black pudding. A neatly-piled stack of food arrived, anointed with that same brown gravy. Matt disassembled it and dug in. The mash was a creamy, tasty treat, full of mustard and a real complement to the meat. Sadly, this proved to be the only element of the dish which managed to rise above blandness. Even the crackling, whilst pleasingly crunchy, seemed somehow to have been created without the use of salt. Healthier, maybe, but this is crackling we are talking about here: it’s a polite version of porky scratchings. The pork itself and even the black pudding just seemed somehow flavourless. The mustard mash just wasn’t enough. Pork is a tricky meat – it always demands a powerful seasoning to go alongside it: something acidic, such as fruit, to cut through its fatty texture; or maybe something sweet, such as honey, to complement the flavour. St Helen’s offered neither of these – and they probably should have.

Matt and Cat’s bill
Chicken liver parfait £5.00
Belly pork £12.00
Fillet of beef: £19.95
Crumble £5.50
Cheesecake: £5.50
Total: £47.95

Dessert time, and Cat was taken with the sound of griotte cherry cheesecake with kirsch and crushed ginger biscuits. This came in a big glass, with the fluffy mixture underneath a layer of gingery crumbs. It looked very impressive, and little hints of fruit could be seen lurking within. Could the puddings redeem this insipid meal? Sadly not. Like the previous courses, this well-presented item simply did not measure up when tasted. The ginger biscuit was mild; the cheesecake mix was creamy and light, but tasted of nothing in particular – certainly no kirsch could be discerned. And the cherry fragments were tiny and added nothing. Cat, unusually, simply gave up half-way through her dessert, remarking that she had ‘got bored’ of it and dismissing it as empty calories. Certainly there was nothing wrong with it – as Matt proved by finishing it off – it was just dull. Matt’s own pudding was rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream. He was going to describe it, but just bringing it to mind induced such torpor in him that he dropped off to sleep at the keyboard. You’ll have to imagine it yourself.

There was nothing particularly wrong with it with Matt and Cat’s dinner, but equally there was nothing to make it notable. So, to rescue this meal from mediocrity what St Helens Restaurant really needed was something sensational, some memorable coup to make it really stand out in your reviewers’ minds. And, right at the last moment, it managed to do so, with the production of the bill. Yes, that was memorable alright. For two people, with no wine, nearly fifty pounds was a bit steep. This might have been worth the money had the two AA rosettes still adorned the door: but they didn’t, and it wasn’t.

2006 review:
Brown is the new black, gardening is the new sex, and gastro eating is the new nouvelle cuisine; welcome to the noughties. St Helens Restaurant, in the pretty village of (yup, you guessed) St Helens, has embraced this new metro-styling to create a fashionable and very popular venue.

St Helens Restaurant

St Helens Restaurant

Appearance is nearly everything, and St Helens Restaurant comes up trumps with its cool interior; pale wood flooring and white walls offering a pleasingly neutral backdrop to the splashes of colour provided by the locally painted seascapes on the walls.

Matt and Cat were lucky to get a table at short notice due to a last-minute cancellation but, dear readers, be advised that booking at this small and well-patronised restaurant is essential at all times.

Once seated, Matt and Cat’s party was given menus and had the specials explained, which was a nice touch. There were some mouth-watering dishes to choose from and, impressively, local provenance ingredients were identified. Matt and Cat were pleased to see meat from local farms and locally caught fish on the bill of fare. The good value too, caught the eye – mainland style, perhaps, but not mainland prices.

There was a good selection of starters; Matt chose slow-cooked belly of pork with apple and ginger sauce. Cat decided to save herself for the main course and declined a starter, but did not go hungry as a complementary platter of Italian bread with a dish of olive oil and vinegar was produced, to be grazed during the short wait.

Matt’s pork was beautifully tender, the sauce was subtly spicy and the dish was accompanied by a small serving of rocket leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar. A delicious combination of interesting flavours. There was even enough for Cat to have a little taster; she declared the pork ‘lovely’.

Although tempted by the Dover sole, pigeon and pheasant dishes, Cat selected Brownrigg chicken with leek and steamed French beans. As anticipated, the chicken, with its creamy sauce, melted in the mouth. The al dente French beans added colour. The meat was daintily served on a patty of leek and potato.

Matt had a Godshill Park Farm Aberdeen Angus Sirloin steak served with tangy peppered mushroom, grilled tomato, a small salad and, as the menu proclaimed, ‘proper’ chips. Were they, perhaps, an alternative to improper ones? The generous slice of steak had a great flavour and good texture without any stringiness: reminding Matt that it’s worth paying the premium for quality meat.

Very pleased with their food thus far, Matt and Cat’s eyes were drawn by the waiter to the dessert menu. Again, a tempting range was on offer including chocolate torte with almond and pistachio ice cream, and plum frangipane with brown sugar ice cream. Cat dithered over the selection and eventually opted for plum and apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. Matt had no such difficulty as, having a glass of delightful Concha y Toro Chilean Merlot to finish, he chose to accompany it with a selection of English cheeses.

The crumble was piping hot, having obviously just come out of the oven. The topping was lovely and crunchy and the fruit very tasty. Matt’s small but carefully served cheese selection included Stilton and smoked cheddar, with a rich chutney, freshly cut apple and celery alongside a warm sliced walnut loaf – this sounds odd but really was an interesting and enjoyable accompaniment to cheese.

For the entire time that Matt and Cat were in the restaurant it was busy with lively Christmas parties. Some of the other patrons were clearly regulars and were greeted by the chef, no less. The atmosphere was loud, cheerful and very enjoyable – although perhaps this might not always be the place for an intimate conversation.

St Helens Restaurant has a well-deserved good reputation. The food is outstanding, and the restaurant achieves a commendable emphasis on local produce whilst still presenting an interesting and varied menu at sensible prices. Matt and Cat are very happy to endorse it.
St Helens Restaurant

  • Celebrated my birthday here on chritmas eve. It was wonderful! The atmosphere, the staff and of course the amazing food! Would love to go back again SOON! x Happy New Year! x

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    The portions may have increased due to my comments above. When I mentioned the portion size to the waitress, she remarked that others had made the same comment. Surprising she would admit to that.

  • DFL says:

    We visited Dan’s Kitchen for the first time this weekend, and had a very good Sunday lunch. Very pleasant, smiley service, and delicious food. The wine wasn’t expensive but was very good quality (esp the pollock fish and chips).

    In contrast to the comment above, I didn’t find the portions at all stingy.

    We will definitely be going back there.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    When we tried Dan’s Kitchen we found the food beautifully cooked and tasted delicious. Our only misgiving was the portion size. The fish was approximately 4 inches square and the chips numbered 6 (I counted them). I suppose this is what one has to expect from a restaurant which one might describe as nouveax cuisine. I have eaten in such places before where the food is seated on an ocean of white platter (space)

    Last week we had fish and chips at the Folly. The fish was 13 inches long and 5 inches across, the chips covered the plate and were piled up. All this for the same price as Dan’s kitchen. In the winter months they will do two of those for one price. Two plates of gigantic fish and chips for £4.50 each. I prefer this because I have a big appetite and restaurants like Dan’s don’t realyy suit me.

    On the other hand my wife likes Dan’s but with me it is value for money. I don’t care how many times the chips are cooked or how delicious they taste, for over £9 I expect to leave the table with a full stomach. What I had on my plate I would eat as a snack.

    I am obviously a philistine and have no place in such gourmet establishments. Will probably stick to pub food and greasey spoon cafes in future! My wife will have to visit Dan’s on her own!

  • Bushy says:

    We finally got around to trying Dan’s kitchen on Friday, and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening

    I normally have reservations about chef-run restaurants as the “front of house” experience does not always match up to the food. This was certainly true of the St Helen’s restaurant in its original guise, where we had two poor experiences: once when we were the only people there and the atmosphere was like a morgue, and once when the evening was ruined by unruly children for the early part of the evening and a crowd of loud and drunken yachties later on: both situations compounded by the complete lack of anyone with any authority out front.

    Fortunately, Dan’s Kitchen employs proper (dare I say, more mature?) serving staff who are efficient, friendly and know what they are talking about, and help to make the whole evening a pleasurably experience.

    The food is a nice combination of old favourites (like their take on fish & chips) and more gourmet combinations – all using excellent ingredients.

    My only comment (which is not a criticism, and is one we passed on to the staff) is that at the start of the meal the vegetarian menu is offered as an alternative, rather than the dishes being included on the main menu. Even confirmed carnivores occasionally like to “mix and match” their starter and main course, and I might very well have tried the caramellised onion tart if I’d known it was on offer!

  • Louis & Steph says:

    Having seen the former St Helens restaurant receiving a make over this summer, we visited Dan’s Kitchen last week for an evening meal with freinds and the whole experience was superb. The atmosphere is relaxed, staff are extremely welcoming, and the menu first class. As a St Helens resident, we are now privileged to have this restaurant on our doorstep – the best meal we’ve had on the Island in years. Can’t wait to go back!

  • Matt burr says:

    Had a very enjoyable lunch here today. Fish and chips were excellent and my wife’s plaice on butternut squash risotto was delicious good luck to all at Dans kitchen.

  • C & R says:

    I do hope so! 🙂

  • da yw wyth says:

    Ah – maybe then C&R it was your family that I spotted from the bus in the Vine having a lovely inclusive family meal…! 🙂

  • C & R says:

    No Paul, this is not acceptable. I was not entirely disagreeing with your first post. I refer back to what I said about a responsible and respectful approach. It is not only irresponsible towards very young children but also disrespectful to other diners to have cranky young children in restaurants at the later times that you mention.

    When we dine out with our children, we always request the very earliest slot, ie when the place opens. I think you will find that the majority of child free diners do not wish to eat at these early times. We have always dined out with our children and thus they are on the whole very well behaved when doing so. I disagree with your opinion that learning should be confined to the home. There is a wealth of learning to be had from being provided with a wide variety of experiences. Some of our friends never took their children to restaurants and found the whole thing extremely stressful when they began to do so. Mainly because their children had no awareness of the expectations.

    I reiterate, I am not attacking your opinion or in any way being uncivilised, merely putting my thoughts across. Your comment that young children should not be out in public places after 6.30pm is perhaps a little unrealistic. What about those children who are enjoying a holiday with their families? Or are celebrating a special occasion or event?

    And finally, parents of young children also enjoy a good quality evening meal after a stressful day at work, although in an ideal world not late at night!

    Oh and we have eaten in The Vine, and very nice it is too.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Sorry Cat, the last comment was out of order. I do find it annoying, however, when parents of children under 3 years of age think it acceptable to have them in public places after say 6.30pm when they should be in bed. I am reminded of a conversation I overheard in Appley Manor restaurant. A family with a baby in arms were in the restaurant after 10.30. The baby had been crying most of the evening. They actually left the restaurant, not for the sake of the child, but the fact that the dog at home needed attention! This could be construed as child neglect.

    With respect to C and R I ask this question for their response. Is it acceptable for a child under 3 to be sitting in a high chair in a restaurant after 8.00pm? Yes or no?

  • Cat says:

    We’re enjoying the lively debate about children’s place in restaurants but please keep it civil! Thanks.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    It all depends on the age of the children. A child in a high chair has no conception of a dining experience be it a Michelin star restaurant or a greasey spoon cafe. As I said in my previous post, it was too late in the evening for a baby to be sitting in a restaurant. Older children can sit with parents for an evening meal, the children in the restaurant when we dined should have been in bed at that time. They were far too young to be sitting in a restaurant. How does a baby learn to act responsibly in a restaurant when they have no concept of where they are?

    If you think, correctly, that children should learn to sit at table then the home is the best place for tuition, or a lunchtime meal. As you are the responsible parent of two young children, do you not agree that they should be in bed at a reasonable hour, not sitting in a restaurant after 8.00pm grizzling due to tiredness and disturbing adults endevouring to enjoy a quiet evening possibly after a stressful day’s work? Any chance of hiring a baby sitter.

  • da yw wyth says:

    I don’t think that the overstimulated atmosphere of the Bugle actually makes for happy children, any more than the understimulated sense of urgency in preparing the food makes for happy diners. If you want my tip go to the nearby Vine, St Helens, where a glance in through the window reveals children not left unattended to scream and shout, but happily and contentedly included as part of an enjoyable evening out…

  • C & R says:

    Have you sampled the food at The Bugle recently??! I agree that parents should act responsibly and respectfully when it comes to dining out with young children, but, as a parent of two small children myself, I do not feel I should be excluded from enjoying an early evening meal because I chose to have children! Surely the issue here is the above mentioned responsible approach. How can children learn to behave appropriately in a restaurant if not provided with the opportunity to do so? Perhaps it is the very fact that they rarely get chance to dine in places other than those providing play areas that leads them to think all eateries are an opportunity to do just as they please? I personally do not favour providing children with the distraction of play when they really should learn, in my opinion, that sitting together as a family for dinner is how it should be done. Maybe I’m old fashioned?!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    On the contrary, Ringo. Dan’s Kitchen is a confined space. Noisy children disrupt diners disproportionately. Parents should take children to places catering for children – e.g. The Bugle in Brading. You might note that the Bugle has a children’s menu which is absent at Dan’s Kitchen. We avoid the Bugle for that very reason.

    As a separe matter, at the time we were eating, all four of those children should have been in bed. Hence the reason for the noise, the child in the high chair was plainly tired. Today’s parents appear to take the view that having children should not cramp their style or their social pleasures. If they desire to eat out or visit pubs until 11pm then the children have to come with them. I have seen babies, weeks old, in pubs at 10.30pm crying constantly through tiredness. When our son was little our day finished around 6.30pm We understood that evening entertainment was out of the question while we had responsibilities. we did not inflict a whinging child on the general public.

  • ringo says:

    Oh come on, I’m sure even you lot were children once. Restaurants are not libraries. (Remember those?)

  • I have to say I agree with Pauls comment about children and this particular venue. It was a an anniversary for us, and we were on the verge of leaving. The food and lovely staff made up for it and we certainly won’t let this put us off.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    We visited Dan’s Kitchen on Thursday. The friendly staff showed us to a nice table by the window. Our requests were accommodated despite cod not being on the menu that evening. The complimentary bread and olive oil was a pleasant surprise. When our meal arrived we were somewhat disappointed by the portion size, however the fish was sweet and succulent and the three times cooked chips were delicious.

    On remarking about the portions, we were told that others have also mentioned this and the chef allocates these on the basis that diners are having three courses. This seems to be a strange interpretation to assume that all diners will have three courses. A portion should be appropriate irrespective of other courses taken. She did say that we could request extra chips in future if only ordering one course.

    Not entirley satisfied but not wishing to create a fuss we accepted complimentary coffees. These arrived with delicious home-made amaretto bicuits. The dining experince was somewhat marred by a family with four noisy young children, one of whom was still in a high chair siting near. We feel young children are inappropriate for this venue and the proprietor should consider allowing children of over 10 years only.

    On balance, it was a pleasant, reasonably-priced evening and we appreciate this is a new venture for all concerned and hopefully these matters will be addressed. We will return again in the near future.

  • The best meal we have had in ages! Lovely friendly service…we shall be back!

  • Genevieve says:

    Just had the most superb supper at Dan’s Kitchen! Lovely atmosphere and delicious food. Unfortunately (most of us) too full for dessert however those of us who managed to squeeze it in very content! Thanks must go to Carla (Dan’s wife) for the great welcome and service. We’ll be back!

  • Lee K says:

    Enjoyed a fantastic Sunday lunch with our 2 kids at Dan’s Kitchen this week. Superb quality food and attentive pleasant service – such an improvement on this place’s last useless incarnation and it is bound to become an IoW gem if they keep it up. My eldest daughter and I enjoyed the amazing pork belly starter – never tasted better – beautiful tender meat and scrummy crackling – bliss! The roast beef main course didn’t disappoint either. Roasties and meat cooked to perfection, veggies just tender and portions very generous for such a reasonable price. Our youngest daughter even ate the veggies on her pasta dish – unheard of! Too stuffed myself to manage pud but kids enjoyed theirs very much and talked incessantly about what they would have on their next visit! Guess I’m going to have to get myself more organised on our next trip to the Isle – advanced booking for this place is going to be obligatory. Congratulations Dan – you deserve much success and we look forward to visiting you again soon.

  • Liz G says:

    Had dinner on Saturday night for our wedding anniversary. They managed to squeeze us in, and we didn’t realise they had only just opened. We had never been to the St Helen’s before it became Dan’s Kitchen. It was superb. I had the prawn and brown shrimp cocktail, which had pickled carrot, cucumber and onion in it. Truly delicious and refreshing on a warm summers evening. My husband had a smoked haddock and spring onion risotto. Delicious and the perfect serving size for a starter. For mains we both had lobster from the specials board with a side of three-times fried chips. Mmmmmm…. (nuff said) Pudding was a summer fruit pannacotta (not too much gelatine and just right) and a banana tart tatin, all washed down with a bottle of pink prosecco. One of the highlights came with coffee. They were home-made, still warm and meltingly yummy amaretti biscuits. All the details were done simply and well – no mean feat. Everything down to the bread (which I gather comes from artisans at The Island Bakers) was well done. Staff were brilliant and there was no hint of finding their feet other than the shiny new enthusiasm that was everywhere… keep up the good work.

  • Ringo says:

    Tried out what was St Helens Restaurant in its new incarnation as Dan’s Kitchen yesterday and it was excellent. Quality ingredients cooked simply but imaginatively and served at very reasonable prices – our two-course lunch cost 15 pounds a head. Very pleasant and attentive staff too – one of the waitresses sacrificed her order pad so that our little one could have something to doodle on! Best of luck in your new venture Dan, you deserve to succeed if you can maintain this sort of standard. We will spread the word in St Helens and beyond!

  • Bob says:

    The st helens restaurant has closed about 4 months ago

  • Lady Eloise says:

    Just enjoyed a lovely christmas meal at St Helens, the 3 cource meal was faultless by all who attended and a lovely relaxed atmosphere created by the staff. Thankyou! got a voucher and booked again for their great winter deal £15.95 2 courses and a glass of wine! or 3 courses £18.95 and a glass of wine! looking forward to our next visit.

  • Factalicious Freddie says:

    Only 3/4/5 rosettes are removed on chef change. One & two rosettes are retained until reassessment. A reassessment is due it seems.



    Matt and Cat respond: well spotted, Fred, you are correct. Thanks for putting us straight.

  • OC says:

    It was the first time we came back to this restaurant after the change of ownership last year
    The website was different but the menu contained some of the old favourites and a table was still available for Saturday evening on a bank holiday weekend
    On entrance we were promptly greeted by what by our guess must have been the patron’s parents and escorted to our table which despite our late arrival was one of the nicer ones in the venue. There was still local art on display and for sale, and the walls seemed to have been treated to a fresh lick of paint – So far so good
    As there was no blackboard (because we were late or they don’t do it any more) we studied the menu and were promptly informed that some of the choices had run out (no critic here, shows the use of fresh, local -and hence limite- produce) and made our choices
    We settled for one of our favourites to start with – local crab cake, which was just lovely, moist inside crispy outside and very tasty. A slight letdown was the accompaning salad, which was certainly fresh and local but had not seen any dressing whatsoever, and whilst I am prepared to accept this in a pub it’s a turnoff in a restaurant. Also the bread arrived a tad late and was clearly defrosted – although most probably made on the premesis before freezing (again perhaps explanatory with our late attendance, but still I’d rather have none)

    Keep up the good work and you will doubtlessly suceed

    The mains were faultless, exeptional tender ribeye with a zesty sauce and great handcut chips, cooked exactly to my liking and very fresh and nice skate wings, panfried, the same great chips – unfortunately the same undressed salad as well
    A creme brulee with locally made cookies rounded a pleasant meal which in summary has still a way to go to meet the ambition of the owner to get back the 2 rosettes, but was good value for the money and better than a lot of others.
    The service was personal and friendly, and the premisies were upgraded by enhancing what was nice before rather then changing things for changes sake- also no pressure despite our late arrival
    Keep up the good work and you will doubtlessly suceed – I cannot comment on old or new after dinner mints as these seem to have been removed to “calm” the waters….

  • steve and tracy says:

    Our reply back to lesley was no way aimed at mark and the way he ran the restaurant it was just to get our point across that we are trying to improve the restaurant.We all make mistakes.Sorry mark.

  • Larnes says:

    What a pity the new owners of a previousy extremely successful restaurant felt the need to use a public forum to launch a personal attack on Mark. Mark’s reputation and the two rosettes he achieved during his time at the St Helen’s are going to take some beating, it sounds like it could be a case of sour grapes.

  • Sorry to hear lesley did not like the hygienically wrapped mints or butter perhaps she would prefer to go back to mints in a big bowl full of dust how mark use to serve them.Sorry to hear there was no atmosphere for lesley but the music was playing and nothing else has changed.Sorry to hear you dont like our new menu holders perhaps she prefers the dirty used piece of paper that was used by mark most restaurants we have been to have menu holders.Some people just dont like change.

  • Lesley says:

    We returned to what has been one of my favourite restaurant for the first time since Mark sold up at the end of 2009. While the food was good the restaurant lacked any atmosphere whatsoever; it will be a long while before we decide to risk it and return again. This was an expensive place to eat before, but worth it because the overall package was enjoyable. Not any more.

    The service was wooden – and the “little” touches like individual catering portion butter and individually wrapped mint imperials are not appreciated. One word of advice – ditch the awful plastic green menu books that the menu now gets inserted in – this is the stuff of cheap cafes, not the St Helen’s Restaurant.

  • Carole says:

    Recently changed hands and is well worth going to for a delicious meal. See the new website for upto date menu.

  • Bushy says:

    Another restaurant that has apparently changed hands recently – possibly worth a new rev iew…?

  • Looby says:

    I can’t fault the food it was lovely as always however service seems to have declined a little, whether the restaurant was having an off night I am not sure, but all our meals came out at different times(table of 7) and the time diffrence between the first and the last dessert appearing at the table was over 20 minutes. We also had to constantly attract attention to ensure we did not expire from thirst………so a little bit disappointing especially as I had taken relatives there who I had raved to about the place…it won’t put me off dining there again but I will speak up if the service is lacking when we return.

  • Helen says:

    I’m scratching my head at Oz’s comment. I have never found St Helens pretentious AT ALL.
    It’s lovely!

  • oz says:

    i visited this restaurant on friday visiting from the mainland with my wife bit of a fuss over nothing if you ask me portions were small prices were high all a bit pretentious wont be going back

  • hilary says:

    Have just had yet another wonderful meal at this fantastic restuarant. The food is fresh using local produce , with excellent service . The owner Mark is an amazing chef and he deserves to do well in the uktv food competition . Tim and I are very lucky to live in a village with such an amazing restuarant on our door step.

  • mark says:

    Thank you for your kind words Dave, we are really glad you enjoy our sunday lunch at the St Helens. On the chair front we are working on replacing the furniture but economics are a controlling factor as we havent been trading for long. We would be more than happy to provide some extra cushions for your parents sensitive derrieres should you wish to bring them to sample our weekly roast.

    As for vegetarians ordering the sunday lunch meat free we feel we should warn that the great flavour of our crispy roast potatoes should be attributed mainly to the wonderful duck fat we render from our Brownrigg ducks and slowly roast said potatoes in!! although if pre warned we could use olive oil for any one desiring a meat free roast.

    Finally admiral of you to give your fennel seed crackling to your hound I would find it difficult to part with mine!

    Best wishes to you, we look forward to your next visit. and well done to Matt and Cat keep up the good work we find this site fasinating, a great way to keep us caterers on our toes.

    Mark Young Chef/owner The St Helens

  • dave says:

    We like St. Helens Restaurant all the time but it is lovely on Sunday at lunchtime. You could take your Golden Retriever down Mill Lane along the Duver and Causeway and back to the Green for a brisk 40 minute walk. Your cheeks will be red and your dog will be happy and best of all, you will have developed a hearty appetite. Pop the pooch in the car and head on into the cosy atmosphere. We always request a table in the small room with the fire. It’s cosier and nice and warm. You can rely on the staff of this small restaurant to welcome you and make you feel at home.

    Today I had the pork roast with fennel crackling. I saved my crackling for the hound. If you’re like me, then you’ll enjoy the wonderfull veggies. We had sweet roasted carrots, steamed greens, and purple sprouting broccoli cooked to a crunchy perfection. My favourite is the cauliflower and leek casserole with a lovely bechamel sauce. If I was a vegetarian, I would come here and order the Sunday roast, but hold the meat. I’m glad that I’m not a vegetarian, because the roast pork was very tender and flavoursome. The roast potatoes are very nice too.

    If I had a criticism, it would be this. Get more comfortable chairs. We wanted to bring my elderly parents but their scrawny derrieres require more substantial cushioning. We had to take them to Mojacs in Cowes. Lovely seats. Great food too.

  • susan scofield says:

    we went to st helens restaurant for their advertised sunday brunch. They had run out of muffins and maple syrup and marmalade and then cafetieres. It was only 11 o clock so they had only been open an hour and we had booked and it was less than half full.

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