By Jason Swain
Yesterday was my girlfriend’s birthday and seeing as she puts up with cooking for me and my son william all year round, i thought it might be a nice idea to treat her to a night off and take her to a fancy restaurant. Living in West Wight can narrow down the choices for fancy restaurants a bit, but luckily enough we do have a very very good one on our doorsteps with the new(ish) “Justin Brown at Farringford” in Freshwater Bay.
The tenuous surfing connections start right away, because our excellent waiter is also a surfer, who i’d first met at Compton a few months earlier, and its also one of only three restaurants i can think off where, if there is a good swell and the wind is in the right direction, you can hear the surf at Freshwater Bay (the others are the fat cat (at sandpipers) and the dandelion cafe).
At this stage I won’t try to pretend to be a food critic and waffle on like i really know what i’m talking about as they do on master chef (because i don’t) but I’m getting on a bit now, and I have eaten in my fair share of good restaurants all around the world (i’ve not always been confined to the western end of a small rock half way up the english channel) and i do know good food when i see and taste it. So I can say with some confidence, and some basis for comparison, that it was genuinely top quality food, and it was definitely a fantastic all round dining experience too. The service was first class, both waiters were friendly and knowledgable without being at all patronising (as I’ve found can be the case in some lesser establishments that were trying to be posh and mistook snobbery for class).
The food itself was not just delicious, but each dish was presented like a work of art, right down to the colour and textures of the plates, and each new course contained surprises, often a flavour combination that i hadn’t come across or even imagined before (raspberry and lemongrass soup for example!). As you might expect from a restaurant thats just been awarded two AA rosettes, It wasn’t the cheapest night out, and the bill was more than i could afford to do every week, but it was such a good meal that i left there thinking it was well worth the money to have food expertly prepared by someone at the top of their game and I will be going again as soon as i can and also recommending it to friends.
Finally, seeing as i’m a photographer and this is a photography blog as well as a surfing blog, i took some photos too, but very quickly and just with my iPhone hipstamatic, just to grab a bit of the colour and style in the dishes that were put before us.
I should also say that i’m not connected in any way to the restaurant, i’ve never met the chef, and they dont even have any of my photos on their walls!