The Boat House along the Duver in Seaview is a wonderful venue which just didn’t work – until now. It was once a decrepit old pub, which was expensively revamped a couple of years ago with high hopes. But never quite hit the mark with the holy trinity of eating out – food/service/price-point. All of a sudden it’s buzzing, what’s made the difference?
Why, it’s hit the food/pricing/service sweet spot. Boat House Mark One was a fine dining experience – ambitious menus, with prices to match, and somewhat starchy service. It really struggled to win a loyal following, especially out of season. Boat House Mark Two looked like it was onto a winner in the hands of Isle of Wight stalwort, Annie Horne, who runs Ryde’s elegant Liberty’s cafe/bar with such aplomb. Alas the island didn’t need a Liberty-lite, just ten minutes drive from the original.
Boat House Mark Three has been revived by the team from the New Inn (in Shalfleet). In its latest incarnation, the Boat House is, at last, what it should have been all along – a fish restaurant, and a reasonably-priced one at that. My plaice was caught in island-waters and was as fresh as it was toothsome. (Similarly glowing reports of the hake in a creamy, crab sauce. ) Desserts were stupendous – especially the lemon posset, the kind of old-fashioned pudding Queen Victoria might have relished on her Isle of Wight summers. For the first time in years this end of the Duver is alive again.