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A la Colthard: Rick Stein/Sandbanks

My readers know how mistrustful I am on restaurants with views. I also believe reputations are there to be punctured not lauded. So when Bob Tickler’s godson aunt and uncle Hattie and Tom booked the Rick Stein overlooking the bay at Sandbanks I was sceptical on both counts. In fact it proved a pleasant and recommendable dining experience.

Rick Stein has certainly expanded from the early days when he started the Seafood restaurant at Padstow.

I was there in the eighties as I knew the person, a dishy bit of rough (an ex-boxer) who sold the premises to him. He now has so many outlets in Padstow it’s been renamed Padstein.

He was one of the first chefs to glamourise and (if there is such a word) to celebratise cooking.

Hattie told me that the Rick Stein at Sandbanks was originally the Cafe Shore, an old fashioned restaurant with dinner and dancing. Now it has had a total refurb, is light and spacey.

A glass window gives out on the harbour.

Although Hattie booked the table some months ago, specifying a table near that window, we were given a table the back. To be fair it was explained as we were a five, this was impossible.

There was a £26 lunch menu. This has 3 choices for every course.

I plumped for white gazpacho. I am something of a connoisseur of gazpacho – normally a chilled tomato soup delicious with garlic and ideal for the summer. The best I have experienced is the sanmorejo at Eslava in Seville. Here I expected something of vichyssoise but the soup contained grapes and truffle oil and was extremely tasty.

This was followed by grilled hake in pesto sauce. Again extremely flavoursome as you expect from Rick Stein with its fish reputation. The only disappointment was a too dry plum tart with vanilla ice cream. Tom spoke highly of his Mexican rice pudding. The bill with 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc was £40 per person without service which unusually these days was left to the diner’s discretion.

Daphne Colthard
About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts