Visited Barton on Sea with my partner in 2011 to enjoy some sunshine by the seaside. Ended up in this restaurant after 2 hour search for some good local fish restaurants in the area. Most of the restaurants were either opening late or were fully booked and as we were about to turn the car and head back to London we spotted The Cliff House Hotel.
Please note this review is based on the restaurant food and service, we did not stay there overnight.
The Menu looked promising with local crab and turbot on the list.
We were dressed in jeans and t-shirts so when we asked at the reception if they have any space they hesitated for a few moments but then confirmed they have availability. I understand jeans and t-shirts are not really welcome as the place is very elegant and the guests who were already dining were dressed quite smart.
We got a table in the Sunroom part of the restaurant. The view is magnificent and very relaxing and i totally liked it!
We were served straight away, staff was extremely attentive and polite something you would experience in high quality or Michelin star restaurants in London.
As my partner was driving we did not order any wine, but i had a 1/2 pint of german lager. We also got 2 bottles of sparkling water and freshly squeezed orange juice. Lager was very good.
We were served with complimentary bread and butter, they have a selection of different bread slices to chose from, i opted for tomato bread which at the end i found slightly dry, i would say 2 days old.
Starters arrived 15 minutes after order.
Smoked Mackerel Fishcake with Tartare sauce @ £6.95
I am always sceptic when it comes to fishcakes as most of them are made with 90% of potato and 10% meat, but was pleasantly surprised, it was excellent, lovely texture with chunky bits, tartare sauce was very tasty i would say it was homemade. Portion was on a large side, but i am sure many will take it as a plus!
Double baked Dorset “Coast” Cheddar Souffle with cream and chives @ £7.95
Light and tasty, not too cheesy, something different, my partner loved it, said it was so good he wanted another one!
It all started positive but the service let us down as the mains arrived 30 min after we finished the starters.
Our mains were:
Turbot Cutlet with garlic and thyme, new potatoes @ £18.95
Baked Dorset Dressed Crab, blended with Mustard, Cayenne, Nutmeg with a Parmesan Crust, New Potatoes, Seasonal Salad @ £17.25
Turbot was succulet and perfectly cooked, with some sad looking potatoes, spinach was slightly overcooked. Not something you would expect for £19
My crab was served with two potatoes, crab was extremely rich and little bit too salty, but i was shocked to see one of the potatoes was rotten! I noticed this when i already had some of the crab and i didn’t want to complain because we waited for the mains so long and i couldn’t imagine waiting for another half an hour for a new main to arrive, so i finished off the crab and had a few bites of non-rotten potato. I really couldn’t believe that such classy hotel restaurant would even think to serve rotten potato! Both potatoes were in a bad state, full of holes where they removed roots or dark bits. I wonder if the chef was aware of this….
Desserts were served within 15 minutes after clearing the table.
All desserts priced @ £6.50
Banoffee Pie, Pecans, Caramel Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream
Baked Chocolate Mousse, Caramelized Oranges, Vanilla Cream
Banoffe was very light and not too rich. My partner was very pleased. I wish i could say the same for my dessert…Extremely bitter chocolate, so called caramelized orange which was basically just a fresh orange piece. The only good thing was vanilla ice cream. very disappointing.
I don’t think this was worth the money. Yes, the fish was OK, well prepared, beautiful seaview from the Sunroom, but that’s all.
I have to say i would never go back to a restaurant where they serve rotten potatoes to a customer, that’s for sure