Last weekend I took a little belated holiday with my partner to the Isle of Wight, a calm, sunny island off the southern coast of England.
The reason I’m including this in a blog post is because despite being a seaside holiday destination I also got to try some delicious spicy food. On the three nights we ate out I never had a bad meal and if you’re planning a holiday there soon here are my recommendations.
After leaving Portsmouth harbour on our ferry we soon docked at our destination and took the short car drive to our hotel in Shanklin. Luckily on the way there was my first ‘must-see’ attraction. The popular “House of Chilli” where you can buy pretty much anything chilli related.
We arrived just before closing time and had the shop to ourselves. The address for the shop is Holliers Farm, Branstone, Isle of Wight PO36 0LT.
Here you can buy chilli plants, chillies, chilli sauce, chilli alcohol, chilli peanut butter, chilli rock…CHILLI EVERYTHING!
I went on a mission to try as much as possible before closing time. I tried a multitude of sauces ranging from hot to “oh my god, I’m actually going to die”. I also tried the peanut butter but wasn’t that impressed.
I then decided on some souvenirs which I will go into more detail in a future post. Since I’ve arrived back I haven’t had a chance to try them yet but I’m very excited! Psycho juice hot sauce, some chilli vodka and of course some seaside chilli rock.
Moving on, we arrived at our guesthouse The Ryedale, which I will recommend as an excellent place to stay. Not only were we given a friendly welcome, delicious breakfast every morning and a cosy room, but they also recommend all the places we ate at – and they were spot on!
During the day we walked on the beach, visited a few historical hot spots and chilled out. At night we were lucky to have some great restaurants just round the corner.
Black Cat Restaurant, 83 High Street, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 6NR
The first night we fancied Thai food and we weren’t disappointed with Black Cat. Despite the name I saw no cats, but quite a lot of elephants.
The menu offered lots of choice. After some spring rolls for starters, I choose the Panang prawn curry with kaffir lime leaf & peanuts and the great thing about the curry was you could pick your heat. ‘Mild’, ‘medium’, ‘hot’ and ‘very hot’. After hearing one guy struggle with hot I decided to stay at hot. I was right to do so as ‘hot’ was very hot so ‘very hot’ must be apocalyptic. I chose stemed sticky rice with coconut to go with the curry. A very yummy combination. It was perfect for me. Big thumbs up for Black Cat.
The Steamer Inn, Shanklin Esplanade, Isle of Wight, PO37 6BS
This place was our favourite. We went here three times over the course of the holiday, once for a meal and twice for a beer by the beach. The beer choice is great here and the restaurant is right on the sea front. It was always busy and as it opened late, it was our go to place for late night drinks.
On the second night we decided to try the food as it smelt so good. The menu includes pub favourites such as cottage pie, a range of burgers including the Taj burger and a seafood selection. I struggled to decide right up until I reached the till but eventually chose the Hearty Fish Stew. I’ve never had a restaurant prepared fish stew before and it’s not something I would usually go for but the description includes chilli and pepper and I’m looking at the sea so fish stew it is.
I was blown away by this meal. Not only was it absolutely delicious with a proper kick of chilli to warm me up as night approached, the portion size was huge! Two massive chunks of bread and homemade sweet potato crisps on the side. I was not going to go hungry tonight. If you’re in Shanklin do go to The Steamer Inn.
Purple Mango, 56 High Street, Shanklin, PO37 6JN
On the last night we fancied a curry. Unfortunately I have no photos of this and they do not have a website but it is one of the most highly recommended Indian restaurants in the area.
After poppadoms and sauces, which included a bowl of sugary powdered coconut which went down very well, I choose the prawn jalfrezi curry and a peshwari naan.
Cannot fault the food at all. It was all cooked perfectly, the curry was spicy and the wine washed it all down. It is a bit expensive so save it for a special occasion or, as we did, our last night of the holiday.
I miss my holiday already but look forward to trying my souvenirs and I’ve also received a box of goodies from Mextrade which I will be reviewing soon too. Watch this space.