We recently went to the New Forest for our annual family holiday (Grandparents included). Over our last few days, we heard there was a Food Week in Milford-on-Sea. Graham’s aunt Lorna kindly volenteered to babysit for us one evening and naturally we jumped at the offer.
We were told of a Restaurant in Mildford-on-Sea, “Verveine Restaurant”, and decided to check it out. As we were greeted by Jon, we discussed the Milford-on-Sea Food Week which was coming to an end. We’ll just have to go back for next year’s one from the 25th April to 1st May 2011, keep an eye out for details on their website www.milfordonseafoodweek.org
Verveine Restaurant of Milford-on-Sea was originally known as Monks Fishmongers. A well reputed and long established Fishmongers for over 50 years owned by Chris Monk, it was one of the first fishmongers John Roberts (Graham’s father) as young fisherman first started suppling his fresh fish.
In 2008 Stacey & Jon Crouch and (Chef) David Wykes took over this traditional old business. Keeping the traditional fishmongers but with an added veature “Verveine Restaurant” a concept born from the ideas of Stacey Crouch & David Wykes. They both firmly believe that the food they create should be of the hightest quality, affordable and served in a friendly & relaxed informal manner. Their menu features fresh local produce cooked in imaginative ways. To us they have ticked all the boxes and got our rate of 10/10.
Verveine is tucked discreetly in the High Street, unfortunately there is no parking to the front but fortunately there is a public car park behind for a small fee. As you enter the shop, you are hit by the fresh smell of the sea and a fine array of fresh fish in the display counter that makes you stop and admire and test your knowledge of fish.
As you walk through the shop and into the restaurant you are greeted by the open kitchen, which we were delighted to see and watch everything they do in aw! There was four working in this tiny narrow kitchen all working away like busy little bees, it was amazing to watch, especially watching Chef David plate up the orders the facial expressions as he admires his own masterpieces.
We later found out that David had trained in Michelin starred kitchens in France & the UK. This restaurant is top class, we could not find fault anywhere. The food was top notch, presentation excellent and the combination of flavours makes your taste buds tingle leaves your mouth-watering for more.
The menu centres around a simple blackboard menu of fresh fish with a choice of 4 garnishes. So you could have the same fish served to you in 4 differnt ways. We were first served a clam like amuse-bouche of two homemade crisps clamped together with a mackerel pate filling and a golden nuggest of local fresh fish followed by a plate of of homemade delicious breads. For starters Graham decided to have local crab mayonnaise topped with sweet corn sorbet & rocket leaves, I had hand dived scallops with brown butter and shrimp sauce.
or mains Graham had Bream with umbrian garnish which was a combination of truffle and cep risotto (cooked to perfection), selection of young vegetables with parmesan shavings. I had Halibut with the Land & Sea garnish which was a combination of potato puree and slow cooked chicken wings with a bordelaise sauce, local forest mushrooms with thyme & a selection of young vegetables.
They have a brilliant way of describing the desserts in that they list the main ingredients of each dessert and then you order it without knowing how exactly it will be served. It was just so clever. Graham had rice pudding, which was lovely and light (almost mousse like), it had a granny smith apple compote in the bottom, served with a clotted cream Ice-cream and a homemade almond biscotti. My choice was a peanut parfait, stawberry ice cream (all homemade) dark chocolate marquise with caramel sauce, a glorified Snicker’s Bar!
To top it all off, coffee was served with a beautiful plate of scrumptious petite fours and two mini milk bottles of Bailey’s and chocolate shots with straws.
Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant, 98 High Street, Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire, SO41 0QE, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 1590 642176 www.verveine.co.uk
(Be sure to tell them you saw their details here at the Connemara Smokehouse)