We have been fans of Urban Reef restaurant since it opened although we seem to pop in for a cheeky lunch date when the kids are at school, rather than visit for an evening meal these days.
Urban Reef describes itself as an ‘informal bar, deli, cafe and restaurant’ located next to the beach on Boscombe Promenade and we love it because it gives us the chance to go for a bracing walk along the beach with a special hot chocolate, coupled with Kay’s amazing cakes, treat in the winter, or a cooling tipple in the summer.
Downstairs offers seating right on the promenade, with the deli, cafe area and bar whereas upstairs is a more formal dining area, with a new extended balcony where you can sit and take in the commanding views over Bournemouth Bay from the Isle of Wight to the Purbeck Hills.
We arrived at the restaurant on a warm May evening and as the weather was so good, we opted to sit outside on the balcony upstairs so we could watch the sun set.
We started the evening with some drinks whilst we deliberated over the delicious menu.
Where Urban Reef (and its sister restaurants) really shine, is the food. Now I am not averse to the old meal in a restaurant chain, however, the team at Urban Guild source all their produce locally and even own their OWN farm in the New Forest, so the food on offer is always fresh and always seasonal and they have the perfect mix of surf and turf offerings.
Hubby opted to have a starter, but knowing my limits I decided to wait until the main course so I could fit in dessert at the end of the evening, but the ribs did look amazing.
For my main course I treated myself to the Griddled 10oz Pork Chop which came with a Glazed Braeburn apple, shallot & sage pan jus, green beans, hasselback potato with smoked Dorset Red cheese.
Hubby opted for the 10oz Sirloin Steak with roasted vine tomato, buttery garlic mushroom, fat chips, watercress, choice of red wine or béarnaise sauce.
Both meals were beautifully presented and absolutely delicious with the meat literally melting in our mouths. I would not necessarily put the flavours together, especially with my dish but it came together perfectly.
I normally try to avoid ordering the same as Hubby, but we were both drawn to the Mango and Passionfruit Meringue with a refreshing sorbet.
Eating outside was a real treat, but with it being May and with the sun almost set, it was getting chilly so we headed inside to warm up with a nice hot coffee to finish the evening.
Urban Reef doesn’t have any airs and graces about it. The staff are dressed casually but you are welcomed with open arms whether you are walking in windswept after a day on the beach, or dressed for a rare evening out and the decor is the perfect combination of comfort and seaside kitsch.
In the summer months the huge floor to ceiling windows are opened to make the most of the views and in the winter, a roaring fire is lit to add plenty of warmth to the restaurant.
If you are after something more lively, they also have event nights which includes local live music and a quiz night which is sure to get the brain cells functioning.
Disclaimer: We were guests at Urban Reef for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own