During our recent visit to Sandbanks/Poole we enjoyed a lovely meal at Rick Stein Sandbanks. We had been to several of the dozen big and small places Christopher Richard Stein, CBE, owns in “Padstein” (i.e. Padstow in Cornwall). Our expectations were relatively manageable. But it turned out to be a very pleasant late lunch for a very reasonable price. Sandbanks is very expensive, local residents include several A-listers, formerly also the Beckhams. We ended up paying £54.30 for the two of us, including a bottle of sparkling water.
We thoroughly enjoyed the casual, relaxed, friendly, bright, warm, stylish atmosphere and vibes of the main dining hall. It was very windy, so we were glad to be seated inside, even though on a calmer day the outside terrace would have been perfect.
After short deliberation, Ms B opted for clams with XO sauce and fish & chips, I went for “fish & shellfish soup with rouille and croutons, flavoured with tomato, saffron, garlic, red peppers, fennel and a pinch of cayenne” and smoked haddock and cod fish pie with a side of peas.
The starters arrived very quickly, despite the fact that it was a busy day. Service was knowledgeable and friendly. The clams were truly divine. I never figured out why we don’t eat everything with XO sauce, it doesn’t make any sense!? The fish soup was also very pleasant, even though perhaps it could have used a bit more depth of flavours and thickness in terms of texture.
The fish and chips were nothing out of the ordinary, but above average. There is really only so much you can do when it comes to silly dishes like this (every now and then the Barbarians do enjoy eating silly dishes and that day was one of those days). The pie, however, was a very fine specimen and made me think I should order pie more often. In the 19th century people were travelling to England for the sole purpose of sampling some lovely pies, then all English cooking went downhill and never recovered, or so I thought. This pie made me think more positively about England.
We’ll be back next time we’re in town. 4 out of 5 in our book.
For adventure and travel inspiration, try our articles about jetlevving, powerboating, and our ride over London in a helicopter, our street art tour of Lisbon, excursion to the Douro Valley, and visit to the world’s most spectacular medieval pageant: Burghausen.