When asked, “what do you want for your birthday?” this year, I decided to set Em a challenge. I simply said, take me out for an interesting dinner. Doesn’t have to be fine dining, doesn’t need to be anywhere particular, just take me for dinner. Well Em graciously accepted the challenge and on a wet and windy day in March we were on our way to Bournemouth with a table booked at Schpoons & Forx.
Having wandered round the town on the Saturday (including a brilliant late afternoon snack at Ojo Rojo- will have to go again to review properly) and been to Level8 for some cocktails in the evening, on the Sunday we were booked in for lunch at Schpoons & Forx, the restaurant run my Matt Tebbutt in the Hilton Hotel.
Its a lovely looking restaurant, open plan so you can see the chefs at work with plenty of copper giving it a great look. surrounded by floor to ceiling glass. It is a shame it looks out over the Odeon opposite as a view out over the sea would be something really special.
Now before we come to the food, you may be wondering why this restaurant? Well one of Em’s favourite cook books is Guilty Pleasures by Matt Tebbutt and some of the food Em has made has been really brilliant like these raspberry cheesecake brownies!
I went for crisp cockles, squid and aioli as a starter and Em had the chorizo with butterbeans. The food felt like they were aiming at refined but accessible Mediterranean, reasonable portions and both dishes were flavoured well. the restaurant claims to be modern British which I felt was way off, I get that British cuisine now has flavours from around the world however think it is fair to say a Tandoor isn’t yet a standard piece of equipment in most UK homes.
For main I ordered tandoor roasted buttermilk marinated chicken, mango chutney & flatbread, while Em went for the wild mushroom risotto. The risotto was really good. Straightforward but delivered what it promised. The chicken I felt slightly let down by, Everything was cooked very nicely but just felt a little flat and felt it needed more zing and there wasn’t anything on the plate that wanted to be the star.
Em decided at this point she was full where as I was looking forward to a dessert. I couldn’t have chosen better. Peanut Parfait with Nougatine and it just made my day. Creamy and rich parfait bursting with toasted peanut flavour with crunchy nougatine adding that extra touch. unfortunately Em did then decide the wasn’t that full so had to share but when a dessert is that good you want everyone in the restaurant to enjoy it with you!
Would I eat at Schpoons & Forx again? Yes. It was an enjoyable light lunch in a very nice setting. Would I drive 3 hours specifically to go here again, no. If you were looking for a nice place to take a friend for a celebration or catch up, its perfect. friendly and unobtrusive service, relaxed environment and special enough to feel like a treat.
Phone number: 01202 200187