The Cottage

We woke up early as per usual, although I should rephrase that. I will watch my comments, providing that i want to keep my manhood in its current condition (that’s in working order by the way for any cynics). The real story is that the kids and Munching Mumma both woke up relatively early however I was treated to an extra hour or two in bed.

The day was fresh, and we were ready for a day full of fun and adventure. We had planned an all-out attack on Black Gang Chine for the day (we needed something to wear down the ever-energetic Munching Menace). I remember my visits to Black Gang pretty well from when I was a young lad, and it is worth a visit for any families heading to the isle of wight.

The long day took its toll after battling year six children in both pirate warfare and wild west cowboys, a big shout out to the class of 2019 which destroyed us immensely in that water fight! I suppose with a three year old and newborn, I wasn’t bringing much to the table plus Munching Mumma even had a good go. That recruitment was a pretty good move as she was a tricky target blending in size-wise pretty well.

“Children see magic because they look for it”

Christopher Moore

We finished up the day VERY hungry and returning from Black Gang to Shanklin (our residence for the ten days). We decided on heading into the high street to find some grub. The little village at Shanklin has some incredible small shops and is excellent for some cream teas and jams however could we see a big enough spot for some top-notch grub for the night.

On our way down the hill of the high street, we spotted a little nest egg perched on the brow of the hill ‘The Cottage’, we pictured two-course sandwiches with a pot of tea however this little gem had a quirky little twist.

I love how these little places can teasingly deceive you. We got caught off guard (curse you year six pirates) not expecting the menu to unfold into the delight of food that arrived soon after at our table. The décor was light and welcoming, the tables dressed with elegance at that moment I needed a sense check (I hit my head last night, actually if truth be told it was due to Munching Menace who pounced at my face like a wild animal and then my head hit the kitchen side. We double took, to confirm that this was Shanklin and not a Cultivated West London hang out).

The only doubt overhanging our mind was how well could we settle in ‘The Menace’ otherwise known as Felicity Ann plus her partner in crime Milk Monster Teddy. The Cottage was very welcoming and accepting and helped locate us in an area perfect to fit the pushchair and the wild child.

Tonight we opted to go straight in for mains, two tired children and a 15,000 step journey. The waiter arrived at the table to take the drink orders, all pretty smooth so far. The dilemma then began. How do I choose between the ‘Bone Marrow Burger’ and ‘Local Pork Belly served with celeriac and a cheeky jus’ and there is a pretty simple solution, you don’t! This is a typical rule of thumb in our house – sharing is caring!

I ordered the porky belly and Munching Mumma ordered the burger (if anyone talks to you about the benefits of marriage, this has to be number one). There was also a children’s menu with a typical array of selections including the always trusted homestead of Mac and Cheese which by default is Menace’s go-to dish.

I pre-warned our waiter that we had just started a blog and we would be sitting there with the Nikon taking snaps as the meals showed up. We connected, I then took a business card for a link for the blog providing we enjoyed the meal.

That’s when it happened, the food arrived. The truth is that we eat with our eyes, which by the way we will cover with some future content. If my Pork Belly were any women in the world at that moment it would be Nicole Sherzinger, I mean take a look at the pictures and deny that it doesn’t look enticing. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder as this may not seem so beautiful if you are a vegetarian, pescetarian or vegan of course, please note that list is not exhaustive.

I seriously couldn’t keep my hands off it (the fork people, the bloody fork!). There was Munching Mumma primed to take the snaps, and it felt like a game of tug of war, how would my readers think looking at the empty plate rather than the adorable artwork sitting in front of me right now.

The burger wasn’t far behind, and the chef wasn’t shy with the portion size of this thing. The cheese and sauce oozing out of the side, the light glimmering from the brioche and the homemade coleslaw. I mean, who doesn’t love some real coleslaw on their burgers.

The biggest surprise of all was the children’s Mac and Cheese. In this, I salute the chef, and I do give credit to any kitchen that understands children. They are HANGRY all the time, and I guess no decent restaurant wants to hear them knife and forks crashing against the plate so please make sure you bring the children’s food out FIRST and that’s precisely what happened here.

The Mac and Cheese wasn’t served in a bowl steaming like your typical foot spa, nor did it resemble anything from a tin. This was a children’s meal, and it had been treated with the respect that both of our meals had been as well and guess what, it was cheesy! Result!

The mains were cracking so we had to go for round 2. We looked through the specials board and gazed the dessert menu at least 2-3 times. We nearly had to toss a coin for who could take the dark chocolate and peanut brownie until our waiter convinced Munching Mumma that the lemon and raspberry tart was certainly a contender and for Menace that is simple, she is a connoisseur in Vanilla ice cream.

The desserts arrived, and just on cue, our young Munching Milk decides that he is the most hungry person in the restaurant. That meant that Munching Mumma just for the moment had to resist that Lemon tart. The chocolate brownie is again a real credit to the chef with tart, sweetness and crunch plus some cheeky salted peanuts for good measure.

The lemon tart was beautifully tart and also the perfect portion size as well, we shared a little and divided opinion on which dessert was best. I could have had both and been very happy indeed and Menace, well she spent no time at all finishing her ice cream to then join in the fun with our debate.

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating

 Luciano Pavarotti

In all, a huge treat for us after such a fun-packed day and a cracking little find in this gorgeous village. Please digest the viewing from the pictures as a picture does speak a thousand words. The meal topped out at just under £65 for the three of us to have two courses plus a drink each which by all standards of the food on offer is an exceptional value.

Thank you to ‘The Cottage’ for such a lovely experience.
Please keep on reading through my blog updates as I experience with my family the varieties in life relating to our greatest pleasure, FOOD.

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