Last rated: 18/08/2012
The Bournemouth Marriott Highcliff Hotel perches imposingly on a cliff top overlooking sea and esplanade. The view and sea air are enough alone to whet the appetite for fine seafood dishes at the Highcliff Grill restaurant. The interior style is an easy blend of contemporary and classic, more noteable for corporate blandness than design originality. However, the menu under the supervision of Executive Chef, Matt Budden, surprises and stands out with a totally tempting line-up of dishes that shows balance and restraint, a clever understanding of flavours and a fine sense of place.
Provenance underpins the menus, with suppliers listed weekly. The four-course Taste of Dorset menu (£31.50) would probably be the first choice for many: Dorset air-dried beef with celeriac, shallot and capers, perhaps, followed by seared Portland scallop, cod cheeks, bacon and lettuce, then local gurnard‘fish pie’, and Dorset apple cake with fresh blackberries and clotted cream.
From the carte, there may be beetroot cured organic salmon with golden beets, poppy seeds and toasted pearl barley (£8.00); line-caught local sea bass, cockles, potato, artichoke and sorrel (£20.50); Jurassic Coast Dorset rose veal loin, rissole of shank, wild mushroom and spring greens (£23.50); chilled dark chocolate mousse, honeycomb, salted caramel ice-cream (£7.00.). There are also 35-day dry aged steaks served with duck fat chips, roasted bone marrow, Bearnaise sauce and Dorset watercress. The selection of regional cheese is well-chosen with informed tasting notes.
Helpfully, the menu also notes whether dishes are vegetarian and/or gluten-free.