The campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably

In Partnership with Marine Conservation Society

Highcliff Grill

Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel , St Michaels Rd, Westcliff, Bournemouth, BH2 5DU

01202 557702

Fish2fork Rating
4 Blue Fish

Last rated: 18/08/2012

What we say

We congratulate Executive Chef Matthew Budden on achieving such a high Fish2Fork score. It is enormously encouraging to find someone who understands the problems of conservation but still is able to offer a range of interesting fish to eat such as gurnard, seabream, seabass, pollock and megrim sole, as well as excellent shellfish. Our only suggestions are small points when informing customers what is on offer. Rather than describe a fish as simply 'sole', we would, for example, like to see the more specific 'megrim sole', and the extra information that the organic salmon is actually farmed. Another suggestion would be to add that the cod is from Norwegian fisheries that are fished responsibly.

What they say

We source local Dorset and Hampshire produce buying from local farmers and fishermen, ensuring quality and sustainability in all of our produce so that we can showcase the very best and sometimes forgotten food that can be produced in this country. We put our sourcing policy on menus as part of the Marriott Hotels Futurefish programme and National Skippers Scheme. We identify whether local products are hand-dived or pot-caught. The cod is line-caught from the North-East Atlantic and has full certification from M&J Seafood. All our seafood is purchased under guidance from the Marriott furturefish programme.

About Highcliff Grill

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.