Gluten Free Isle of Wight: The Royal Hotel, Ventnor

It was touch and go whether we’d actually make it to the Isle of Wight for the weekend. Our highly organised plans had been thrown into complete chaos the night before we were due to travel when Tom Jones (who we’d been planning to see on a R family weekend away) contracted bronchitis and cancelled his show at Osbourne House. After much discussion, we went (minus one R) and consoled our missed opportunity to sing Delilah with Tom over Sunday lunch at The Royal Hotel, Ventnor.

Beautiful sub tropical gardens

The weather was wonderful and we opted to have lunch outside in the beautiful sub-tropical gardens. Somewhere off in the distance a band was playing traditional Irish music and the occasional snatched line of a familiar song had us trying to guess what they were playing and where they were.

I’d called the Royal Hotel in advance to talk to them about catering gluten free. They must have made a note of this on our reservation because once the bread was brought for the rest of the table, I was asked if I’d like some gluten free bread. Yes, please!

For my starter I chose the tian of avocado with Ventnor bay crab.

I thoroughly enjoyed the light and refreshing flavours of this dish. You can see my gluten free bread (delicious, by the way) at the top of the photo.

However, the best was yet to come. I chose the pan fried sea bass, with fennel and a citrus quinoa.

The zingy citrus quinoa served with the sea bass was the perfect choice for a summer lunchtime sitting outside in the beautiful gardens. What I particularly liked about this dish was that it got me excited about cooking an ingredient in a way I’d not thought about before. Even just looking at the photo now I recall how fresh and summery this tasted.

As we were driving out of Ventnor, we stumbled upon the source of the music we’d heard. A band was playing Irish songs and sea shanties in the band stand in Ventnor’s beautifully maintained small park near to the Royal Hotel. We sat and joined the picnic-ing crowd, some with flasks of tea and others with bottles of wine, to listen to the music and sang along to The Irish Rover. Who needs Tom Jones after all?

Details: The Royal Hotel, Belgrave Road, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1JJ

Rating: 5/5 – delicious food, gluten free bread in beautiful surroundings makes the perfect Sunday lunch.


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  1. September 21, 2012 / 8:57 am

    Glad you enjoyed the Wight!

    If you go another time, I’d suggest a stroll along the coast, westwards, to the Botannical Gardens. If you take the coastal path, you’ll find Steephill Cove – quite picturesque, as is the view from The Spyglass pub on the seafront at sunset. Don’t think they do gluten free though, sadly.