Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Eternal Search for Lunch

takes Kurt across to Ryde .. and success!

When I first had a little wail on VB about the difficulty I was having finding my way, each day, to The Kind of Lunch I Like, a good number of folk popped up with suggestions. Some were places I already knew, some were already on my ‘to be repeated’ list, some were a bit exotic for me … and that left just one. A young man by name Ryan Burr who – if his facebook picture was to be believed – looked like a cross between Elvis Presley and the Chocolate Soldier – was recommending a new place called The Bay Grill at Appley Beach. When I answered ‘OK’, it turned out that Ryan Burr (‘chef patron’) was the Bay Grill at Appley Beach. ‘He must be confident’, I thought, and fixed a day.

That was today.
I had done my homework. I had scouted the young resto’s very attractive blue-and-white website (, and had more or less worked out where Appley was. What I hadn’t worked out was how to get there from my cheese expedition to Queen Bower! Alderstone, Avgerstone.. help! .. and finally the one-way system round the Boating Pond! But I got there, leaped into the big free-parking lot, and climbed the stairs.

The blue and white theme most successfully carried through – I feel like I’m back in Villefranche-sur-mer – especially as I’m shown to a nice table on the balcony, overlooking the beach and the sea. Nice tables, when you are One Person, are not always evident.

My road frazzles are evaporating. Would I like a drink? Well, I shouldn’t but ... OK, let’s start off mean. I ask for a campari. Pretty, new, comfortable, staffed with charming young people, but they can’t possibly have it. My campari turns up, on the rocks, no fruit, and with the soda separate, just as I’d asked. Hmmm.

Little work of blue-and-white art. Choice not too big, not too small. I want to try several things, so I opt for two starters: calamari followed by chicken. The people at the next table have had the calamari and are highly pleased.
So am I. It is perfect. The rings and the helping the right size. The batter light, slim, ten-seconds old ... and no oily taste, even when you get to the last slow mouthful and your food is cooling. Well, well.

Chicken on lemongrass spikes. Will this keep up the smile level? No. It increases it. This I really, really liked. The chicken is soft as a baby’s cheek. The accompaniments – including a chili which rocks your loins and makes you pay thorough attention to your food -- are delicious. I am enjoying myself far too much for this to be decent. I had better top up my campari. And, maybe ... a little something light and cold for dessert.

Kurt, you don’t eat desserts.
But I did. Black and white chocolate whatsit. Sin in a bowl.
Total bill: 19 pounds.

Well, young Mr Burr, I thought, you were right to be confident. You’ve got a thorough little winner here, I reckon.

It’s a beggar that Appley is so far from the Hermitage. Red Fred is going to get hysterical if I drag him across Brading Downs again and again. But I reckon I’m going to have to. Thanks, VB, you really pointed me right with this one.

PS It’s doubtless thoroughly unprofessional, but I stuck my head and my Fuji into the kitchen and snapped Ryan Burr (who isn’t like either Elvis or a soldier) and head chef, James Pearce, for my album. And for VB, too. Lads, I wish you and your (very) young team the greatest of success. More like you the lunching world can definitely do with.

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