Beefeater isn't somewhere that's been on my radar for some time, even though we have one less than a mile from us. Often co-located with Premier Inns, I've had some pretty nice breakfasts there on weekends away, but it hadn't occurred to me to go there for dinner (even though a menu of burgers and steaks - amongst other things - is right up my street).
We were recently invited to try out our local Beefeater, in Somerford (near Christchurch) as they were keen to show off their newly refurbished restaurant and revamped menu. Having a nose at the menu online I was excited to see a real variety of options, from traditional Beefeater fare like steaks, ribs and burgers, to more unexpected dishes like sea bass and veggie enchiladas. There was a huge amount of choice and I couldn't wait to get to the restaurant and dig in!
We went on a Sunday night around 7pm and I was quite surprised to see the car park so busy - clearly it was only me that had forgotten about Beefeater as a great choice for a meal out! We were greeted straight away and given a table near the front door - the bulk of the refurbishment has taken place in the main restaurant area so I didn't get many snaps of the décor, but this picture pinched from their website shows just how cool and comfortable it is inside. It felt like a cool, retro diner, with lots of finishing touches (like the grass-style Hello mural that Emma featured in her review) that make it feel like a quirky, independent brasserie restaurant rather than a chain
We both ordered starters - I ordered Garlic King Prawns and Tom ordered Chicken Liver Paté (do you have an item on a menu that you will always order if you see it? That's Tom's!) My King Prawns came in a garlic and parsley butter with ciabatta, and Tom's paté came with ciabatta and onion marmalade. I really liked the presentation of Tom's starter - the little kilner jar, stack of warm bread and dish of marmalade served on the wooden board definitely felt quite upmarket (apparently it tasted yummy too!)
As I mentioned earlier - the selection of main meals was great, and it was really difficult to choose! In the end, Tom went for the Rump of Lamb, served with dauphinoise potatoes, buttered kale, cherry tomatoes and a red wine sauce. It sounded - and looked - like something you would find on the menu of an upmarket restaurant, rather than a grill chain. I was incredibly impressed (the photo doesn't do it justice - I wish we had gone in the daytime so I had been able to capture some brighter snaps of just how well presented the food was!) Tom said his lamb was - direct quote, "really, really, really nice".
Tom has quite a refined palette and will often order fish dishes, game or quite sophisticated options, whereas I usually order a burger, fish and chips or a pizza (I'm such a child!) I went for the Pulled Pork Burger - pulled pork piled onto a 1/4lb steak burger with smoky BBQ sauce, served with coleslaw and triple cooked chips.
My burger was absolutely amazing - the pulled pork was to die for, the bun was crispy and the steak burger was cooked to perfection. The triple cooked chips were also totally delicious.
Somewhat greedily I decided that there was still a little room for a dessert! I went for the Eton Mess Mixed Berry Sundae - vanilla ice cream, strawberry frozen yoghurt, mixed berries and meringue. It was lovely but a little too creamy for me, I didn't quite finish it!
Tom had a coffee (they serve Costa coffee) and warm mince pies.
Altogether, the two starters, mains, desserts, a sizeable prosecco and an ale came to £54. I think the pricing is definitely about right, especially as the food was really blimmin' good. I would definitely go back (and I'm sure we will) as there's lots more on the menu I want to try, and I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the food, as well as the swish interior.
Have you visited your local Beefeater recently? I'd definitely recommend hopping down to the Somerford Beefeater if you're local to Bournemouth/Christchurch - and do check out Emma's review for more photos of the fab décor.