If you have been to Oscar's before, the stuffy Edwardian decor has been replaced by chic pale grey walls, bevelled mirrors and gilded candelabra. All is now light. Banquettes are the best tables to bag. The website needs a new photo and could do with a menu to download for those of us who dither. If its good enough for The Dorchester its good enough for De Vere. Something tells me they're not that good with technology. I can't fault the atmosphere, nowehere can be described as buzzing in mid january, but I would have liked the fire in the bar to be lit.
The Dorset dressed crab, however, was the best I have had – sweet and succulent. Perfectly seared scallops left my guest wanting more vanilla cream foam – if you're going do contemporary, do it; no half measures. Delicious but not local and seasonal, as the scallops were from Cornwall and accompanied by pea puree in January. The duo of Goosnaugh duck – roasted breast; confit of leg, balanced by spiced apple chutney, melted in the mouth. Cornish fish stew with root vegetables was accomplished with distinct flavours of each fresh and smoked fish.
Starters are about £4.95 for soup to £13.95 and mains average £20. The British Classics menu is good value at £30 for three courses. Service was attentive without being intrusive, not just for us but the other diners as well.
For puddings we shared an upside down apple tarte with pearl barley ice cream £10.95 for two. Coffee was taken in Wilde’s Whisky snug where over 150 different drams awaited. This understated and welcoming bar has a Scottish air without the highland pastiche. More chairs would be needed if the restaurant ever fills to capacity.
I will go back, as Oscar's is on track to become Bournemouth's best hotel restaurant. However, the menu is a little ‘safe’. DF Paul Muddiman doesn't want to offend regulars, many of whom are fully paid-up members of the Grey Brigade, but he won't win any Michelin stars playing it safe, and actually by getting out and eating in Bournemouth, he would find exciting food and ingredients on his doorstep. The younger generation here demand more and have the money to pay for it.
Got to finish now, as my Gran is taking me on an away-day to Bray…