“ 18 The Esplanade, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 6BS. Tel: 01983 862641 „
I was there with my friend on Saturday 10/07/10 and the food was absolutely horrific - frozen and microwaved veg and salmon, unwashed potatoes, rubbery asparagus, moldy cauliflower and dry overcooked salmon dumped on the plate in pieces. That was just my friends meal! Unless they change the chef or radically overhaul the style of cooking I would urge anyone going here for food to think again. The manager was good at refunding our money though, and it is a nice view, but dont eat here!
Popular with locals and tourists alike even at 8:30pm midweek in October we failed to get an indoor table such is the reputation of the place. Instead we ended up seated on the upper terrace under the glow of heat lamps. It was marginally warmer than the exposed lower terrace but not much. The views from our seats outweighed the inconvenience. We overlooked the ocean and there was nothing to distract us from the fabulous viws which were constantly changing and kept out children mesmerised throughout the evening. We went there for dinner and were pleasantly surprised. At first glance the menu seems expensive. £9 for a beefburger is ridiculous, but the burger that turned up almost justified the price tag. One freshly sliced crusty bap with two quarter pounders interspersed with bacon and a ridiculous quantity of very runny cheese which oozed out with every bite. This was accompanied by an enormous portion of chips and a variety of salad leaves, cucumber and tomatoes. The fish and chips were served on a plate which wouldn't have gone amiss as a serving platter elsewhere. A huge fish with crispy batter, enough chunky home cut chips for two and lots of crisp garden peas with a side salad which could easily have been passed off as a starter elsewhere. Our eldest opted for mussels in white wine sauce with an enormous chunk of home baked bread. The bowl they were served in could have doubled as a bucket but no matter she demolished the lot. Best of all was the childrens meal. At £5 it was reasonably priced but would have fed most adults comfortably. She opted for scampi and announced it was delicious, too delicious to share with us soI haven't a clue what it actually tasted like. The portion of chips accompanying this was huge, too big for her and she left half of them. The staff were brilliant and happily swapped the baked beans which usually accompany the childrens meals for carrots. Service was efficient and table staff were attentive without being invasive. Toilets are easily accessible at the side of the bar and were well maintained and clean.
The beautiful Isle of Wight town of Shanklin has a gorgeous section of the coast of which there are many hotels, pubs and restaurants ready to offer the locals and tourists alike a good meal to go with their sea views. On our recent stay in Shanklin, the daily ritual of walking up and down the promenade looking at menus to decide where was going to serve us dinner that night brought us to The Steamer Inn. Located about ½ way along Shanklin's seafront, it was easily the most interesting looking establishment form the outside, with an appropriate nautical theme. On entering I was pleased to see the nautical theme continued, on the inside of the doors two busty mermaids framed the sea view through the windows. As you walked in there was a giant compass above you and all sorts of treasures dotted around the place, many with a local boating theme. It was a busy Tuesday dinner time when we visited and we were unable to get a seat with a view, still, a comfy booth next to a large map of the Isle of Wight's shipwrecks kept me interested while we waited for our food. We arrived for a reasonably late dinner and most of the huge selection of specials were sold out. Unlucky for me, but a good sign of the popularity of the food. About 80% of the specials were seafood, so I was a little disappointed we hadn't arrived sooner as they all sounded very appetising. We had also heard about this place from the many tourist papers and guides we'd stuffed our bags with which recommended it as a good place for food on the island. With slightly high expectations, I was hoping for a good meal. Specials nearly out, we set to work through the fairly extensive menu. Being by the sea, I decided to have Fish and Chips as it seemed appropriate for such an establishment, my other half, true to form picked a burger. The food was reasonably priced, we thought. Mains between £7-£12 on average. The food came very quickly and the portions were generous, however the quality wasn't there. With such an array of fresh fish on the specials board, I was disappointed and a little angry to find my fish ordered from the main menu was processed and bland. The batter was also very dry. My peas looked as though they had been boiled to death and were a grey green colour rather that the bright green they should have been. Many of my chips were scorched and brown. I was starving hungry as had been a busy day so I ate it. Had I have wanted to wait for a new one, I would have sent it back. The burger was also bought in and processed. Expecting a chunky handmade burger, instead my other half got a flat two flat McDonald's style patties, oozing with grease. We sat for a while after the meal, discussing how maybe the vast majority of their food is specials and maybe that's where they get the good reputation from and that the core menu is not such a priority. We noticed that there were also number of pudding specials so in the name of research, obviously we let The Steamer try and redeem itself by trying a pudding. We chose a jaffa sponge pudding with chocolate sauce to share. Puddings are priced around £5 each, which is a standard sort of price. The pudding came and was a gorgeous looking pool of chocolate sauce with a little hill of sponge in the middle, it looked good. The sauce was quite tasty but got very sickly after a few mouthfuls, the sponge was very heavy and sticky and we couldn't manage even half of it between us. So maybe the special weren't so special either. Overall, I can't honestly recommend this place. The look of it I can't fault but the food leaves a lot to be desired, especially for the prices. If you are staying in these parts I would recommend The Waterfront Inn (see separate review) over this any day.
The Steamer Inn stands in one of the finest waterside locations on the Isle of Wight. With panoramic views across the English Channel and a superb, safe, sandy beach just a pebble's throw away, you would be hard pressed to find a better base for a holiday on the Island.