So it had been organised that the Tuesday following the Easter weekend, a form of “school reunion” would be held in the Wetherspoons in the nearby town of Broadstone – the only one that I have individually been thrown out of due to drunken behaviour. The fella organising this reunion decided to be late to his own event, and so I arrived and no one else was there.
I’m not one to waste a trip so I got a bus back into Poole and after trying to find my grandmother a birthday present, I decided to have lunch at a little Italian on the high street.
Situated next door to Yates, Ginali’s does not look like much, and inside it is far from the Italian bistro looks of Bella Italia or the Alcatraz Brasserie. Quite the opposite in fact – more like a traditional English tea rooms, the sort that would serve the afternoon teas you read about in the last issue.
What attracted me in, besides being one of the few restaurants on Poole’s high street that I haven’t reviewed, was an item on the specials board outside the establishment, reading “Whole Grilled Sea Bass – £10.00″ Sold. And it surprised me how quickly it came out too – only a matter of fifteen minutes (possibly less), to grill a whole sea bass (see pictured). A truly huge piece of fish it was as well, and there were accompanying vegetables – the most gorgeous potatoes, carrots, red onions and courgettes. But with a specimen like this to get through, vegetables were a reluctance. Upon first glance, I thought the fish had been served over a piece of white toast.
Now yes, I know that sounds strange, but the place further down the high street, closer to Poole Quay, called Storm, which is where I wanted to have lunch that day (it was nearly 3pm so they were shut), serve a cod dish, which is served with Welsh Rarebit, i.e. cheese over toasted bread.
So I thought they were perhaps replicating it with this sea bass. It turns out it was just the pectoral fins, which I must admit in hindsight did not contain a great deal of meat. And quite comparable to the whole bream I had at Vesuvio last September, the fish was quite difficult to de-bone with just a knife and fork. The cheeks, the body and even the tail contained the most gorgeously-succulent meat. But it was still a pain in the neck trying to get through all this bone.
And of course, you can imagine that was quite filling for a first course. I could not help perusing the menu anyway before I ordered, and noticed that they did another sea bass dish for £5 more than what I paid. I can’t help thinking I did well for value.
Wanting to tickle the palate’s fancy on the sweet end, I ordered a dessert, despite the waitress’ kind warnings as to how big they were, despite their cost of only £4.25. A profiterole sundae (see pictured), yes please.
And that waitress was quite right to warn me against the size of the dish. It may as well have been served in a fruit bowl, it was that big. Topped with a mountain of whipped cream and all this choux pastry, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and two chocolate straws, I was lucky to get through it all. I did, quite thankfully. Just by taking my time over it, of course. Not a bad choice either, especially for just over four quid.
Well now I’m satisfied, of course, the waitresses still wanted to know if I wanted anything else. They were probably just being courteous, but I did think “they must be mad!” That, with the drink, came to just over £16. Two courses of huge proportions and I have paid the same for just one course in some restaurants. Take that bream in Vesuvio. Or your average sirloin steak. You don’t come by prices like that every day!