The Sloop, Poole

Admittedly, I know I’m pushing it a little: reviewing my local public house, which I probably frequent a little too often. But having lived within a five minute walk from there for nearly a year, I only experienced their restaurant-standard food on Wednesday 11th. I don’t review pub food unless it’s out-of-the-ordinary for such cuisine in all manners: presentation, flavour, service and value.

SCALLOPS WITH BLACK PUDDING & PEA PURÉE

Scallops with Black Pudding and Pea Purée
NOTE: This dish is half-eaten; you get a lot more than that!

It’s very rare to find a place like The Sloop on Poole’s Commercial Road, which serves special meals in addition to their generously diverse menu, such as – for example – Scallops with black pudding and pea purée (see pictured).
I had previously had the same shellfish at a wine bar in Bridport but only as a starter, at which they were served solo for a higher price. Of course you don’t need me to point out the differences between public house and classy restaurant. But also appreciate that Scallops are on the more luxurious side of the posh food spectrum: that is to say one does opt for them when one gets the opportunity.

Unlike The Market House in Bridport, the Scallops themselves were not apparently cooked in anything ostentatious, rather the black pudding – not freshly made quite obviously, but then it is difficult to find anyone brave enough to eat the stuff if they know how it’s made, let alone make it – and the pea purée, which did resemble mushy peas as my aesthetically-sterile friend Mr James Boxall – dining with me once again – was witty enough to point out. However, unlike mushy peas, which as it happens I can’t stand, the purée was sweet in spite of having chunks of black pepper embedded into it.

James himself had a Spaghetti Carbonara, which I persuaded him to choose by telling him of the cheesy sauce and the bacon. Mr Boxall’s selective tastes in pasta (or anything else for that matter) can sometimes be taken to extremes, for example he will not eat the “B” shape in Alphabet Spaghetti, insisting it tastes different to the other twenty-five letters! Of course I had overlooked the fact that a traditional Carbonara includes mushrooms and mustard in the sauce. The mushrooms came out chunky enough to pick out, but the cheese sauce was overpowered by the mustard, even for my tastes (and I love it!)

Twelve pounds covered my Scallops and the Carbonara that went unfinished (for a fiver, there was a lot there). I cannot really condemn the service too much, there was only the one barmaid on at lunchtime, so I know she was doing her best. I can safely say, to conclude, that if you wish to forego an expensive meal in a classy high street joint, you could do worse than to try this little pub on the corner of Commercial Road in Poole. With its staff faultless on personality and friendliness and never devoid of some sort of entertainment or event (frequented by all the local bands), it is truly well worth a visit!

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