Restaurant review: The Cruel Sea, Penn Hill
11th November 2015
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TAPAS has come a long way from just a few nibbles with drinks. One of the finest examples of how this style of dining has been taken to a whole new level is The Cruel Sea at Penn Hill in Poole.

Dorset restaurateur and fisherman, Pete Miles who starred in ITV’s Harbour Lives, came up with the concept of serving fish, meat and vegetarian tapas-style dishes.

The restaurant, which celebrated its second anniversary last month, was the next stage on from his Storm fish restaurant in Poole, which he established 16 years ago.

At The Cruel Sea, the emphasis is on fresh, locally sourced ingredients as part of his Pete's ethos of "fresh from net to plate". Everything is cooked to order and arrives at different times.

We were given a warm welcome by the new manager Jon who knows the menu inside and out.

For starters, we had slices of thick, freshly-baked bread which was served warm with a sprinkling of sea salt, drizzled with olive oil and served with three superb home-made dips (£5.50) garlic hummus, a refreshing tzatziki with fresh cucumber and a beetroot dip.

Jon recommended that we tried the oyster schnitzel (£5) which are sourced from Poole Bay. I've never been a fan of raw oysters but this dish was inspired. A large fleshy oyster prepared in a breadcrumb coating and served with a punchy soya and onion dip.

Next up were scallops and chorizo (£9). The delicate sweetness of the scallops combined with the robust flavour and saltiness of the chorizo was sublime.

Other highlights included garlic prawns (£7.50), seven king prawns in a rich garlic butter, succulent monkfish wrapped in bacon and served on a skewer (£9) and pork fillet wrapped in parma ham (£8.50) which was exquisite and served in a buttery, pesto sauce.

Although I'm a savoury girl, we did check out the dessert menu which features a small selection, all for £5.50, which on this occasion included tiramisu, lemon cheesecake, apple cake and a cheese board.

We shared a wedge of lemon cheesecake which was light, tangy and just sweet enough to round off an excellent meal.

This is such a sociable way to dine, if you like sharing food, and I couldn't find fault with any of the dishes. The service was excellent and there was a great atmosphere too which is probably because of the special offer on Tuesdays, paella and a glass of sangria for £10. Well worth a visit.


About the Author

Katie F

Member since: 20th November 2014


I work with the team at thebestofPoole and thebestofbournemouth as a social engagement co-ordinator and I love it!

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