Dock O’ The Bay is, admittedly, easily overlooked. Nestled next to Dominos and a conspicuous sandwich shop, it is often merely a place to pass by on the U1C. I have often wondered what would be like to eat there, and my curiosity was satisfied by a well-timed birthday meal.
The restaurant itself seems small when you first enter, but in a manner that is cosy and friendly. It is nicely decorated which immediately settles you in and from the moment the waiter welcomes you in and ushers you to your table you are very much put at ease. The music seems a little out of place, being rather loud for such an intimate restaurant, but it did not detract from the sense that we were about to have a lovely evening.
From the calibre of our starters we could tell the main dish would be wonderful.
The service was very good. Our waiter managed to remember our orders without writing them down and was attentive, but not overly so, and I felt cared for rather than just another customer. We decided to indulge and opted for olives and a baguette with olive oil to start, alongside a warm goats cheese tart filled with red onion marmalade, cherry tomatoes and red peppers on rocket leaves with a balsamic reduction, to share. The tart was divine, and moreish, leaving us wishing we had ordered one each! From the calibre of our starters we could tell the main dish would be wonderful.
I myself am notorious for ordering vegetarian or light options for my main course, yet struggled to choose from the menu, since everything offered was incredibly appealing – in the end I decided upon the braised lamb shank in red wine and rosemary on creamy mashed potato with a red wine & mint jus. The lamb was tender and not fatty, which is always a risk, and the mash, a firm favourite of mine, was tasty and moreish. I did not taste the mint jus, as the red wine ‘gravy’ was dominant, but that’s not to say it wasn’t delicious. It was difficult to leave food behind when full, and so I ended up finishing it off despite feeling like I couldn’t eat any more.
It made a welcome change to the familiar Portswood food outlets or generic chains found in the city centre
Since it was a special occasion, we also decided upon pudding. The Crème Brulee was lovely. Nothing special, since there isn’t much you can do with ‘burnt cream’, but still very nice and a good end to the meal.
Dock O’ The Bay is a very friendly restaurant that makes a welcome change to the familiar Portswood food outlets or generic chains found in the city centre. Though it’s not a place for the student budget, it’s perfect for a special occasion and worth a try. Don’t overlook this little gem – you’re bound to like what you find if you just venture inside.
Dock O’ The Bay can be found online HERE