During our lovely weekend break to the Isle of Wight (a small island just off the south coast of England), we were treated to some of the best local dishes of the island. Thompson’s was one of the best!
Robert Thompson was the youngest British chef to earn a Michelin star, which he got in 2007 when he was just 23 years old! After that, he won two more stars at different restaurants, before he opened his first solo restaurant on the Isle of Wight in 2015.
What we'll cover in this article
- THOMPSON’S RESTAURANT – NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT, ENGLAND
- THE TRAVEL TESTER IN ACTION
- VISIT THOMPSON’S YOURSELF!
THOMPSON’S RESTAURANT – NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT, ENGLAND
The Thompson’s Restaurant Story
From their website:
The Isle of Wight has seen a rise in gastronomy over the last 5 years and one chef that stands out is Robert Thompson who was one of the first to put the area – normally associated with sailing and seaside holidays – on the foodie map.
His reputation in the UK as the youngest Chef to be awarded a Michelin Star has given him the platform to promote his own style, ideas and talent amongst the culinary world. In 2015 Robert launched his first solo restaurant called Thompson’s in the Island’s capital serving contemporary British cuisine in an open kitchen concept.
Robert’s style has always been a congenial one: his menus have remained brief and to the point, his style of cooking respectful of the old classics, yet mindful of a modern dining trend that values, above all, lightness and freshness. He always looks no further than the producers outside his front door and continues to be an ambassador for Island food.
THE TRAVEL TESTER IN ACTION
1. What does it SOUND like?
When Nick and I were told that we were going to have lunch in a restaurant from a chef with a Michelin star, of course we couldn’t be more excited! We couldn’t wait to see if the food was as good as the promise of it sounded…
2. What does it LOOK like?
Thompson’s restaurant can be found in the Isle of Wight’s principal town Newport. As soon as you walk in the adorable brick building, you’re welcomed into a cozy, eclectic bar area to the left an open kitchen to the right.
You can sit either downstairs (which we did), or move upstairs. While I liked sitting downstairs because you get to look into the kitchen, our table wasn’t really suited for the 6 people we arrived with, so I ended up in the middle with the table’s legs between mine. Not great for the amount of money you would spend here on a meal!
3. What does it TASTE like?
The menu offers ‘contemporary British food inspired by the flavours of the island and Robert’s own experiences’ and everything we got served simply looked like a piece of art.
We went for the special of the house: an eight (!) course tasting menu. Make sure that when you pick this, you have plenty of time as this can take a while. The menu is a mix of influences from Robert’s cooking career to date and is a fusion of classical and contemporary cuisine, all working really well together.
I’m just going to show you the courses, as I’m not a great food writer myself. The photos speak for themselves, really:
This is cuttlefish ink bread sticks, how cool?!
Some of the best bread I have eaten in my entire life. Seriously.
Sorry, forgot what this was!
Roasted Local Squash and Miso Soup with Coriander & Ginger Spiced Dumplings – some people found it too salty, I LOVED it
Roasted Orkney Scallop with Glazed Chicken Wings, Chestnut Puree, Living Larder Brussel Sprouts and Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette
Pan Roasted Fillet of Stone Bass, Cauliflower Cheese Croquettes, Mustard Greens and Truffle Sauce
Slow Cooked Dingley Dell Pork Belly & Roasted Loin with Crispy Braised Octopus, Pickled Squash and Paprika Roast Potatoes
Glazed Gypsy Tart with Orange, Clove & Anise & Cranberry Ice Cream
4. What does it FEEL like?
We were warmly welcomed by the staff and because we were sitting right next to the open kitchen, we got to peek at the chefs at work and got some great explanations about the meals. It felt definitely like a dining experience, rather than ‘just another meal in a restaurant’!!
The staff were all super friendly and explained what we got each time
5. What does it SMELL like?
For me, this restaurant definitely gave me a smell of what good food can really be like, and I would love to learn more! I just read on their website that they also offer a cook school, where you get to pick up some tips and add to your culinary repertoire through a cooking demonstration, which sounds great!
After our 5-senses test, we’re ready to answer our final (and perhaps most important) question in our Thompson’s Restaurant Review:
6. Does this restaurant make us happy?
If you make your way over to the Isle of Wight, eating at Thompson’s is an experience you almost don’t want to miss. The tasting menu was a feast for both the eyes as our tummies and I can’t possibly tell you what I liked best (ok, the bread and the soup were amazing!). The setting of the restaurant is pretty informal, which I liked and there was just a super nice atmosphere around. Definitely would recommend sitting close to the kitchen, as watching these guys working their magic definitely added to the experience. Would love to come back here one day!!
VISIT THOMPSON’S YOURSELF!
11 Town Lane, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1JU
Monday & Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Sunday: 12:00–15:00 & 17:30–22:00
Disclaimer: We were kindly invited to visit the Isle of Wight and experience this restaurant as part of the #RedFunnelIslandFoodie campaign by Red Funnel. All photos and opinions are our own, as always.