Restaurant review: Highcliff Marriott
Situated on its bold clifftop perch, the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel overlooks Bournemouth’s stunning world-class beaches. The sophisticated destination boasts gorgeous views of the Dorset Coast. Over changing times, it remains contemporary, its rooms being famed for offering both elegance and comfort. Walking into the hotel we were greeted by the welcoming staff and charming décor.
Entering the Marriott’s bespoke restaurant, the Highcliff Grill, we were seated in a spacious, classically inspired dining area. We began by glancing through a really remarkable menu. Despite our collective hunger, we were unable to decide from the variety of tempting options. Thankfully the Executive Head Chef, Nick St Peter, arrived to walk us through the options. Nick enthusiastically answered our questions, displaying his comprehensive understanding of food and a profound passion for the menu. We were then left to make up our minds.
To start, I went with the Hot Smoked Pork Belly with Earl Grey tea. The dish combined my love of pork with a remarkable twist; the melt in the mouth pork was superbly cooked and complimented by aromatic tea. Served with pickled mushrooms and toasted oats, it was a combination of fantastic flavours and textures. My colleague went with an equally delightful dish of dreamy Scallops with crisp black pudding, Granny Smith apple and air dried ham – a superb invocation of locally sourced ingredients and elegant flavours. My other colleague chose the Gin Cured Salmon, with lemon, cucumber and a sour dough crumb. Light and delicious, with fruity gin flavours and zesty citrus, it was thoroughly enjoyed.
Next came some truly remarkable main courses. I had been told by Nick that the Corn Fed Chicken would be like nothing I had ever eaten before. I can happily say that I have never had such a tasty and succulent chicken prepared so effortlessly at a restaurant. The rich, velvety smoked bacon gravy, accompanied by the creamy gnocchi and cauliflower was a culinary treat I won’t soon forget.
My colleague’s choice of Sea Bass with a seaweed butter, mussels and horseradish was an outstanding dish which exemplifies the hotel’s great seaside location. The last of my table’s mains was the Crispy Duck Leg; tender and moist with an innovative amalgamation of sweet liquorice, salsify and courgettes it was a dish that left my friend’s palate yearning for more.
We also chose from an excellent set of sides that included exciting Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Blue Cheese and tantalising Heritage Carrots with Fennel & Honey.
In high spirits we ended the evening with another set of inspiring dishes. We sampled a selection of cheeses from across the region including an outstanding strong cheddar and a fragrant blue. The desserts were playful and took an exciting take on some British classics. The Highcliff Banoffee was a true favourite, another delight with every mouthful. There was also the playful Rhubarb, Custard and Ginger, a beautifully fun looking dish that also delivered great flavours.
Through the course of the evening, the service was attentive, helpful and extremely friendly. Our host offered me a rundown of the wine list and I was particularly impressed by the scope of crisp refreshing whites and smooth spicy reds.
All together, the Highcliff Grill produced a fantastic dining experience. The food was exquisite and can be described as enchanting and innovative. The atmosphere to match was so relaxed and enjoyable. It is an ideal place for visitors to Bournemouth who are looking for food that won’t disappoint.
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