Urban Guild owned by Local boy Mark Cribb, comprises of Urban Beach (Boutique hotel, cocktail bar & bistro), Urban Reef (Beach front bar, cafe & restaurant), The Wood Oven (Wood-fired takeaway pizza) and the Urban Farm (Plant, dig, harvest)
[edited to add – the Urban Garden (town centre bar, cafe and restaurant) was added to the chain in summer 2019).
We were invited to visit a number of the places within the chain and arrived first at Urban Beach which sits as the name suggests, directly between the shopping area of Boscombe and Boscombe beach. It was a glorious day in May and to enjoy the early summer sun we grabbed a seat in the outside terrace. This is a great space to sit, eat and socialise, if you feel a chill, just grab a blanket or press a button under your seat and your heater will warm you up. Thankfully today we didn’t need those, just a rather fine glass of Chenin Blanc poured by Urban Beaches General Manager Charlotte Taplin.
Charlotte talked us through the menu, we were especially interested in their new vegan menu and we were pleased to see a good selection of dishes on there (4 starters, 4 mains & 3 desserts) They also have a specials board or as they call it the Jiffy Lunch, two courses for £12.50 or three courses for £16.00, both included a soft drink.
We were eating in the evening so we both just selected a light main. I enjoyed tagliatelle in a wonderful deliciously peppery rich mushroom, crab and tomato bisque, topped with a fillet of pan-fried cod.
Vicky was going vegan today, so ordered the grilled Portobello mushroom, hummus, beetroot salsa, dressed mixed leaves and triple cooked chips. The salsa was delicately earthy, sat on a meaty (I know it’s a vegan dish) mushroom and the hummus contrasted well with its thicker, chunkier consistency. I did try to steal a few chips, but I lost that battle…
Time to check our room for the night; there are only 12 rooms in the hotel, each one has been decorated differently. Ours was a large spacious triple aspect room with a super-king bed, luxurious curtains, a massive black chandelier and something that can be a night saver in the summer, air conditioning!
Plenty of time then for a leisurely walk along the prom, watching the surfers and to regain our appetite for the evening’s meal at Urban Reef.
Mauro warmly welcomed us into Urban Reef Restaurant and showed us to our table. It was good to see the restaurant already full and buzzing. It was also good see a familiar face, Roberta who we remembered from our previous visit.
The menu was just as welcoming, plenty of seafood and dishes with great local produce. Their vegan menu also had plenty of choice, some on the main menu and also on separate plant-based menu.
My starter of Creole Style Crab Cakes was full of crab, but the cakes were a little soft, I would have preferred them with a crisper outside. The mango salsa had a satisfying kick to it. Vicky’s starter of Carrot, Chilli and Coriander Bhaji’s, with beetroot & ginger puree, fennel & orange salad was pleasantly spicy and a great selection from the vegan menu.
Vicky’s main of Chickpea & Roasted Vegetable Hotpot, was another from the vegan menu. The gravy was amazingly savoury and stuffed full of chickpeas & root vegetables – a proper hearty vegan meal. My main of roast fillet of haddock on a chorizo sausage, tomato & butterbean stew, griddled spring onion. Was full of great Mediterranean flavours, with plenty of chunky chorizo and it went well with our bottle of Pinot Grigio.
The light had totally gone by the time we reached desserts, so sorry no photographs of those. My Poached Rhubarb Crème Chantilly, condensed milk mousse and chocolate granola. Was light and full of sharp rhubarb, my sort of dessert. Vicky’s vegan chocolate brownie, was delicious, gooey, and chewy.
The restaurant was still full when we said our goodbyes & thanks and headed up the hill back to Urban Beach for the night. When we arrived the bar was full and live music was the attraction. With our room directly over the band, we didn’t think we would get much sleep before they finished, but we were astounded that once in the room we didn’t hear a sound.
We rounded off our very mini break in the morning with a full English breakfast and lashings of hot black coffee.
Thanks to all involved, especially Charlotte for being the host with the most and Roberta for looking after us so well – we will return….
Urban Guild HQ
23 Argyll Road
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||Yes|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||Yes|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||Yes|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|