Review: Excellent cuisine mixing Italian and English flavours at beautiful marina (From Bucks Free Press)
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Review: Excellent cuisine mixing Italian and English flavours at beautiful marina
I'M not a big fan of boats after developing a fear of water when I went white water rafting on The Nile but I had no need to worry when I went to The Showboat restaurant near Marlow for a meal. Situated in the marina at the elegant Harleyford Estate it is securely fixed and barely moves, and for the first time this year is open to members of the public. After sampling the amazing food and warm hospitality it is certainly competition for the other Marlow restaurants.
We were welcomed on board by the friendly and knowledgeable Maître d' Igor Minuzzo, who has taken over the running of the restaurant this year with his fiancée, Manu Consolaro. The Italians moved to England eight years ago and have a wealth of experience in hospitality with the Showboat being the first venture of their own. They are joined by chef, Carl Breese, who is from West Sussex and at the bar Kristee Rana.
Igor told me they aim to bring traditional Italian food to the table with an English twist and English food with an Italian twist. They change the menu regularly in accordance with the seasons and offer an all day menu. Their emphasis is on creating fresh, simple flavours. And this year is the first time it will be open all year around, throughout the season and can be visited by the public.
I felt as if I was on holiday as I stepped down into the boat's cabin, and there is plenty of outside space for warmer days. Igor is great as the front of house and is friendly, genuine and passionate about what he does. For an aperitif we were given a Showboat Bellini, which is an orange flavoured Italian aperitif called Aperol mixed with Prosecco. It was light, simple and a mixture of sweet and dry. For starters I had crab and apple with avocado purée and a tomato coulis (£6), which was absolutely delicious. I am a big fan of crab and the white meat was perfectly seasoned mixed with the fresh, crisp taste of small apple pieces. The purée and coulis rounded off the dish well. My boyfriend, Tom had confit pheasant with a dandelion, cob nut and grape salad (£5.50). The pheasant was served in a jar alongside the salad and homemade crisp toast. Again it was wonderfully seasoned with not too much of a gamey taste. For mains I had confit pork belly with Roman cauliflower, caramelised apples, fondant potatoes and a cider jus (£12). The presentation was superb. I am a big fan of pork belly and again this was some of the best I had tried. It was perfectly crisp on the outside and the meat was tender. Along with the rich jus and the beautiful apple it was very moreish. I had never tried Roman cauliflower before, and although looked very unusual, was buttery and fresh.
Tom had pan fried sea bass with Spanish bean salad, red wine mayonnaise and kale crisps (£11). Again beautifully presented the sea bass was tender and tasty with the well accompanied mayonnaise. The kale crisps were delicate and salty. For dessert I had white chocolate and blackberry mousse (£4.50), which married the sweetness of the chocolate and the slight tartness of the berries well. It was a light finish to an excellent meal.
Tom had apple crumble with tart damson ice cream (£4.50) which was unusually presented with the crumble alongside the apple. With the icecream it was a great twist to the English classic.
They also cater for parties and have a heated marquee, and their Christmas menu is now available. There also three bedrooms available, which are £60 per night including breakfast. The Showboat presents excellent, high quality food. The beautiful presentation just adds to the amazing flavours in all the dishes I tried. I was thoroughly impressed with the food, and will certainly give other restaurants in the area a run for their money. Go to www.showboat-restaurant.co.uk.
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