It’s got to be said, Bournemouth has never looked, or tasted, as good as does right now. The long-awaited Hilton Bournemouth opening its restaurant Schpoons & Forx and LEVEL8IGHT The Sky Bar, has made Bournemouth the must-visit destination on the South Coast.
With the grand opening only being weeks ago, clearly I had to experience an evening at the LEVEL8IGHT The Sky Bar and Schpoons & Forx Restaurant – And there’s no better way to enjoy these delights than with fellow Bournemouth bloggers Rosie, Brogan and Scarlett.
Starting with a cocktail in hand we gathered at LEVEL8IGHT The Sky Bar. With breathtaking sea views over Bournemouth and outdoor sky terrace, LEVEL8IGHT The Sky Bar is set to be the town’s ultimate drinking destination. The LEVEL 8IGHT cocktail lounge is Bournemouth’s highest bar and is styled with stunning chandeliers and grand seating. The outside terrace offer panoramic views and heated seats, making this a bar for all seasons. A striking gin wall showcases 49 different varieties and a contemporary yet classic cocktail list has been created by a talented team of mixologists. Must-tries include the Samphire and Sea Lavender Martini inspired by the nature reserves of Christchurch, the Bournemouth Sour with locally produced Conker dry gin, Angostura bitters, lemon juice, egg white, Havana Club and topped with Pinot Noir, or my favourite; the Bournemouth Pier Martini with Belvadere, Aperol, Chase rhubarb liqueur, lemon juice, rhubarb bitters, vanilla syrup served with rhubarb and custard candy floss – delicious.
Once we worked up an appetite we then headed down to Schpoons & Forx. Matt Tebbutt, chef, presenter of C4’s Food Unwrapped and author of two cookbooks, is at the helm of Schpoons & Forx, a modern British restaurant with unique décor that includes the focal point open kitchen. Watching the night unfold and the chefs at work, Matt prepared a whole host of distinctive dishes for us to taste that made full use of the kitchen’s stone oven, chargrill and tandoor.
Starting with ‘snack’ style food whilst enjoying a cheeky glass (or two) of rosé Matt served cockles, truffled cheese flatbread and an anchovy & garlic dip with raw vegetables. Followed by a signature starter; sautéed scallops with ham hock & broth and tandoor roasted mackerel – both of which I will clearly be back for!
For main; Medium steak & chunky chips, Mussels, clams, red mullet cooked in vermouth, Halibut with seaweed butter and Smoked haddock and mascarpone risotto. My favourite, a dish designed for sharing, was marinated loin of lamb cooked in the tandoor, with pomegranate, parsley, pickled chillies, yoghurt and mint dressing – yes, it does taste as good as it sounds!
And for desert (as no meal is complete without one) we enjoyed; Vanilla pannacotta with 30 year old post, Banana tart with caramel and amaretto, Crème brûlée, Chocolate tart, Wafer thin pineapple and passion fruit soft meringue, Red wine mint sorbet and Rum baba – an absolute pudding heaven one of which my tastebuds are still thankful for.
There is no wonder why Bournemouth is literally buzzing with the opening of Schpoons & Forx and LEVEL8IGHT The Sky Bar. Should you get the chance to visit, do. I couldn’t recommend the Hilton Bournemouth enough but due to local popularity, I would definitely suggest booking before.