It was one of those nights when neither of us had the inspiration or energy to cook. You know the scenario… a long and frustrating day at work, the lack of desire for creating some culinary delicacy and being starving hungry to… no, a home cooked meal was definitely not on the cards! So, what do you do in such a situation? You search online for something locally and have a license to be a little bit more choosy with your evening meal. In our case, we both agreed we should treat ourselves to a steak.
Where to find a decent Steak in Southbourne or Christchurch?
When it comes to eating out in the local area, one doesn’t have too many choices, not unless you’re living on the high street! In our case we are tucked away in the suburbs of Southbourne, our nearest neighbourhoods are Southbourne, Tuckton, and Christchurch and though they have a few good restaurants – Ciccio’s comes to mind (in Tuckton) – there is little in the way of a good steak.
We had the choice of 3 restaurants serving steak: the Riverside Harvester, Tuckton, Bournemouth, The Cat & Fiddle, Christchurch, and the Beefeater in Christchurch. We had already reviewed the Cat & Fiddle and as readers know, were not impressed. We have eaten a few times at the Riverside Harvester that boasts a fairly good salad bar, though the meat (in our opinion) is overcooked, so we both agreed upon the Beefeater.
The Beefeater is located in Somerford, Christchurch. It’s a chain restaurant with locations dotted throughout the UK. It is not a bad looking place and has that relaxed atmosphere with its dimmed lights, red décor and wooden furnishings that one often finds in Steak Houses and BBQ Restaurants.
Looks Good on Paper!
The menu looks great and throws up a mouth-watering selection of treats for all the carnivores out there, including a variety of steaks, clearly complimented by the menu’s images of juicy looking cuts of meat. It all looks great on paper. We order the Nachos to share for our appetiser, my partner ordered the Chicken and Vegetable Risotto, and I ordered the Steak platter.
Our drinks arrived fairly promptly with partner enjoying a subtle Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – fresh and fruity with a hint of Gooseberry (£6.50). I ordered an orange juice mixed with cranberry. (£2.50).
Sharing Nachos – £6.49
About 10 minutes after we order, our appetiser arrived. A plate filled with delicious looking Nachos smothered with Cheddar cheese, diced red onions, and sliced jalapenos accompanied by salsa and sour cream & chive dip. Unfortunately, a key ingredient of a good Nachos is Guacamole, which was sorely missed here! Nevertheless, we were quite hungry and soon devoured the large plate. The nachos were just ‘okay’…I know that’s not a word that a food reviewer would generally use but seriously it was the first word that came into both of our minds. We felt the sharing Nachos would be best suited to a group or party situation as an accompaniment to drinks… you know, not paying too much attention to what’s passing your lips, but good enough as a crunchy munchy! Certainly, it would not be the focal point of the meal… they were non-descript and though it all sounded good on paper it was as we say ‘okay!’
Chicken, Vegetable, Thyme and White Wine Risotto – £11.99
My partners’ dish of Risotto with Chicken and vegetables arrived looking very colourful, fresh and delicious. That’s one thing I will say that the Beefeater manages to deliver where others fail, their food looks as good on the plate as it does on the menu! It could have been served directly from a photograph in fact! Unfortunately, that is where the positive description ends. It sounds great, and it looks the part but it was just a chicken and rice dish at the end of the day, not a true risotto, no creaminess! It was another meal that just seemed to be okay. Also, had the Beefeater run out of Parmesan cheese? It appears they substituted parmesan for regular cheddar or similar… definitely a no-no (Marco would have had a seizure) in our book! Perhaps the title of the dish should have been chicken with thyme, vegetables and white rice!!! This was a risotto in name only, that’s for sure! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t unpleasant, there were tasty fresh vegetables making the dish a healthy dish, but it wasn’t what it said on the packet!
Ultimate 16oz Steak Platter – £19.99
My dish of several sample cuts of steak arrived with chips, mushroom, onion rings and half a tomato. I ordered the steaks (rump, sirloin, rib-eye, fillet) medium rare except for the Rib-eye that was ordered medium due to the amount of fat our waiter mentioned was in it. The steaks again were acceptable but really just paid lip-service to being steaks in name only. The fillet was very tender as you would expect and had a good flavour. The other steaks were overcooked or tough, in fact, I had to leave the rump as it was entirely too tough and chewy. The waiter shrugged and did not offer a replacement. The mushroom was very small (not large and flat) and dry. Chips (bottomless) were crispy and hot and pretty delicious actually! Again, just another acceptable ‘okay’ dish.
Our Check arrived with a total of £48.80 and with an added tip took it to £55.00 in total. That’s a lot of money to pay for a meal that is mediocre but ‘okay’. One special note here is that the wait staff were very friendly and helpful, asking if we required anything additional. They’re the ones who get top marks at the Beefeater in Christchurch!
We would not recommend the Beefeater Grill in Christchurch for a good meal. For a night out with friends sitting around with drinks and light bites to eat, it would be perfect, or grabbing a quick business lunch or dinner would work here too.