REVIEW: Schpoons and Forx, Hilton Bournemouth
By Helen Wright
- Hilton Bournemouth, Terrace Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5EL
- @schpoonsandforx schpoonsandforx
- Price before wine and tip £68
- House wine Casa Albali Tempranillo, £19
- Food type Locally souced unique takes on UK cuisine
- Best dish Beef Cheek Arancini
- Is booking required? Recommended
- Dress code Casual
Eating in the hotel restaurant used to be something you did when you were too tired or lazy to bother exploring outside for dinner. Nowadays, quality in-house dining has become a major factor in choosing where to stay. Innovative and exciting chefs have transformed the concept and we are definitely here for it. One place that has done this and more is the slick yet unpretentious Schpoons and Forx, housed in the Hilton Bournemouth Hotel.
Eight-months pregnant and enjoying a chilled out weekend by the coast to celebrate my birthday, we booked a relaxed stay at the Hilton Bournemouth. Our plan was to relax and enjoy a treat before the baby arrived and the modern, recently renovated hotel was exactly what we wanted. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay (read the full review here) and dinner at Schpoons and Forx was one of the highlights. So much so, I decided to write a separate post about it!
The best restaurant in Bournemouth?
It didn’t seem likely that we’d stumbled across one of the best restaurants in Bournemouth without leaving the hotel, but I was excited by the menu as soon as I saw it. Schpoons and Forx is an independent restaurant with its own entrance from the street, as well as the one connected to the hotel. In terms of location, lovely Bournemouth beach is less than a ten minute walk away so location-wise, it’s in a great spot.
Head Chef, Matt Budden, has a unique take on British dining using a Tandoor clay oven to add a tasty twist. Ingredients are proudly sourced locally and celebrated on the menu. The aroma greets you as you enter, the open-plan kitchen sizzling in preparation. We were seated in a large booth, since I was heavily pregnant, we had booked a table earlier than we usually would (6pm), so the restaurant wasn’t busy but there was still a pleasant atmosphere. The dining room is decorated in a slick mid-century style with elegant chrome furnishings and a modern ceiling sculpture made from its namesake forks and spoons.
spoilt for choice starters
The menu was original with a lot of interesting choices, but the starters were the hardest to choose from. I opted for Crisp Monkfish Cheeks with Katsu sauce and coriander (£8), that were like fancy fish fingers, cooked to perfection and fried in featherweight batter. Simon had Beef Cheek Arancini with Dorset wasabi and watercress (£8). The tender meat crumbled with a brush of the fork and the fresh accompaniments complimented the rich flavour. The presentation was reminiscent of an upscale restaurant but didn’t feel out of place with the relaxed vibe. As well as the quality food, service at Schpoons and Forx was also spot on, our waiter could not have been friendlier or more helpful.
The main event
The main plates were also a hit. The waiter recommended the Tandoor Roasted Whole Mackerel (£17), which was served with pickled cucumber, charmoula dressing and flatbread. I took the liberty of ordering olive oil mash with basil and parmesan (£3.50) even though I didn’t need it, because it sounded tasty. Pleased to report, it was! The fish was flavoursome, if a little tricky to negotiate. It was almost too much for me to finish – but I managed.
Simon ordered the Clay Oven Roasted Fillet with roast bone marrow, skinny fries and aioli (£26). You could tell the quality of the beef (local Dorset Stokes Marsh Farm) and it was served perfectly. Generous portions, quality ingredients and stylish presentation.
Always room for pudding
I was so full by the end of starters and mains that I couldn’t possibly fit in any more food… or could I? Our waiter insisted we try the desserts, which he promised wouldn’t disappoint. In the end, we caved and shared the mini dessert sampler – a combination of Creme Caramel, butterscotch meringue and Mississippi Mud Pie. Even though I was fit to explode, they were worth making space for.
But that wasn’t all! Having overheard we were celebrating my birthday, the waiter gave me a birthday cake at the end of the meal (along with a box so I could take it back to my room). It was such a lovely touch and really highlighted the personal service and customer care.
Schpoons and Forx is far from a classic hotel eatery, but a worthy restaurant in its own right, perfectly pitched at a modern guest who enjoys good food and top service that compliments the laid back, coastal setting. We loved the menu but it’s the attention to small details that made the food memorable. Coupled with the elegant dining room and friendly service, we had a lovely evening here. The food was fantastic and I would wholeheartedly recommend.
Our stay at the Hilton Bournemouth was comped, but this did not affect our review of the hotel or our opinion of Schpoons and Forx.