Bestival, an undisputed giant in the UK festival calendar and the last big British festival of the summer, is set to take place this week, from the 8th to the 11th. It’ll draw tens of thousands of festival-goers, from all corners of the British Isles and beyond, to a (hopefully dry) field on the beautiful Isle of Wight for four days of out-of-this-world music and entertainment.
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Bestival this year, you can guarantee that once your tent is pitched and you’re darting from stage to stage, there’ll be plenty to keep yourself fuelled with, thanks to the incredible line-up of street food stalls coming to Bestival under the banner of The Feast Collective. There’ll be a mouth-watering range of flavours to treat your tastebuds to and a dazzling breadth of choice, spanning seafood, meat-eating, gluten free, veggie and vegan appetites.
With your next foodie affection already assured and waiting for you at Bestival, all you need to take care of is planning where you’ll be stopping off to eat on the way to and from the big event. With that in mind, we’ve put together a rundown of South Hampshire and Isle of Wight top picks, to ensure that fab eating and drinking takes place both before and after the festival.
We’re thinking substantial dishes that’ll be hearty enough to fuel you for the no-doubt heavy-going four-day revelling session that’s about to take place. The restaurants we’ve picked are known for bringing incredible flavours to bear on their plates, while not being shy about portion size:
Wave Maiden – Portsmouth: A genuine passion for what they do has seen the team at The Wave Maiden in Southsea attract foodies in droves to sample outstanding food and drink with inspiration taken from across the pond. Here, the downstairs restaurant takes cues from the busy watering holes of lower-eastside New York while an effortlessly cool New Orleans vibe lends its charm to the first floor beer hall.
Steak of the Art – Southampton: The story of Steak of the Art is a tale of passion and dedication to great food. For the team behind these amazing venues, sourcing the best ingredients is a real labour of love. They have sampled some of the best produce in the West Country in order to deliver a unique dining experience. Art is part of this restaurant – it’s in its exhibitions, its performances, in the very walls and booths of the venue so it’s a great place to flex your creativity and flair in preparation for the days ahead and it’s certainly somewhere to bring your appetite.
Huis – Portsmouth: Since its opening in spring 2015, a passion for all things Belgian has seen Continental bar and kitchen Huis go from strength to strength, amassing a loyal following of local Portsmouth foodies and international epicures alike. Here, Belgian food and drink take centre stage, with a captivating à la carte menu, regularly changing specials, and an impressive drink list that features over 60 different beers from Belgium.
Eating means something different for all of us. Some of us reach for a green smoothie for a dose of health, while others can’t be revived after a weekend of revelling without bacon. Alternatively, after several days of close-confines raving and camping in a field, an hour or twos’ relaxation and refreshment with a stunning sea view and a delectable dish might be all that you’re craving:
Garage Lounge – Portsmouth: A stone’s throw from the King’s Theatre and just down the road from the beach, award-winning destination café, Garage Lounge is a special little venue that offers an escape from bustling city life. Relaxed and quirky, the decor boasts an eclectic mix of antique furniture and period pieces, enhanced by mood lighting when the sun goes down. With coffee, cakes, milkshakes and a fab menu of delicious dishes, you’ll be back to your pre-Bestival self in no time.
Three Buoys – North Isle of Wight: Thanks to the restaurant’s first-floor location, husband-and-wife team Tim and Emma are able to offer customers stunning views across the Solent along with their lunch or evening meal. There’s also an outside terrace for relaxing and keeping cool on those particularly balmy days. As Three Buoys is open seven days a week, diners are able to enjoy the variety of different dishes whenever they please. Head chef Robert Green likes to make the most of the abundance of produce the local area has to offer – he even forages for ingredients himself and uses them in dishes on the specials board.
Platform Tavern – Southampton: You’ll find the Platform Tavern has all the charm you could wish for in a traditional English pub, with its dark wooden beams, decorative archways and welcoming staff. You can certainly expect the finest local ales, served by those who really know their stuff and are more than happy to have you taste your way through the selection. The food here is also pretty sensational. Think hearty traditional plates that’ll help you recover and leave you ready for whatever Monday brings. The pub often hosts live music with line-ups attracting international and local talent, so it’s a great place to keep the festival vibe going when the promise of Bestival 2017 feels like a far-off dream.
Find more dining inspiration in our Hampshire & Isle of Wight Food & Drink Guide, you can request your free copy here, or read online below: