An original, independent review by Daniel Large:
I set off on my expedition to the outer reaches of Southbourne in the blazing sun, ravenous and therefore slightly tetchy. It’s always a joyful journey when people conveniently forget their headphones. I wasn’t going to let that ruin the trip however; it was a glorious day and an afternoon of fine food lay ahead for me.
I get off the bus and right there to greet me is The Larder House. I take in the surroundings and appreciate the strong rustic feel with hanging wooden beams and copper furnishings. I am told that The Larder House is an evening restaurant but despite this, the place is still teeming with diners. The Larder House has only been open for five weeks, meaning word of the place opening and its reputation must have spread mighty fast. Hopefully the service will be pretty rapid too as the smell drifting from the kitchen and the wood burning oven is cruelly enticing.
I opt for the free range chicken, leek and New Forest bacon sandwich. Without much of a wait, my lunch is ready. All sandwiches are made from homemade dough baked in the wood burning oven. Mine comes in a warm flatbread, with a mixed leaves salad accompaniment. It’s a tasty success, the dough is delightfully fresh and the combination of ingredients work well together
The bustling owner James Fowler, looks rushed off his feet, but somehow finds the time to speak to me and explain how The Larder House got up and running. “We were working 17 hour days for six weeks and the only person we hired was an electrician, building everything ourselves by hand.” This is quite an achievement and the result is stunning. As soon as you enter you’re transported to on ‘olde worlde’ dimension of archaic trinkets with staff wearing braces and looking distinctly like folk musicians.
“It’s safe to say we are one of the only places along the street that’s open during the evening, apart from the Ludo Lounge”. The Larder House does offer something different to its other competitors, like the Hawaiian style pizza, that has a clever twist. Hand-carved Serrano ham is used and ingeniously enough there isn’t actually any pineapple per se, but pine and apple; the pizza is pine-smoked and caramelized spiced Bramley apple is also added. Once the pizza has been brought out to your table, the pine smoke is then released allowing diners to fully appreciate the scent and flavour.
Such was the rush to get the place open, certain parts are incomplete and James tells me that plans for the near future include refurbishing the garden, the frontal area and toilet which has not been altered. This has not hampered the flurry of interest in the restaurant, with reservations already piling up.
Visited by BHbeat contributor Dan Large in March 2011