Dinner ‘On The Water’

Right on the seafront at Lee-on-the-Solent is a bistro-style restaurant which has undergone something of a transformation.

Having grown up in Lee, as a child it was the café for the outside swimming pool which I loved. My sister then had her wedding reception there ten years ago, and we’ve sometimes gone there for a sunny weekend breakfast on the beach.

But I’m a little ashamed to say that we haven’t really visited in its current form until recently and I feel like we’ve been missing out – not least because it’s walking distance from our Hill Head home.

‘On the Water’ now is warm and relaxed, a blend of café, bar, bistro and restaurant with stunning views over the beach and across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Outside are picnic benches with glass barriers protecting you from the infamous Lee winds that whip across the Solent.

Inside is soft lighting and relaxed furnishings along with heritage pictures of the swimming pool which was such as a massive part of my life growing up.

Starters were exceptional. Grilled skate wing with pickled grapes and chicory with a green olive and anchovy dressing, 24 hour pork belly, pickled rhubarb, crackling, celeriac remoulade and rhubarb ketchup. Then sharers of salt and pepper squid, crispy onion, red chilli, charred lime, sriracha mayo alongside a bowl of breaded whitebait, bloody Mary mayonnaise and szechuan salt.

Options for mains were fairly limited – something for everyone once but to secure repeat visitors it needs some more specials on the menu to ring the changes. We opted for cod and triple cooked chips, crushed peas, homemade tartare sauce while one of us went for the bacon and cheeseburger, lettuce, onion, tomato, dill pickles, OTW Burger sauce.  It was all really good.

My son and his friends go regularly for breakfast and it would be a great option for lunch, or just coffee and cake. If you’re a fan of a beer or wine outside with a view, you won’t get a better location (London Pride on draught).

If you’ve got little ones there’s a great play area next door and the massive play area that is the beach and the sea – definitely worth a visit.