DISH DETECTIVE: Standing out from the crowded market with top-notch dishesÂ

  Restaurant-wise, we live in times of plenty. I often say to my two kids - both teenagers - 'when I was your age there was hardly anywhere to go for a meal out.'

Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 6:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 2:27 pm
Wildwood at Portsolent

I don't know why I say this, as they never listen. Instagram and computer games are far more interesting than Dish Detective going on about how hard done they are.

But it's true. I only recall the global fast food brands and a handful of countryside pubs. Look at the options available now, including almost 20 at Port Solent '“ the location for  Dish Detective's latest excursion.

Wildwood opened on the site of the old Chiquito restaurant in November 2015 following a total renovation. 

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Wild boar and chorizo burger with sweet potato fries

The three word slogan under the Wildwood name outside the restaurant is 'pizza  pasta  grill' so we knew what we were letting ourselves in for.

It isn't a menu to lose yourself in. No more than 10 choices in each of the main categories plus some salads and specials.

I was tempted by the mussels until my eyes settled on the wild boar and chorizo burger, a 7oz bad boy complete with jalapenos, relish and mayo. And, for 50p extra, an upgrade to sweet potato fries.

  This latter choice was sufficient for Dish Detective's companion to declare I was 'posh', but she is from Merthyr Tydfil so I'll let her off ...

She opted for the Philly steak and cheese sandwich, which arrived accompanied by a chimichurri dressing.

To be honest, I had no idea what a chimichurri dressing contained, but it originates from South America and is made of chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, olive oil and red wine vinegar. So now you know. 

Well, if only every decision we ever make will be this good.

My main simply oozed flavour and it was a pleasant change to chomp on a burger in a restaurant that didn't come with a big stick through it and which promptly fell apart on first munch.

The sandwich also hit the spot too.

I don't know how often you see direct quotes in Dish Detective, but here is one '“ 'that was the best steak sandwich I have ever eaten'.

High praise, and I could see why '“ several impressive layers of beautifully tender steak, with a barbecue sauce dip for added bite.

Moving merrily onto desserts, my banoffee sundae was food utopia, while my companion's lemon meringue sundae offered a zesty equivalent.

 This was happily hoovered down, although '“ another direct quote coming up '“ 'it was a bit too sickly'.

My Welsh friend wished she'd gone for a chocolate sundae option instead. Well, there's always next time ...

In today's restaurant-dominated society you need an X-Factor to stand out from the crowd.

 And it's fairly crowded at Port Solent, that much is true.

With that in mind, we were very impressed to see the restaurant boasting its own kids' play area, a splendid touch.

Indeed, there was a large group of mums with babies happily eating and chatting away. There were no tears, no tantrums '“ and the babies were really well behaved too.

So many eateries these days offer just pizza and pasta, and an increasing amount offering gourmet-type burgers.

So is there still room for a Wildwood, which doesn't claim to be a specialist in any specific food type?

I like to think so. All our dishes were packed full of flavour, and were competitively priced. Competition is incredibly intense down at Port Solent, but Wildwood is certainly worth a visit.

Wildwood, Port Solent (023) 9387 1800

Ratings (out of five)

Food - 4

Value - 4

Ambience - 4

Child friendly - 5