Reviewed by Alice Letts
During the last bank holidays in the UK we decided to accept an invitation from friends to stay with them at the Isle of Wight. I had never been there before, and I was so looking forward to the trip. I was not disappointed. In fact my expectations were far exceeded, as I fell in love with the beauty of this island. Every moment of our holiday was enjoyed and savoured. Just before we were due to leave the Isle of Wight, our friends took us to the Folly Inn for lunch. We were planning to shout them lunch, but with us spending time looking for tables, the toilets, and queuing for drinks, we lost the opportunity as they had already paid for their own meals. Did I mention the toilets, yes, they were very cute in a cottagey sort of way and very clean and tidy, most comfortable. There is a baby changing facility in the disabled toilets, and they also have wheelchair access. As I walked out of the toilets I went past the entertainment room that was full of teenagers standing around the pool table. I realised it had been years now since I last had a game of pool or snooker, and I rather fancied trying my hand at it again. Recollections of the fact that I always lost miserably made me realise it wasn’t a bad thing to miss out on. I have recorded a video of the Folly Inn so you can see for yourself what it looks like.
I was very impressed with the facilities at the Folly. There was also a TV and a darts board. I also learnt that they hold live entertainment over Summer on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. There is also live entertainment on bank holiday Fridays and Sundays. When I walked into the pub I found my friend talking to what appeared to be the maitre’d, or the proprietor? The proprietors are Andy and Cheryl Greenwood. It is usually advisable to book a table at the weekends, but we were here on a Monday, being the bank holiday. So although the Inn was very full, there were still one or two tables available inside as well as outside. Outside there is a large beer garden, and some tables are shaded from the sun with sum umbrellas. There is a patio area to the right, and at night time there is lighting and heating outside. The gentleman was incredibly helpful and welcoming to us. He was patient as we tried to decide which table we would prefer. It is funny because we ended up moving at least twice, as people left and better tables became available. We decided to sit outside to take advantage of the hot sunny weather and the cool breeze. But our first table had bird droppings over it, which cannot be helped when the table is in the shade underneath a tree! So that is why we moved to the second table once that became available. It was out in the open air away from the tree, but it was still shaded because it had a large umbrella over it.
The Folly Inn attracts its customers from nearby office buildings and tourist visiting nearby Osborne House. The Folly Inn sits on the banks of the Medina River, so most of its clientele come from the boatsmen and yachtsmen and women themselves. The Inn even offers long term parking as a service to yachts people. If you don’t have your own transport (car, boat or otherwise) then you might want to consider taking a water taxi. The Inn runs is own ‘Folly Waterbus’ that will collect you from Cowes (that is home to the America’s cup incidentally). From Cowes the Folly Waterbus will bring you up to the pub. To book your place on the Folly Waterbus, telephone +44 (0)7974 864627. The Folly Inn also welcomes coaches and tours but requests appointments are made beforehand.
On Sundays they serve the traditional pub Sunday roast. There is also a special menu for those over 60 years called ‘Golden years menu’ that is available on Tuesdays from 12noon to 6pm. We didn’t quite qualify for that category, although we feel like we do frequently. Also, it was Monday, and not Tuesday. So we had the choice of ordering from the table menu, or from the specials chalk board inside the pub.
I decided to try something different for a change, and ordered the Guinea Fowl (above). The dish was of a generous serving and most delicious. I savoured every mouthful and left my plate completely empty, nothing to waste there! It was a most satisfying lunch that in fact lasted me all day so that I did not need to eat anything for dinner that night except for fruit.
My husband and his friend were not so adventurous, should I say, and ordered what they usually like to have when out in any pub. They had a hamburger and chips. It is quite funny, becuase my husband and I had agreed before hand that we would eat only half of our plate and then swap. The idea is that we get to try two different dishes. I mentally carved up my plate into two in my head. I had just finished eating my half of my plate when I looked over to husband’s plate. As I was now ready to swap. I coudn’t believe my eyes. My husband who had claimed to be ‘not hungry’ and with no appetite, had only three chips left on his plate. The burger and the rest of his chips had completely disappeared. I wonder where? Well, that was an astounding recommendation by him that his food was more than good but simply irresistable.
My friend is very keen on Thai and Indian food, hot and spicy. So she ordered the curry, and she enjoyed that too. I am just amazed at the variety of food the Folly Inn serves. The chefs are very accomplished. Which reminds me, we had the opportunity to meet the chefs. They came outside to our tables to deliver us our food, in spectacular style. I was very impressed, first of all with the opportunity to meet the chefs who had cooked our meals, and secondly, with how polite and friendly there were.
Our friend’s little four year old chose a plate from the children’s menu. She had been looking forward to her sausage and chips all day. So she had her treat, exactly what she wanted.
I thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the Folly Inn. Sitting outside especially was very relaxing. We heard the birds tweeting away, watched the yachts go past, the children swimming in the water and the feel of the cool breeze. I recommend you definitely make time for a visit to the Folly Inn next time you are in the Isle of Wight, and if you don’t have transport, don’t forget to telephone the Folly Waterbus to pick you up from Cowes. To get to Cowes you simply take the chain ferry that is free for passengers once you’ve arrived into East Cowes from the Mainland.
Folly Lane, Folly Road, East Cowes, Whippingham, Isle of Wight PO32 6NB, UK Tel. +44(0) 1983 297171
|Licensed:||Yes, fully licensed.|
|Hours:||Breakfast daily 9am – 11am.Drinks from Monday – Saturday 11am – 11pm and Sunday 11am – 10.30pm.|
100 – 200 aprox.
|Parking:||Yes, free parking on site for 50 vehicles plus overflow|
|Food:||10 out of 10|
|Presentation:||9 out of 10|
|Ambience:||9 out of 10|
|Service:||10 out of 10|
|Environment:||9 out of 10|
|Toilets:||8 out of 10|
Copyright © Alice Letts 2009