Gourmet pizzas and fab cocktails? We are ALL over that - Muddy nipped across the border to Dorset to check out super hip soho.
Located in the historic Dorset town of Christchurch, not too far from the Hampshire border, is soho. This town centre spot has many guises – bar, cafe, gourmet pizzeria AND when the night draws in, it even becomes a mini-nightclub. Talk about a one-stop shop.
The interior is slick – comprising of dark paint, wooden tables, exposed brickwork as well a mixture of metal fixtures. It has a really relaxed, yet cool, atmosphere that suits its transition from a cool daytime cafe into the buzzy nightime hotspot.
There is also a terrace that gives a pretty impressive look over to the ruins of Christchurch Castle, and is an ideal place to plonk yourself on a sunny day with a few long cocktails.
As the sun sets the place becomes a fantastic spot for a bit of people watching. The clientele was a real mix of both young and old, people out for a night on the tiles as well as more relaxed diners like ourselves.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The menu here is simple but full of real crowd-pleasers, with the soho gourmet pizzas taking centre stage. We opted to try one of the more quirkier pizzas on the menu – the ‘Tuk Tuk’. This came topped with chicken satay, tiger prawns, spring onions, chillies and a good dollop of satay sauce – Naples with a slight side-track to South-East Asia.
The base was crisp, the toppings delicious and the unusual flavour combo worked really well. What’s even better is you also have the option of ordering a smaller sized pizza if you’ve got less of an appetite (or just want to save room for dessert!)
To go with the pizza we also ordered one of the Club Soho Kebabs. This is as far removed from a greasy donner as you can get, and the skewer was filled with juicy chunks of chargrilled chicken and pancetta that had been marinated in rosemary and garlic. It also came with some excellent flatbread, dressed salad and some crispy fries.
Finishing the meal we decided to share a ‘soho mess’, an amalgam of meringue, chocolate brownie, ice-cream and chocolate sauce. The meringue was crispy and chewy in all the right places and the mixture of textures went really well together.
For drinks, there’s a pretty good range of wines with most glasses starting around £4.95, beers both in bottle and draught plus over 20+ cocktails to pick from. And, if you fancy going ‘out-out’ they even have that retro fav, the Slippery Nipple, to giggle about with your friends.
OUT & ABOUT
This is definitely the place for you history buffs. With the ruins of Christchurch Castle, the Grade I listed Christchurch Priory and the gothic splendour of Highcliffe Castle all nearby, there’s layer-upon-layer of British history to check out on your visit.
For something a tad more modern the town is also home to a couple of free festivals. In May there’s the brand new Mudeford Seafood Festival with celeb chef guests and plenty of food to try out. And in July there’s the Christchurch Music Festival with two stages of music, stalls and all sorts of family fun.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
GOOD FOR: This is the perfect place for a night out with your besties. Good simple food that pleases all tastes and requirements, not to mention the lure of a post-dinner boogie when you’ve polished off a couple of bottles with your meal.
NOT FOR: A quiet romantic night out. In the evening it can be a bit loud, with the tunes pumping out. Also, it’s quite family-friendly during the day (and they have a great kids menu as well) but when the sun goes down, it’s probably best to leave the kids with a babysitter.
THE DAMAGE: £ – With the mains costing on average about £13.00 and desserts at £5.50, this is a budget-friendly option for a relaxed night. There are also some good offers here midweek with a 3 for £17 pizza menu and 2 for £12 on cocktails.
Soho, 7 Church St, Christchurch BH23 1BW. Tel: 01202 496140