Hidden away, at the very end of Poole Road (Westbourne), lies Geneve Eatery, a very small but perfectly formed example of an independent restaurant with a lot to offer. Arguably a very trendy place to be, the walls lined with pictures and recipes and the menu offering a selection of fresh American/Mexican favourites, the Eatery is family run and quality orientated. The selection on the menu is rather small, but you can tell – both with the bustling atmosphere of the clearly regular clientele and the reviews online, that what is available to diners, goes down a treat.
Approximately a 25 minute walk from Bournemouth beach, my boyfriend and I arrived a little early for our reservation but were welcomed by the staff with a huge smile and a quiet little table at the rear of the restaurant. The service throughout was helpful and friendly, without being overly intrusive. With a maximum of 15 tables, we weren’t kept waiting for longer than ten minutes between each course, yet nothing felt rushed.
Hungry from a long day shopping, drinking cocktails and walking along the pier (more on this later), we decided to share a bowl of Geneve’s homemade nachos, which we both agreed (and I quote) were the best we’d ever had. Crunchy and delicious, with melted cheddar, mozzarella, crème fraiche and salsa, I could have quite happily tucked into another bowl myself but wanted to save room for the next course. I eat out a fair bit and absolutely love Mexican, yet always find the nachos (especially in the chain restaurants) a bit soggy and uninteresting, these were almost a cross between a biscuit and a crisp, because they had so much flavour. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect portion of nachos, these are definitely ones to try.
As a vegetarian, my options when dining out are usually very limited – especially when the menu itself is already rather small, however luckily – they offer a halloumi and red pepper burger, with a breaded and fried mushroom to give the dish some sustenance. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of mushroom (it’s something about the texture, yes I know I’m a fussy eater) but the waitress insisted that she was a fan and that I should try it. So I agreed. My boyfriend is the complete opposite of me (who has about 200 things I can’t or won’t eat) and had no hesitations in opting for the Bacon & Avacado Burger, in addition to ordering a portion of Chilli Cheese Fries for himself and Skin-On Fries for me.
With all of the burgers presented quirkily on wooden platters, with a small portion of (my new favourite) nachos beside it, were extremely photogenic (as you can see from the pictures) and similarly, very delicious. Halloumi is a very difficult thing to get right, and as someone who has grown up on the stuff (I have relatives who live in the Turkish side of Cyprus where it originates from) I am often disappointed if it’s undercooked and therefore too rubbery. Luckily, this dish was nothing of the sort – the halloumi was subtly charred, but not blackened or overcooked, so it regained it’s delicious texture and flavour – and was delicious topped with red pepper pieces and onion relish. I did have a few bites of the mushroom and was surprised at how the texture changes once breaded and fried, however it was a little thick for me – so I focused my attention (and stomach space) on tucking into the fries.
Although I was nicely full by the time I’d finished my main, I always leave a little room for dessert (I think it’s a girl thing), which was lucky since the menu offered two of my favourite choices – chocolate brownie and New York cheesecake. And since we couldn’t decide on just the one, we ordered both. I justified this by all the walking I’d done earlier in the day.
The brownie was one of the best I’d ever tasted (there seems to be a recurring theme with this restaurant), with the warm gooey chocolate juxtaposing against the cool vanilla of the ice cream. If I had to be picky, I’d say that there perhaps wasn’t enough of it (I could have eaten this ten times over), however for a very well priced £3.95, it was a very generous portion and room should definitely be left by any diner. Whether you’re a pudding person or not.
Overall, we had a really lovely evening at Geneve Eatery. It’s a little out of the way from all the main restaurants, but is definitely worth the extra few minutes walk – because the food is certainly not to be missed! If you’re ever in Bournemouth, or the surrounding area and fancy a night with food to remember, here’s the place to be.