It was Big Mac's birthday this week, so we all headed to Poole for a meal at the Cruel Sea, a splendid fish restaurant named after the Nicholas Monsarrat novel about his wartime experience in the North Atlantic.
The restaurant opened in 2013 and is a whole lot more welcoming than the choppy waters of the Atlantic. The kitchen is open so you can see the chef prepare your tapas dishes, the staff were friendly and patient, and the atmosphere is relaxed. We tried garlic butter prawns, a bowl of cod fillet and prawn bisque with prawns and mussels, Poole rock oysters and Cornish sprats. The three young boys devoured plates and plates of potatoes and bread, served with hummus, tzatziki and butternut squash.
This is a story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the story of the ocean, two ships, and a handful of men. The men are the heroes; the heroines the ships. The only villain is the sea, the cruel sea that man has made more cruel.
In a welcome and thoughtful touch, the staff brought out Big Mac's lemon posset dessert with a candle and singing Happy Birthday - we didn't even ask them to do this. They were extremely relaxed about the youngsters, even when McNephew kept asking for ice-cream. After being told they didn't have any, he suggested ways in which they could make more room in the freezer for it.
Apparently Big Mac saw a programme about Ben Fogle which included mention of the Cruel Sea, so I'm grateful to both of them for the recommendation- we'll be back!
5 Bank Chambers | Penn Hill Avenue, Poole BH14 9NB