IN 2019 the Taverners was taken on by Tim and Emma Foster, owners of Ryde's celebrated seafood restaurant Three Buoys.

It was a bold move, as both venues had solid reputations but with quite different offerings.

When we visited, we found the new Taverners proved itself a type of chimera: creating a brand new beast from the fusion of two of the Island's landmark talents.

The Taverners does whitebait exceptionally well. Lightly-seasoned fish sparkle with sea salt, freshly-squeezed lemon juice and glimpses of silvery scales. Dunking them head first into tabasco mayonnaise, we relished the plentiful fishy dishy.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The whitebait was really tasty.

The outstanding beef and ale pie (pictured top) has some of the finest suet pastry known to humankind. Outsides browned with rich juices; the copious meat inside gives an overwhelming comfort-food vibe.

With lashings of what is described as 'proper' gravy, nobody will be going away anything other than blissfully satisfied.

Cat's gurnard fillet was deftly seasoned; crisp edges were pleasingly salty, its soft flaky flesh delicate and smooth. Cat loved the Tav's sauteed spuds; gurt discs of potato cooked in garlicky butter. Creamed parsnip puree was mopped up with leaves of dark crinkly spinach. It was an outstanding main which ticked all of Cat's boxes.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cat's gurnard fillet.

Taverners brownie was almost the texture of cookie dough; chocolate subtly employed. Brittle nuggets of scattered hazelnut praline provided the crunch and alongside was a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, still enjoying its moment at the top of Cat's ice cream flavour chart.

Matt was ploughing straight on with the classics on the menu: sticky toffee and Medjool date pudding. The steamed pud sat in a lake of superb treacly sauce; a ball of vanilla ice cream melting enticingly into it.

We're pleased to report that with a fresh hand on the tiller, the Taverners retains its pub charm, with flashes of the familiar brilliance from the Three Buoys kitchen.

If you're pining for the satisfying and beautifully wrought gastro-pub standards, be reassured the Taverners is as good as ever — if not better.

What's more, Cat saw in her exquisitely delicate gurnard hints of a subtlety and seafood know-how that befits the new owners, fresh from their popular seaside restaurant. This chimera of two great venues seems to have put all the bits together in the right order.

Matt & Cat's bill:

Whitebait: £6.50

Beef and ale pie: £15

Gurnard fillet: £17

Puddings 2 @ £7: £14

Total £52.50

VERDICT: Five stars: exceptional — one of the very best places we have visited.

Click here to read more reviews by Matt and Cat.

Read more: New owners at Godshill's Taverners