THE HUGE, airy spaces of Harvey Browns at Arreton, make it one of the most remarkable purpose-built venues to open on the Isle of Wight for some time.

Inside one can find a vast food hall, a butchery, and of course a cafe. If you're thinking that a farm shop will merely be serving cream teas and warmed up local pastries, think again.

Crab and trout gravadlax starter was a generous spiral of home-cured Chalkstream trout wrapped around a courgette strip, book-ended by two rich spoonfuls of crab mayonnaise.

Pink grapefruit morsels and slices of heritage radish gave both taste and texture contrast; a couple of warm slices of sourdough toast made this quite a substantial starter.

Isle of Wight County Press: The crab and trout gravadlax starter at Harvey Brown's in Arreton.The crab and trout gravadlax starter at Harvey Brown's in Arreton.

The dish would not have been out of place on a white linen tablecloth at a fancy hotel.

The tasty and generously applied crab mayo made a reappearance in the main courses with a big crab and avocado sandwich.

This simple construction was all it promised, and the kitchen had wisely resisted the temptation to contaminate the subtle crab with anything to mask its taste.

Isle of Wight County Press: The crab and avocado sandwich at Harvey Brown's in Arreton.The crab and avocado sandwich at Harvey Brown's in Arreton.

Moroccan spiced lamb shoulder (main image, top) had a distinctly North African feel. The advertised date and olive tagine was reduced to a handful of olives, and the charred baby romanesco looked rather like a bit of regular broccoli with a suntan.

This might be put down to an ambitious new menu, because the lamb was an outstanding dish regardless.

A sumptuous gravy covered the big piece of lamb with Moroccan spices and peppercorns, and the pot of pomegranate and almond tabbouleh alongside was an inspired touch.

After our lunch we took a stroll down by the nearby lake and enjoyed views of the building complex which, despite its size, seems to be a great improvement to the landscape of what was an abandoned mineral works.

The dining experience on offer is far better than one might expect from a farm shop.

Given the proud farming heritage of the Brown family we might have expected to see more local produce identified on the menu, but as this is a brand new venture perhaps this is coming in due course.

Harvey Browns, currently open for breakfast and lunch only, is a remarkable addition to the Isle of Wight's attractions, and we say it will be a big success.


Crab and gravadlax £9
Lamb shoulder £15
Crab/avocado sandwich £12

TOTAL: £36.

RATING: Four stars. Very good indeed; well worth seeking out.


Harvey Browns, Hale Manor Farm, Arreton, Isle of Wight, PO30 3AR.

T: 01983 527530


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