The Contrast Magazine

Urban Reef – REVIEW

The Urban Reef is an informal bar, café, deli and restaurant located at the newly transformed Overstrand on Boscombe promenade. This unique location offers panoramic views over the stunning Bournemouth Bay and to the Purbecks and beyond.

Very graciously summed up; Urban Reef couldn’t be better located, on the promenade looking out over the idyllic south coast. We’re conducting this review from not one, but several visits in the past few months. This magazine is about celebrating local brilliance, and The Urban Reef is exactly that, local brilliance…

Welcome Mark Cribb, the passionate soul behind The Urbans and influential pioneer of Boscombe’s renovation, chairing The Boscombe Area Regeneration Group for 2011/2012. It’s clear from the moment you step inside Urban Reef, they’re different. Much different. From the interior modern-retro chic and the oak clad rustic exterior decor (suitably themed as a surf chilled vibe) to the warm welcoming staff give customers each and every visit, it’s clear Mark’s vision is being lived throughout the Urban Reef.

We’re not here to critique the meals down to the amount of veg served or size of steak etc, because in general, you probably wouldn’t have tasted food quite like Urban’s in most, if not all restaurants in the area. If you’re passionate about great British food (with a hint of the sunshine med) and love trying new twists on classic dishes, with the majority consisting of locally sourced produce then book right away for this weekend and treat a loved one. You won’t be disappointed.

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Our favourites:

Breakfast: ‘Surfs Up’ full English breakfast – two free range eggs, Dorset pork sausage, two rashers of smoked rindless bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomato & toast. Not your typical fry up.

Lunch: Blandford farm assured Cajun chicken breast, fire roasted red peppers & sour cream tortilla wrap.

Dinner: Cornish mussels steamed in garlic & white wine to start, love the edge garlic & white wine gave the mussels.
West Country 8oz rib eye steak, roasted cherry tomatoes, grilled flat mushroom & chunky Maris Piper chips, perfection in a dish.
For dessert, New Forest ice cream served in a honey tuile basket, we aren’t overly impressed with the desert options, either a Dark Chocolate tart, Lemon Posset or Bread and Butter pudding.. All rather sharp, specific tastes, so we played it safe with the delicious New Forest ice cream.

To wrap it up…

Urban Reef have pulled together all the great features you could possibly ask for in a beach side cafe / bar / restaurant combo. Solid selection of hot beverages, homemade freshly squeezed juice and smoothies with Guinness & Hoegaarden on tap! Kay the cake’s freshly baked patisserie and chilled music playing on the rustic bottom deck with their unique relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere… Not to mention the extensive cocktail menu for those summery evenings off the beach.

Fundamentals. The service is second to none, and it’s what Mark prides The Urbans on, it always has been and always will be. Mark uses fresh local produce in all aspects of the menu, they’ve even got their own farm in Sopley where they grow the fruit and veg customers eat, as you do. With regards to location it’s unbeatable, you couldn’t be closer to the beach (literally) and there’s enough parking along the promenade, in the nearby car parks or on the over cliff for a short walk. Price, you get what you pay for and more. Urban Reef have nailed it right down to a tee, quality controlled from the farm to your plate every little detail is clearly cared for… Hats off to Cribb for pulling this off.

“Funky Cosmopolitan” in every way.