Casa Pepe

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170 Holdenhurst Road,

01202 292010

The ViewBournemouth Review

Review byElla Jennings10/11/2009
Situated near the hustle and bustle of Lansdowne, Casa Pepe offers both English and Spanish cuisine in a cosy, friendly environment.

The Venue
Casa Pepe is a little-known restaurant, tucked away on Holdenhurst Road and just up the road from Sound Circus and Sampson’s. As it's just a stone’s throw from Bournemouth Interchange it’s a perfect restaurant to whisk away a visitor to Bournemouth who has just arrived by train or coach.

It's also close enough to the bars of Lansdowne to walk there for after-dinner drinks. It was refurbished in 2006 and Casa Pepe is a small, intimate restaurant which attracts a mix of customers, and is often frequented by couples or celebratory parties.

The People
Many of the staff have been with the restaurant for years and always remember the regulars. Whether you have been dining there for 20 years or are visiting for the first time, the staff are friendly and go out of their way to make you feel welcome, with nothing too much trouble for them.

Children are welcome but there's no specific children’s menu and therefore not many families choose to dine there. On weekdays you are usually able to get a table without booking – however at peak times such as Christmas, Mothers' Day or Valentine’s Day it is advisable to book.

Everyone tends to choose Casa Pepe to celebrate special occasions, so you will often see couples on a date or a small birthday party sharing your dining experience. While prices are not expensive compared to many restaurants, you would expect to pay around £15 for a main course, so the restaurant tends to attract the 30+ age group.

The Food

The a la carte menu at Casa Pepe is extensive, offering exciting taste fusions for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The selection of starters is very traditional, with dishes such as pate, an assortment of soups and prawn cocktail, and for the adventurous, escargots in garlic butter.

Prices for starters range from £3.50 to £6.75, with most of the dishes between a fairly standard £4 to £5. For your main course, why not try the veal cordon bleu - a tender escalope of veal stuffed with cheese and ham and then deep fried in breadcrumbs. The veal is served with a smooth and tangy mushroom and brandy-based sauce, which complements the tenderness of the veal.

The 8oz Steak Diane is highly recommended, and unlike many restaurants, the chef actually cooks what you order. The steak is hammered thin and served with a deliciously creamy and peppery brandy-based Diane sauce with mushrooms. The sweetness of the brandy offsets the richness of the cream, and is served in a decent-sized portion. The Steak Diane is available for a very reasonable £16.50.

All main meals are served with a very large selection of vegetables, including new potatoes, chips and cauliflower cheese, or a large portion of mixed side salad if you prefer. Main courses at Casa Pepe range from £10.25 to £22.50 with most dishes at around £15, and are not overloaded with garlic like many restaurants - good news if you’re on a date! However if you do have a penchant for garlic then garlic bread is available at £2.50.

There is also a wide vegetarian selection extremely reasonably priced at just £6.50 or £7.95, depending on the dish, plus the specials board (which seems to change every time you go) offers different mouth-watering starters, mains and desserts for everyone. For dessert the profiteroles are sure to be a favourite as, for just £3.50, you’ll get a hearty portion of freshly made profiteroles with a rich, hot dark chocolate sauce. For the kids, choose a coupe Casa Pepe – the classic knickerbocker glory – which contains fresh fruit, ice cream and sauce, costing £3.65.

The Drink
A selection of soft and non-alcoholic drinks are available, including the usual beers, lagers and spirits. The wine selection is excellent, with house wines offered for a very reasonable £11 a bottle.

If you’re dining with a wine buff, staff appreciate that you may be looking for a particular year, and are happy to let you examine the bottles to choose the right wine for you.

Red, white, rose and sparkling wines are available, and if you are feeling decadent why not try a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape – an oaky, full-bodied red wine which is perfect with steak.

The Last Word
Casa Pepe is cosy and welcoming and offers a first-class mix of appetising food and excellent service, and it's the ideal restaurant to celebrate that special occasion.
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