Review: The Mess – Canteen + Bar, Cowes


A welcome mid-week break and lunch out with an old friend. The Mess Canteen and Bar opened in Cowes a year or so ago. I had been in a few times for their lager and amazing cocktails, but never for a meal. The atmosphere is really lovely in this place. It has all sorts of fabulous touches like ceiling lamps made out of colanders and light fittings made out of bicycle wheels that manage to look just both fun and stylish rather than pretentious. I loved the wall pots made out of ….. gravy tins!!


There is a terrific range of interesting cocktails that are easily and willingly made into alcohol-free mocktails. I had a mocktail that consisted of cucumber, rosemary, lavender topped with tonic water. It was just gloriously refreshing and luxuriously delicious.


The menu is not extensive but that is a good thing as everything is fresh, local and clearly made to order.


My friend had the grilled goats cheese salad – and raved over how good it was.


I went for the mushrooms on farmhouse toast and was presented with a plate of the most utterly delicious wild mushrooms.  It was rich, creamy, sumptious.


In short a good trip. The two us also got away with a bill for £20…… for a mocktail, water, two scrumptious meals and two cups of coffee. That in itself is extraordinary in a town like Cowes that tends to lean to the expensive side of things. I can really recommend The Mess and will certainly be making a return trip very soon.

** True to my word, two days after this visit, Husband-Gusto and I made another trip for lunch. The mushrooms were again ordered, and the pork burger with caramelised apples and coleslaw. Again the food was truly excellent, and for a really exceptional price. Just £6.50 for the burger. We also ordered a side of rosemary fries and the most enormous portion came stacked high in a colander. The fries were piping hot, fresh, crispy and fluffy and not at all greasy. The rosemary and salt was perfect and did not overwhelm. If possible, I liked The Mess even more on the second trip.


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