The Boat House Cafe, Swanwick – burger review

I’m guilty of not venturing too far from home in my search for Hampshire’s best burger.

It was no different on Sunday night because I can’t get much closer to home than the Boat House Cafe in Swanwick Marina.

The Boat House Cafe is close enough for us to walk to as we can cut across Manor Farm Country Park. It’s also a handy refuelling stop when we do the Howards’ Way circular walk via Hamble and Warsash.

Tonight we were there to celebrate my niece Elsie’s 4th birthday. Despite a tempting menu that included pizza, hake risotto and fish pie, I went for my usual beef burger.

The things I do in the name of research, hey? Here’s how it scored.

About this burger

  • Date visited: 12 February 2017
  • Name on menu: Boat House Burger
  • Price: £12.50

How this burger scored

Patty – 6/10

Decent. Well-seasoned and juicy, without too much grease. Cooked well-done, which was probably a bit too much for my liking.

There were a few small chunks of fat minced in the patty. This didn’t affect the taste but I’d have preferred not to have seen them.

Boat House Cafe Burger

Chips – 8/10

Skinny, seasoned fries. Hot, crispy and tasty.

Not bad at all.

Bun – 9/10

A lovely, fluffy, tasty brioche-style bun. Held together well.

Toppings – 5/10

The burger came with prosciutto, lettuce, pickled chillis and onion jam. No cheese option, unfortunately.

The combination of toppings was tasty. But I’d have preferred bacon instead of prosciutto, which went a little dry in the bun, and raw or grilled onion instead of the onion jam. And a tomato and slice of cheddar too!

The pickled chillis might take you by surprise if you’re not expecting them. I’m not too keen on spice on my burger, so I ate them separately.

There was a nice, homemade coleslaw on the side too.

Ambiance – 9/10

The Boat House Cafe is a lovely place to relax in. It’s a one-storey building, situated in Swanwick Marina and surrounded by yachts that are both and out of the water.

Outside there’s decking and a patio area overlooking the small gaps in the water between what seems like thousands of boats moored in the Hamble river.

On this winter night, we were snuggled up inside a long table in the centre of the cafe. There’s sofas, some raised tables with stools and a quieter bistro area too. The decor is ever-so-slightly nautical with lots of weathered wood and sailing nick nacks.

The only thing missing is a wood burner – hint hint.

The Boat House is dog friendly, with treats available. However, we’d left Tilly at home tonight to binge on Planet Earth.

Drinks selection and quality – 6/10

Not bad for a cafe/bistro.

There are two handpumps available for cask ales. Only one was in action tonight, serving well-conditioned, nicely carbonated St Austell “Tribute” (4.2%).

There’s also a decent selection of spirits and cocktails, wines, ciders and locally roasted coffee.

If there was more local beer on offer from Hampshire’s 35+ breweries and I reckon I’d be more than just an occasional visitor.

Condiments – 5/5

Heinz ketchup and English mustard available. Sorted.

Presentation – 4/5

Arrived on a plate but not need for the pail for the fries IMO.

Service – 5/5

The perfect waiter served us. Friendly, helpful and attentive, but no overly so.

The drinks and food arrived quickly. An example to all waiting staff.

Value for money – 2/5

Although an excellent setting and great service, this dish was a little more expensive than what I’ve paid for similar elsewhere.

Penalties – 0

Almost a one-point penalty for the pail of fries – the fact it was ceramic rather than metal saved it here.

Happily, not a chopping board in sight.

Total: 59/80

A good show from the Boat House Cafe, which at time of eating puts it at sixth place in my list of Hampshire’s best burger and above specialist burger joints like Five Guys in Whiteley and Shrimp and Burger in Southampton.

Info: The Boat House Cafe is at Swanwick Marina, Swanwick Shore, Swanwick, Hampshire, SO31 1ZL. Call 01489 885745. Open every day from 8am. Late opening until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

Tom's rating: