Review: Turner's Restaurant {At Butlins Bognor Regis}

Back in August this year, Rich and I along with our two boys, Joshua (3 and a half) and Daniel (18 months), had dinner at Turner's. Here's a little video of our experience:

Michelin-starred chef Brian Turner opened Turner's Restaurant, located in Butlin's, Bognor Regis, in April 2011. When we visited, it certainly still had that feeling of newness about it. From the outside, Turner's looked clean, smart and classy.

The decor inside was fresh, neat and simple but attractive. The walls were mainly white with a couple of pretty feature walls. I particularly liked the ceiling lights which were made of lots of little light cubes hanging down. Despite there being lots of tables and plenty of places to eat, it didn't feel cramped or claustrophobic. The mixture of booths and round tables was a nice touch. There's a bar and a seating area separate from the restaurant where you can sit with a drink and watch the world go by while waiting for your table.

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We didn't have any problem booking a table, despite it being peak season. The restaurant opens at 5pm for dinner, ideal for families with young children who get grumpy and tired not long after 7pm.

On arrival we were greeted warmly by the staff, who were especially friendly to the boys. Our waiter John, who you can see on the video, was absolutely fantastic - friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, professional and great with kids. We were given some slices of yummy sour dough bread and butter to munch on while we pondered the menu.

The staff at Butlin's are fantastic with children as they deal with them all the time. I usually have mixed feelings about taking our boys for dinner, as I'm usually concerned about them playing up. However, dining with other young families and having such child-friendly staff certainly helped us to feel relaxed about having the boys with us. As it turned out, Daniel was teething and was very unsettled. The staff did everything they could to help us out such as warming his bottle, giving him pencils to draw with and bringing his buggy over when he was tired.

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The kitchen has a large open serving hatch where you can clearly see the chefs busy at work. There's something about seeing inside a kitchen like that which gives me confidence in a place. You almost feel reassured as they clearly have nothing to hide. Plus I'm a bit nosey, and I like to see what the chef's get up to.

'British classics with a twist' is how the menu is described at Turner's. There was a great selection of dishes to choose from with fish, meat, chicken and vegetarian options. While some of the dishes such as 'Shepherd’s Pie with Wensleydale Topping' could be described as comfort food, everything I saw coming out of the kitchen looked classy and appetising. The prices at Turner's start at £9.75 for a main dish, and certain dishes are part of a deal of 2 course for £14.95 or 3 courses for £17.75.

Turner's also has a good drinks menu with a nice selection of red, white, rose and sparkling wine on offer. I was delighted to see two of my favourite red wines on the wine list! Draft, as well as bottled, beer and a selection of spirits and soft drinks were also available.

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John, had good knowledge of the menu, which I always find helpful, especially when it's my first visit to a restaurant. He was able to talk us through each of the dishes we were contemplating.

On John's recommendation, for starters I ordered the 'Baked Local Hen’s Eggs on a Bed of Leek, Onion and Chilli Stew'. Given the chance, I'm always one for ordering something unusual that I haven't tried before. This dish was certainly that. I can't say it was the most beautiful looking plate in the world but what it lacked in beauty it made up for in taste. The perfectly baked eggs sat on a bed of creamy onions and leeks flavoured with good a kick of chilli. It was absolutely delicious. Unusual, quirky and completely delicious.

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Rich ordered 'Smoked Salmon Cushion with a Lemon Vegetable Salad' for starters. It was beautifully presented, almost too pretty to eat, but looked too tasty not to eat! The 'ball' of smoked salmon was filled with a delicious cream cheese and salmon filling and topped with a crunchy, lemon flavoured salad. The smoked salmon was amazing and the fresh zesty salad complemented the richness of the cream cheese beautifully. Big thumbs up all round.

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Joshua had fish fingers, chips and peas from the kids menu. They make the fish fingers from scratch in the restaurant using locally soured fish, which I liked. I managed a sneaky bite of one, they were lovely and good quality. He scoffed the lot and announced he was too full for pudding. It was so nice to see such care and attention given to the kids food, which is so often second rate to the 'grown up' meals.

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My main course was 'Baked Salmon Fillet in Cream, White Wine & Local Cockles'. I'm a big fan of fish and seafood and this dish did not disappoint. The salmon was cooked perfectly, juicy with a slight crispy outside. The salmon had a delicious smoky flavour and it was also a generous portion. The sauce was delicious, the white wine and salty cockles cutting through the creaminess. I loved the fact that the cockles were local and little new potatoes were hiding in the sauce. The photo doesn't do it justice unfortunately.

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Main course for Rich was 'Slow Roasted Spiced Pork Belly with Mustard Mash & Apple Sauce'. It was a popular choice and quite a few people were ordering it in the restaurant. When we tasted it we could see why. The meat was incredible, so tender and fell apart on your fork. The mustard mash went a treat, as did the apple sauce and gravy. It was plate-lickingly good. I'm not a crackling fan myself but Rich assured me it was good crackling. Like the smoked salmon starter, it was also presented beautifully.

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We ordered a side dish of mange tout to go with our main courses. One bowl was definitely enough for two, it was a huge portion and we couldn't eat it all. I didn't take a photograph but it was lovely, fresh, crispy and not overcooked.

For dessert it was my turn to have a pretty-looking dish. I ordered 'Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding' which is made of brioche and served with an orange salad. It tasted as good as it looked. Bread and butter pudding can be stodgy and sometimes soggy, but this was light and fluffy like a delicious orange-flavoured fluffy cloud of custard-infused brioche. The marmalade was not over-powering and the orange salad added freshness. It was the perfect sweet ending.

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Rich is more of a savoury man so he ordered the cheese, which is called 'Today's Cheese' on the menu, as it changes daily. John brought two large cheeses to the table along with crackers and grapes. Rich was allowed to have as much cheese as he liked, not that he had room for much after the first two courses! John explained to us that at Butlin's they like to add an element of theatre to everything they do, hence the cheese is serve that way. I thought it was a fun and original way of serving cheese, and the selection was delicious and unusual. Unfortunately I was so busy watching all this take place I forgot to take a photo of it, but here's a picture of the cheese when it was cut on Rich's plate!

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In between courses I had the opportunity to sneak into the kitchen and chat to Kepa, the sous chef at Turner's. It was really exciting to see the chefs at work (and to get some footage for my video). I got to witness first hand that the food at Turners is all fresh, and made from scratch in the kitchen. Kepa explained that they cut all the meat and chicken in the restaurant kitchen so it's fresher. The chips are made from potatoes cut fresh in the restaurant, all the vegetables are fresh, and the sauces are made fresh by the chefs. Kepa told me that there was one thing the don't make on site, the lovely sourdough bread we had is brought in fresh each day from a local bakery.

Unlike many celebrity chef owned restaurants, Brian himself trains the chefs at Turner's. He visits his restaurant regularly so the staff have met him and genuinely said how nice he is.

I would thoroughly recommend Turner's restaurant for it's good quality food and excellent service. If you have a young family it's the perfect place to go for a nice meal as it's very child friendly and neither adults or kids have to compromise on their choice of food. For the quality of the food and standard of service, it was quite reasonably priced. It's a beautiful and relaxing place to visit, while still being family friendly. Well done Turner's, and thank you for a lovely evening.

Disclosure: We were given 4 night break for 4 at Bognor Regis by Butlins including a dining plan in return for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own and my review, pictures and videos haven’t been edited by Butlins.