Archive for May, 2011

The Urban ‘Caribbean fest!’

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The Urban Reef 'Caribbean fest!'

Us Urban people love a party and a bit of fun as much as the next person so to celebrate the season that is summer, our little sister, The Urban Reef, will be holding a ‘Caribbean fest’ on Friday June 24th.

They’ll have Caribbean themed BBQ on the go, some live music and an outside tiki bar serving cocktails and bottled beer.

Fancy dress is welcome too, so get your grass skirts, coconut bikini tops and hula necklaces at the ready! ;)

*Event in association with: Appleton Estate, Koko Kanu, Red Stripe and Wray & Nephew.

Urban team recruits Executive Chef

Friday, May 20th, 2011

New Exec Chef Nigel Popperwell

We have recently welcomed new recruit, Nigel Popperwell, to the team!

Nigel, who has worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years, joins as an Executive Chef across both Urban sites.  

Prior to joining the Urban group, Nigel has worked in a host of roles including: sailing around the world as a chef on the QE2, taking over from renowned chef Ainsley Harriet at the Westbury Hotel on Bond Street, as well as working within a number of hotels across Dorset where he gained a couple of rosettes for his culinary skills and expertise.

Nigel has also worked as a personal chef to a number of personalities such as, Duncan Bannatyne, Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino and the heirs of Mercedes Benz, as well as to some members of the royal family. 

As part of his role at Urban, Nigel is responsible for overseeing the running of the kitchens at both sites and supporting owner, Mark Cribb, to continue to further develop the business.  

Nigel said: “I love the Urban brand and everything it stands for. It’s very laid-back, but at the same time very professional. I’ve always been very passionate about using local produce and this is also an Urban passion as everything we use is from Dorset, Hampshire or the West Country. It’s great to be able to educate the rest of the team and our customers, as to where their food is coming from. We are also developing our own ‘Urban farm’, so it’s exciting to be involved with helping to grow our own produce.

“My latest project is developing the decking area at Urban Reef and I’ve just had a food station built to help cater for the increasing demand out there. My new role at Urban is already proving to be a great and rewarding challenge.”

The Urban Farm

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Our potatoes pushing some little leaves out of the ground

By now you might be familiar with our little Urban farm – our very own piece of Urban land in the New Forest.

Well, if not this is our very own (leased) piece of Urban land in the New Forest. We have great plans for this space long term, but as a good starting point we’ve been germinating seeds for the past eight weeks and have now planted carrots, parsnips, asparagus, potatoes, artichokes, onions and heaps of herbs and salad. We used to get really grumpy every time it rained, but now at least we can think of our happy thirsty veggies!

Now it’s underway, our crew will be taking it in turns to have a go at some planting and digging themselves, so keep an eye out for pics of the Urban clan getting stuck in!

Some of our lovely seeds germinating!

Chef Carl’s – Whole wild line caught oven baked sea bass

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Chef Carl's sea bass

This dish comes courtesy of our head chef Carl. To ensure it’s sustainable he gets his sea bass delivered from a day fishing boat called, ‘Just Mine’, which fishes out of Christchurch Harbour. He even knows the name of the boat’s skipper, Nigel Hockley – marvellous!

The following recipe will serve two people for a lunchtime bite or it’ll do as a main dish fit for a Queen or King!


• 1 whole line caught sea bass

• 1 whole lemon

• 1 handful diced cucumber

• 1 handful of Lilliput capers (otherwise known as baby capers)

• 4 sprigs of Rosemary

• 8 pre-cooked new potatoes

• 250g unsalted butter

• Handful of freshly chopped English parsley

• Salt and pepper for seasoning

• Optional – lemon dressed side salad (cucumber, tomato, onions, salad leaves, lemon)


• Pre-heat your oven to 160°C / 165°C (gas mark 7).

• De-scale, gut and de-fin your sea bass. This should take you about 10 minutes to sort, but if you’d rather not get your hands dirty, a good fishmonger will probably be able to get the job done for you.

• Place your sea bass on a well buttered and seasoned oven tray with your new potatoes – put a bit of extra salt on these to add to the texture and flavour.

• Next, stuff the cavity (the body of the fish) with your rosemary, half of the lemon (be sure to slice it up), a little bit of butter and some salt and pepper.

• Place the oven tray in your preheated oven for 12 minutes – you might need to adjust the time slightly depending on your oven.

• While this is cooking away you can move on to making what’s called a Beurre noisette – (it basically means brown butter) – this will be drizzled over your fish to add to the taste. To make this you’ll need to put the rest of your butter in a pan and cook it on the hob until it starts to go golden brown.

• Place your pan to one side and squeeze in the other half of your lemon, add your capers and cucumber too. Leave it all to rest for one minute on the side this will help to soak in all the flavours.

• Halfway through the cooking time for your fish check on it to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan. Grab a spoon and take some of the juice and pour it over the fish – yum!

• During the last two minutes of cooking it’s best to do a little check on the fish to ensure it has cooked properly. Where the first fillet meets the head press down on your fish – if it’s springy be sure to pop it back in the oven for just a little longer. If this bit gets you rather baffled then just grab a knife and (in the same place as described above) pop it in. If it comes out piping hot, you’ll know you’re good to go! If it’s just warm, place the dish back in the oven for a little longer.

Plating up

• Place the fish on a wooden board (if you’re sharing) or on a rather large plate for one. Surround with your potatoes and a bit of salad and lemon if you wish.

• We find this is best enjoyed with a large glass of white wine, oh and just a touch of sunshine.

Enjoy the medley of flavours and aromas. Happy cooking! X

A Right Royal Affair

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

A right wacky hat!

Well, didn’t Kate Middleton look very lovely on her wedding day! She and Wills both looked so very happy and we were dead chuffed to be able to hold a party to celebrate their big day.

It was rather busy here at Urban Beach – guests got to indulge in some tea, cakes, sandwiches and bubbly galore as they watched the wedding unfold.

There were some rather interesting hats to be seen too as people got into the flow of things by donning their very best (and rather unusual!) ones.

A jolly day was had by all!

 Congratulations to the happy couple. X