Beautiful Dorset has plenty to tempt boaters, and this month it is Weymouth’s Feast festival and the delights of Poundbury that have caught Penny’s eye.
As the Indian summer fades we pull out the winter boots our tastes turn to heartier fare. Using the boat as a handy B&B is a great way to see all those places you did not manage to visit during the summer, and the bounty of Dorset takes some beating.
Weymouth’s BID are behind the two month Feast festival encouraging restaurants and cafes to put on special deals from early October until 30 November. From a bacon butty at Jack’s Café (or rather two bacon butties with tea or coffee for a fiver) to a fish & chips battle of the bulge between Bennett’s, Marlboro and Fish n’ Fritz (meal for two is £15 or £25 for four) all the way to the six course taster menu at No 4 for £25. Mark Hix’s Academy at the college are offering two courses for £15 or three for £20, so let the kids practice their art on you. They are punching well above their weight.
This is a great incentive to get people out during the autumn months when great produce is bountiful, but nights are drawing in and Strictly and Bake Off might tempt us to stay in by the fire. After Feast you have the ice rink returning to the town from 3 December, so there is no excuse for slouching about. Adding these attractions certainly extends the season and gives you an excellent excuse to continue using the boat.
Restaurant 43 on Maiden Street, just along from Fish n Fritz, is closed Monday lunch time, but is open from 10 – 9pm every day except Sunday, when they close after lunch. Jenna had the lamb shanks, served on a pile of lovely buttered greens, including charred baby gem lettuce, peas and broad beans. Underneath this, and the amazing gravy, was minted mash with mustard seeds and honey – awesome for £14.25. Colm went for the 8oz Rib Eye (£16.95) with hand cut chips, beer battered onion rings and grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. Superb. Everything is cooked to order and as local as possible. Give it a go – but do book, otherwise you will not get in.
No 4 on Trinity Road overlooks the harbour. It is open evenings only except for Friday, Saturday and Sunday when they open from 12 – 2pm and then again at 6.30pm.This is a great seafood restaurant, and during Feast you can try a six course tasting menu for £25, which is a fantastic opportunity to try a little bit of everything.
Nothe Tavern. After a refurb this popular pub has a more cosy country house feel in the lounge and great views over the harbour from the deck, but another good reason to go is that Luciano da Silva (ex Blue Fish and Hive Café) is head chef here and has already added his Italian fragrance to the menu. The incredible value lunch menu included mushroom linguine for just £6.
You need to head to Poundbury, Dorchester and into the Butter Market Bakery, part of the growing Town Mill Bakery group, with its winning big table where you help yourself with unlimited toast. It has a decent coffee scene too.
Best Bites is the eggy stack with French toast brioche, crisp Denhay bacon and slow roast tomatoes.
It is 9 miles from Weymouth up to Dorchester, nearly all off road, even if alongside. www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/article/397821/Cycling-in-West-Dorset
With the electric bike team Dorset Cycle Life and Mat Folas’ new Bramble Café also in Poundbury, you can plan some great trips over breakfast, lunch or tea.
What’s on: www.weareweymouth.co.uk
Butter Market Bakery: 01305 250449
Jack’s Café: 01305 788535
Restaurant 43: 01305 787746
No 4: www.no4.restaurant
Nothe Tavern: 01305 787300
Fish n Fritz: www.fishnfritz.co.uk
Bennett’s: 01305 781237
Marlboro: 01305 785700
Bramble Café: www.bramblecafedeli.com
Dorset Cycle Life: www.DorsetCycleLife.co.uk
Penny’s Blog: hopshikesandbites.blogspot.co.uk