Last week, we finally (I know it's not that long really, but I've been eagerly awaiting it) cashed in the vouchers that Husband gave me for Christmas for a foraging day with the glamorous Mat Follas (further bloggage on that later), which we combined with a lovely mini-holiday in Dorset (probably more on that too).
So we pulled up in the square in Beaminster last Monday afternoon after a broadly successful drive down from London (pretty sure we only went the wrong way *once*) and, following a cunning set of prearranged clues, managed to break into the apartment (who's name is Lewin - I love this - I am definitely looking for suggestions for a name for my flat now :-) ) above the Wild Garlic.
The apartment is absolutely beautiful - really stylish and comfortable, but somehow managing to retain the charm of what must be a pretty old building (we genuinely loved the ceiling beams and the uneven floor) as well as being way more spacious than we expected.
Obviously, as soon as we got through the door we bounced through the sitting room/bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, whooping with joy at the enormous cloudlike bed, the gorgeous (matching) wallpaper and curtains, the lovely cook-your-own breakfast (including bacon vouchers for the over-the-road butcher, which we gleefully cashed in the next morning), the ercol-style furniture, the eclectic (but carefully chosen) selection of books and DVDs and the chilled pink English wine that was hidden in the fridge.
It's probably just as well that the restaurant is closed on Mondays - the staff and diners probably wouldn't have loved us gallivanting around like a herd of mini elephants right above their heads :-)
Sitting room, complete with lovely window seat
Fluffy fluffy cloud bed and *beautiful* wallpaper
Husband, utilising kitchen facilities (and tasty breads)
Awesome bit of furnishing - you can't see it here, but the table has fabulous interlocking slotty chairs - and I wanted to smuggle the clock out in my suitcase and rehome it in my bedroom...
Dorset rose. I was a wee bit concerned, but in fact it turned out to be absolutely delicious. I'd buy it again.
On our last evening, we had dinner at The Wild Garlic (in fact, we had a special magic deal whereby two nights in the apartment somehow entitled us to a Free Dinner - awesome!). We'd been once before (last September, as part of our post-wedding-week-of-fun) and had eaten a foraging course lunch the previous day, so our appetites were well and truly whetted.
Dinner was delicious. Service was personal and delightful. The decor is stylish and tasteful - we particularly loved the stylish tables - ours had potato names round the outside (I vaguely remember a discussion about these very tables on the Guardian WoM blog before the restaurant opened - this is strangely sheering to me). The emphasis on local, foraged, fished and found ingredients is admirable in it's own right, but also means that everything tastes fresh and, well, like it should. Also - the value for money is fantastic - I guess, as Londoners, we have a slightly warped view, but even taking that into account, the food is very reasonably priced and, try as we might, we didn't manage to spend anywhere near as much as we tried to on wine (though what we did drink was really excellent).
Complimentary glasses of Mat's Fizz (infused with garden flowers), bread with (rape) oil and balsamic and the most gorgeous wild garlicky nuts (my mouth is watering again thinking about these - yum).
Husband's starter - an absolutely gorgeous pigeon concoction - pink and perfect
The sorrel table decoration - I *might* have tasted a tiny corner of it - bad Jennie
My main - possibly the biggest lemon sole I have EVER seen. The picture doesn't really do justice to the sheer scale of it
Husband's main - the famous pork belly - REALLY good!
One of the best wines I've had in a restaurant. We'll definitely be looking out for this one in future. So good that it made us wonder whether they'd calculated the mark-up properly...
Proof that I finished the giant fish of giantness. He was Tasty :-)
My lime pie - with sorrel and lovely fluffy meringuey bits. And a delicious dust.
Husband's cheese with port and the cutest mini bread ever - baked with walnuts and raisins. I was a bit surprised at the choice as he's not usually a massive cheese fan, but we'd been watching the waitresses serving them to people all night and they just looked so delicious that he evidently couldn't resist!
We waddled upstairs fatly, after finishing our meal, to discover that we'd been there almost two and a half hours. Husband would usually being knawing his own hands (and probably mine too) out of the boredom of sitting in one place (especially a restaurant) for that long. I'm pretty sure this is some kind of fabulous testament to the loveliness of the Wild Garlic.
You must all go.
And stay at the apartment.
I decree that it should be so.
PS Mat - I think I might come and live with you... That's ok, right? You totally need a financial analyst/opera singer/food tester?
The Wild Garlic
4 The Square
Dorset DT8 3AS
01308 861 446
4 The Square
Dorset DT8 3AS
01308 861 446
The Lewin Apartment can be booked directly through the Wild Garlic website and costs £120-£150 a night