Last month, we chatted to super chef Andrew Dixon about the Exmoor Food Fest and his own restaurant. Remember? Course you do! ;) (It’s here if you didn’t see it). Anyway, this month we took a trip out to his place – The Café at Porlock Weir - to try some of his food for ourselves.
Plot spoiler… our lunch was absolutely delicious!
It was our first visit to Porlock Weir and on a cold and windy day, (my birthday actually) it was bleak and totally beautiful down by the harbour.
It’s a very picturesque spot with a handful of gift and artisan shops, several pubs and we also discovered this face on the beach! :)
Anyway, The Café’s home is a renovated country house in the heart of the hamlet, nestled on a pretty hill overlooking Porlock Bay and the Bristol Channel. So, if you want a wonderful view, grab a table by the window and get ready for some gorgeous grub!
In response to demand, Andrew's menu is a welcome mix of lovely classics and fine dining - expertly cooked dishes with fresh, local ingredients that are beautifully presented.
Classics include Traditional Beer Battered Cod, Garden Peas and Triple Cooked Chips or Steamed Steak, Kidney and Red Wine Pudding. The Café serves brilliant burgers too, including a great veggie option. Graeme went straight for the Fish and Chips and we loved the creative way they’re served on ‘The Daily Catch’ paper! You can also get them to take away… perfect on a sunny day.
If you fancy something less classic and more ’Ta-dah!', there’s Pan-roasted Lemon Sole with Herb New Potatoes, Brown Shrimp and Tomato. The West Somerset Lamb is a speciality and so are the local Oysters – which Andrew’s getting a great reputation for. In the end, I went for the Wild Mushroom Risotto, Artichokes, Tarragon and Parmesan. It was bursting with flavour and a real comfort on a colder day. Yum!
And let’s not forget the Hot Chocolate Fondant with Glazed Bananas, Chocolate Crumb and Salted Caramel Ice Cream. It was simple, melt-in-the-middle gorgeousness (technical foodie term right there)!
In a nutshell, there really is something for everyone… ploughman's, sandwiches, even afternoon teas… and it’s all prepared with true Somerset style. We wouldn’t expect anything less from one of the county's finest chefs, who's lived and worked here for over 20 years.
The other thing to celebrate at The Café at Porlock Weir is that it’s dog friendly and Petal (our pup) felt at home as soon as she walked in. In fact, we all did because Andrew runs The Café with his wife Sarah and we loved her immediately. Sarah looks after all things front of house and she gets the balance absolutely spot on. She’s warm, friendly and lovely to chat to, but the service is laid back and non-intrusive. A perfect combination.
You can also buy local art, photography and glassware from The Café and if you’d like to stay over, there are some lovely rooms too! You’ve a choice of five and most have those fabulous views across Porlock Bay. You’ll also meet this character on the way in! ;)
All in all, we had a fantastic relaxed lunch that we’d go back for in a heartbeat.
Our review in three words: Food glorious food (and service).
P.S. Petal says she loves it!
Update for 2018: The Cafe at Porlock Weir has now changed owenership and has become The Locanda on the Weir. We were so sad to see Andy and Sarah go, but Andy had an amazing opportunity heading up a cookery school in Scotland. Somerset's loss is definitely Scotland's gain! Good luck Andy & Sarah.