11 of Dorset’s culinary maestros

PUBLISHED: 16:32 01 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:32 01 September 2016

Pete Miles has a passion for fish and bees (Photo by Lara Jane Thorpe)

Pete Miles has a passion for fish and bees (Photo by Lara Jane Thorpe)


Sue Quinn reveals the county’s culinary maestros who not only deliver great food, but also grow tasty produce in their own allotments and gardens

Urban Guild

Mark Cribb knows his restaurants will never be self-sufficient, but he’s giving it a good crack at Urban Farm, near Sopley. Urban Farmer, Stuart Paulley who lives on-site, grows a delicious range of fruit and veg for Mark – from rhubarb and artichokes to berries and herbs. These are then turned into yummy fodder in Urban’s kitchens and bars which includes Urban Reef at the Overstrand, Boscombe, Urban Renaissance at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Urban Beach in Argyll Road, Bournemouth and Jenkins & Sons in Penn Hill. “There’s no better way to learn about produce and seasonality than if you start growing it yourself,” declares Mark. “What’s the best mint to use in a mojito? We grow 20 different varieties of mint, then try them all and select the best.” Cheers to that!

Find out more at urbanguild.co.uk

The White Post

Brett Sutton, chef proprietor of this multi award-winning country restaurant with rooms (Gastro Pub of the Year and Best Dorset Roast in the 2015 Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming Awards), is also a regular Great Taste Awards arbiter, but somehow finds time to pull on his gardening gloves as well. Brett has a vegetable patch for runner beans, chillis and squash, and beautiful edible flowers – think pansies, violas, marigolds, sweet peas, nasturtiums, chive flowers and the like - to decorate and add flavour to his gorgeous food. He also grows an impressive range of herbs, including many different types of mint and thyme and fills hanging baskets with strawberries. He now has his eye on beehives!

More details at thewhitepost.com; 01935 851525

Storm Fish Restaurant

This legendary Poole institution was opened in 1999 by fisherman and restaurateur Pete Miles– who not only catches his own fish, but also grows his own vegetables which then appear in the spring and summer months on the menus of both Storm and The Cruel Sea, a second restaurant which he opened in Penn Hill a couple of years ago that offers tapas-style dishes, A keen environmentalist, Pete is also an avid beekeeper and his prize-winning honey also finds its way onto the seasonally inspired menu. It’s all part of the eco-friendly ethos of the restaurant. Dishes in which you might find Pete’s homegrown produce include home-cured salmon with beetroot salad and lemon dressing, courgette and mint tagliolini, and homegrown pumpkin and feta filo parcel with roasted pepper coulis.

16 High Street, Poole BH15 1BP; stormfish.co.uk; 01202 674 970

La Fosse Cranborne

When not running their charming B&B and restaurant, Mark and Emmanuelle Hartstone tend their allotment, just 200 yards from their kitchen on the stunning Cranborne Estate. Here they grow a range of crops for their restaurant, from rare heritage varieties of potatoes to wonderful fresh herbs, but the couple are especially proud of their homegrown fruit including black, white and red currants, strawberries (both wild and cultivated), summer raspberries, gooseberries and elderberries and flowers. They’re also keen foragers, so local wild garlic, chives, sloes, blackberries and wild cherries are likely to make their way into your dinner as well, which may explain why Mark Hartstone was voted Chef of the Year in the 2015 Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming Awards.

London House, The Square, Cranborne; BH21 5PR; 01725 517604; la-fosse.com

10 Castle Street

This beautiful Grade II-listed former private home on the Cranborne estate has recently been transformed into a luxe hotel, private members club and restaurant. An erstwhile vegetable patch in the grounds has been expanded into a proper kitchen garden, where Chef, Simon Trepess (formerly of the Museum Inn and the King John Inn) looks for inspiration for his seasonal menus. Although only in its second season, the garden is now in full swing, delivering everything from micro herbs, salad leaves and tomatoes to beetroot, kale and potatoes to the restaurant’s tables. Enjoy some of the produce at lunch or dinner, or pop in for afternoon tea – berries from the kitchen garden are turned into delish jam for the scones.

10 Castle Street, Cranborne, BH21 5PZ; 01725 551133; 10castlestreet.com

Whitehouse Hotel

Pop in for dinner – or better still stay overnight – at this gorgeous Regency villa in the centre of the coastal village of Charmouth and enjoy fantastic homegrown food. Green-thumbed proprietor and chef, Ian Simpson raises mouth-watering fruit, vegetables and herbs for the table including red and white currants, potatoes, broccoli, salad leaves, beetroots and even quince from the garden tree. Homegrown fodder might be dispatched into dishes like courgette, leek and goat’s cheese risotto, Creedy Carver duck with braised spiced red cabbage and sweet potato mash, and vanilla parfait with autumn berries and bramble coulis.

2 Hillside, The Street, Charmouth, DT6 6PJ; 01297 560411; whitehousehotel.com

The Pig on the Beach

This glorious seaside kitchen garden at Studland, overseen by Chef Director, James Golding and Head Chef, Andy Wright, is brimming with wonderful on-trend produce. Delicious pickings range from edible flowers like marigolds, nasturtium and cornflowers through to more unusual veg like agretti (similar to samphire), sea kale, red celery and purple Brussels sprouts. At this time of year their fruit cages are filled with lush soft summer fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrants. Customers are positively encouraged to take a wander around the garden, which is guaranteed to inspire you to start your own kitchen garden.

Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, BH19 3AU; 01929 450288; thepighotel.com

The Tickled Pig

Jez Barfoot and his wife Niki’s beautiful Grade II-listed restaurant, situated in a building dating from 1603, is one of the most beguiling in Wimborne. It’s not only a showcase for some of the best of Dorset produce, but the couple grow almost all the salads, herbs and vegetables at their own kitchen garden in Pamphill, less than 2 miles from the restaurant. Overseen by head gardener, Duncan, everything is grown using organic methods, and it features heirloom and heritage varieties available in the UK. So committed are they to home-grown ingredients, they are now rearing pigs in partnership with High Mead Therapeutic Farm nearby.

20 West Borough, Wimborne, BH21 1NF; 01202 886 778; thetickledpig.co.uk

The Squash Court General Store and Cafe

If heaven were a kitchen garden, the angels would be hovering here. Part of Dean’s Court, a manor house that’s been in the same family since 1548, is the stunning kitchen garden, the first of its kind in the UK to be accredited by the Soil Association as organic. In season, this idyll is bursting with produce like potatoes, broad beans, peas, celery, celeriac, French beans, tomatoes, chillies, aubergine, cauliflower and kohlrabi. This bounty is taken to the estate’s café where it’s turned into scrumptious dishes like roasted cauliflower and chilli soup. Honey from their beehives is also used in dishes.

Deans Court Lane, Wimborne, BH21 1EE; 01202 639249; thesquashcourt.org

The Marquis of Lorne

If you’re enjoying a drink in the garden of this lovely 16th-century country pub on a summer evening, you might spot chef and owner and Steve Brady wandering by with a basketful of goodies he’s just picked from the polytunnel. Steve and his wife Tracey try to grow as much produce as they can – from salad leaves, herbs and leafy greens to potatoes, beans, raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb. “Customers love to know where their food comes from,” Steve says, “and we encourage them to come down to the polytunnel and greenhouse to see what we’ve got going on.” On the day we spoke, Steve had just picked rocket, spinach and cherry tomatoes to use within a caramelised onion and feta tart dish. Yes please!

Nettlecombe, DT6 3SY; 01308 485 236; themarquisoflorne.co.uk

The Cafe at Goldhill Organic Farm

Sharon Foxton doesn’t actually grow the produce she turns into delicious plates of food, but near as; she only has to walk a few yards to pick it. Sharon’s small and bright café forms part of a converted stable complex on Goldhill Organic Farm, and she designs her menu around the seasonal produce that springs from the fields around her. A talented chef who also runs her own catering and pop-up business Tea-Sympathy, Sharon attracts ramblers from all around with her seasonal soups, generous salads, grilled sandwiches, hearty stews and cakes. “We are really in rhythm with what’s happening on the farm,” she says. “I can go out to the field to pick something myself, or collect what’s already been picked from the farm shop next door. It’s amazing.” Opening hours are Thursday- Saturday 10am to 4pm. Check website tea-sympathy.co.uk for details of supper clubs and catering for special events.

Ridgeway Lane, Child Okeford DT11 8DB; 07966 599929. For Goldhill Organics visit goldhillorganicfarm.com or call 01747 811077

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