The Paddle in Highcliffe: Meeting owners Donna and Harry Mosley

PUBLISHED: 11:51 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 13 March 2018

Donna and Harry in their award-winning cafe at Highcliffe

Donna and Harry in their award-winning cafe at Highcliffe


Donna and Harry Mosley have brought the taste of their world travels to The Paddle in Highcliffe, where brunch and lunch is a deliciously leisurely affair

Donna and Harry Mosley opened The Paddle in November 2013. Harry thought the name brilliantly combined its seaside location and laidback surf café vibe, as well nodding towards the paddle used to slide the homemade pizzas into their woodfired oven.

Inspired by the vibrant healthy locally sourced menus the couple experienced in cafés around Australia and New Zealand, not to mention outstanding coffee, they are masters of the leisurely brunch. Their resident cockerpoo Mabel is a connoisseur of canine café culture (and dog treats) and The Paddle recently won Best Dog-friendly Venue at the Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming Awards. 

Tell me about The Paddle’s ethos

We wanted to create a place where people could enjoy tasty, homemade food and drink in a cosy, laid back environment. Some of this was inspired by our travels around New Zealand where they are very serious about their café culture. You can’t make a coffee there without barista training which includes learning how to stretch the perfect micro foam! Their in-house bakers and chefs make everything from scratch. We wanted The Paddle to bring that essence to our menus.

What inspires your menus?

Our travels! The amazing pizzas we ate in Tuscany inspired us to research our dough recipe so we could make authentic woodfired pizza. Harry also spent time in Tasmania where he worked as a baker, so we make all our burger buns and focaccia too. New Zealand and Australia inspired our extensive brunch menu which is available until 3pm. 

What are the popular brunch dishes?

Smashed avocado with beetroot hummus, chilli and coriander and two poached eggs on sourdough – it’s simply delicious as well as healthy. Our Vegan Paddle breakfast - field mushroom, tomato, avocado, homemade baked beans, hummus, dukkah, spinach and sourdough - is also a favourite. Our most popular juice is the Ginger Monkey (named after red head Harry). It features freshly juiced carrots, orange and ginger, it’s great for keeping colds at bay!

And for lunch?

Apart from the superfood salads and wide range of woodfired pizzas, our sticky pulled pork flatbread with cabbage slaw and mixed leaves is very popular. The pork (from award-winning Chris Watson Family Butcher in Highcliffe) is cooked overnight in our woodfired oven. We also have an ever changing specials board where you will find dishes such as Lymington crab rarebit. 

How about something sweet?

We make all our own cakes and desserts with a little help from Harry’s mum who runs her own cake baking business - Granny Olive’s Kitchen. Most popular are our gluten free brownie and the vegan caramel slice.

Tell me about your local sourcing

We are a stone’s throw from Dennis Tanner’s Farm which supplies us with asparagus, summer berries, salads and greens. Free range eggs and chicken comes from Noah’s Ark Farm, meat from local butcher Chris Watson and fish from Hutchings Bros in Bournemouth. We love using local, sustainable fish like pollock, grey mullet and mackerel. 

What would be your perfect meal?

We recently got married so probably what we ate at our wedding: smoky slow cooked beef brisket with macaroni cheese and winter slaw followed by treacle tart and Greek yoghurt, shared with our friends and family.

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