Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Kings Arms

As we told the children this morning about going out for food today, daughter enquired why so many pubs are called Kings Arms?

We had lovely Sunday lunch at The Kings Arms in Charlton Horethorne, Somerset. It had been on my list for quite while as it had been recommended to us, but with so many places to choose around here we only made it there today.

They were very busy but that did not affect the lovely attentive service we received. Children were catered for although our daughter chose her meal from the main menu anyway.

As it was very busy I did not want to take my phone out to take any photos. Both myself and my husband ordered chicken with hashbrowns, butternut squash in pancetta & marsala sauce. It did reserve to be photographed as the presentation had been given a lot of attention too. It was absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection. Children both enjoyed their meals but both had large portions and left some (mostly happens with our two, sometimes I wish children's portions were a bit smaller).

However as children do, they suddenly had room for desserts and they chose some locally produced ice creams. I chose to have coffee which came with petit fours. There was just no room for a dessert after the lovely meal I had had.

The pub was very spacious and decor was contemporary with lots of art work on the walls for sale. They have spacious outdoor space too with plenty of tables - I can imagine it been lovely on a summers evening to sit out for food & drinks. However, on a cold November Sunday it was cosy to sit in. Definitely a pub to return to. Fabulous food and brilliant service!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Kings Arms

We have now visited Kings Arms in East Stour twice, just a bit slow with my blog updates at the moment. Sorry.

First time it was just me & my husband meeting up there for lunch on a Friday. Kings Arms was purely chosen by its location on the A30 as we were coming from different directions to meet up somewhere. It was busy when we got there but we found a table and after seeing the menu my husband was very pleased with the hint of Scottishness in it!

I guess the picture tells enough. We both had plenty to eat for weekday lunch! Service was excellent and we said we would definitely return there with the family.

We chose to return there when my parents were visiting us few weeks ago. Knowing how busy the pub was on a Friday we booked a table for Sunday lunch as it was 6 of us. I had heard other people say lots of good about the carvery at the Kings Arms so I must say I didn't even have a good look at the menu. My husband was slightly disappointed with a different menu on Sunday - he had been looking forward to choosing some more Scottishness. 3 of us chose the carvery and rest chose food from the menu.

We had to wait for quite a long time for the food. I assume this was because some of us had chosen food of the menu? The carvery was lovely and there was plenty to choose from. I would choose to go there again on a Sunday (but only if everyone agreed to have the carvery due to the long wait otherwise). Both children chose food of the children's menu. Their portions were pretty much adult size which is obviously going to result in food waste and the portion just looking massive for the child trying to eat it. Children's desserts were equally large sundaes.

To conclude I think our first visit was lovely and had set our expectations high and due to this we were slightly disappointed on the second visit. Still, service was excellent on both visits and it appears to be very friendly country pub that I would think we will be returning to (at least for those weekday dates!).

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Beckford Arms

When it's one of those days you think you are catching up with friends over a coffee but end up having full lunch... We'll it was me few days ago and we ended up in The Beckford Arms. Mainly because it has been on my list probably even before we moved here, there had been newspaper reviews about them and it must be mentioned in all the Good Pub Guide type of books.

So coffee with friends turned into lunch and what a great lunch it was! It was a Tuesday and the place was pretty much full, I never thought booking was needed mid-week out of holiday season but how wrong was I! Luckily there very few tables free when we got there early.

It was hard to choose from the menu and rather than trying something different I went for my "safe option" of a burger. And I was not disappointed, that definitely was one of the best burgers I have had! Two of my friends chose chicken ceasar salad and they were very happy with their choices too. We had one child with us (not mine) and she chose fish & chips. As my friend's daughter asked for ice cream for a dessert we were all tempted to have a look at the dessert menu. Again it was hard choice - I could have chosen all options!

Now I can't wait to return to The Beckford Arms and take my husband & children there for a meal, but I know to book it to avoid disappointment. What a fabulous place and extra bonus goes to the absolutely fabulous waitress who served us! It could have not been a better lunch out. 

I still haven't decided if we have found our new favourite pub - or maybe this will be our Wiltshire favourite and Dorset one can be a separate one?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Pythouse Kitchen Garden Shop & Cafe

What a lovely setting Pythouse Kitchen Garden cafe is. We have only stopped there for a coffee & cake but I thought I would include a little entry here because we are definitely returning there on another sunny morning / day. Gorgeous surrounds and lovely service - just what we are looking for!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Wild Garlic

The Wild Garlic ended up on my list of places to try when we heard it would be moving to Iwerne Minster. I chose to have my birthday lunch there a couple of weeks ago with my husband and son. It was lovely sunny day so I suggested sitting in the garden (before seeing it).

We had a quick look inside the pub and looks like it was nicely done up but I didn't visit previously so I don't know what it looked like before. The garden cannot really be called a garden, there are few picnic type tables in a small courtyard. But because it was such a lovely day I wanted to stay outside anyway.

We were served by a very friendly gentleman who was happy to come and take our orders outside including drinks. There was enough choice on the menu and we were advised they could make any portion on the menu smaller for the little man who dined with us. This suited us and the little man ended up ordering same as me!

I chose bacon & chorizo pasta and my husband had a burger. Both options were very tasty. Service was excellent. But I would not choose the Wild Garlic on a gorgeous sunny day again because there are so many pubs with lovely gardens around here. However, the restaurant part of the Wild Garlic is not yet open so I would go back there on evening to test it once it's up and running because the bar food was lovely.  

edit 03/07/2013:
 I have been informed by Mat Follas that there are plans to improve the garden for next year with a kitchen garden and a pergola  

Sunday, 16 June 2013


We tried our second local Indian restaurant on Saturday night. Chutneys had been recommended by few people and we finally got around booking a table and dining there on Saturday. Luckily I knew booking was needed as a couple was turned away in front us because they were full!

However, being full did not mean long waits. It was very friendly service and the staff had time explaining the dishes we hadn't heard of before. We shared a mixed platter for a started which meant we could try few different things. For main courses we went for something different too instead of the "safe" options. I had chicken Saag and my husband tried Badam Passandra. Both were lovely dishes and I must say having tried two Dorset Indian restaurants I am well impressed with their food (I have lived near the curry mile in Rusholme, Manchester and tried plenty of their curries). Chutneys was a good experience and we will definitely be visiting again. Just need to remember to book well in advance as they seem very popular!

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Half Moon

It was one of those days a couple of weeks ago my husband was away and it was a nice evening and we had little food in the house I thought about eating out aloud at school run when another mum suggested the Half Moon. I had driven past it plenty of times but hadn't thought about stopping there.
It was weekday evening early on and it was quiet which suited me and the children well. Food was good and they had separate children's menu. Because it was quiet service was quick and friendly and I felt welcome turning up with two children on my own. I tried butternut squash crumble and children opted for macaroni cheeses. They had ice-creams to finish. It was very reasonably priced so there may be another time the children will be fed there midweek!

Larmer Tree Gardens

On a gorgeous sunny summer's day the Larmer Tree Gardens cafe has been just a fabulous. I have been there twice recently and definitely going again while the sunshine lasts!

I popped in for a lunch with friend and her daughter and my son few weeks ago. Service was very friendly and we had lovely sandwiches and tea. The peacocks are a bit too friendly and there are lots of them outside. There's an option to sit inside tho. We were there to "investigate" an option to arrange a surprise afternoon tea for friend's birthday. They seems happy to cater for our needs so...

This week we had lovely afternoon tea birthday party for our friend. Larmer Tree Gardens did a fabulous job catering for it and letting us having tables on the lawn and enjoy the sunshine with some bubbly, sandwiches, cakes and tea. They were very accommodation for everything we asked and there have such friendly service. I would definitely recommend them if anyone fancies lovely afternoon tea. And the gorgeous sunshine was a bonus this week in a lovely setting.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Queens Arms

The Queens Arms must be the pub we have received most recommendations for so we finally booked it for the bank holiday Monday.

It was a glorious sunny spring day so I phoned the pub again in the morning and asked if they could reserve us an outside table as I had already made a booking previously. Unfortunately they said they could not reserve outside tables, they were first come first served basis.

We got to the pub just after 1pm and on a day it was on Monday there were no outside tables - actually there were people sitting on picnic blankets outside! We were shown to our table and had sort of outside feeling as all the doors were open but it really was a day for outside lunch.

They were extremely busy it seemed (outside - inside was pretty empty) and the waitresses apologised for this quite a few times. We had children with us but we were given four normal menus. I asked about smaller portions or children's menus. I was advised what may be on the children's menu and eventually was given the children's menu to have a look at and was expected to decide for children's choices straightaway.

Children chose their meals quickly (they know what they like). I wasn't sure what to have but went for asparagus which was recommended after I couldn't decide between two dishes. My husband had ploughman's and he said that was his second rubbish ploughman's he has had in Dorset now. No further comments from him. Kids liked their macaroni cheeses and were happy playing outside on the patio after they had finished their food.

Kids had ice creams and sweets for dessert. Both me and my husband decided to skip desserts as they were so busy.

I must say that the Queens Arms did not live up to the expectation I had after quite few people had recommended it. I know it was a very busy day we were there but the staff was not very knowledgeable about children's food and what was included. They kept apologising for being busy - but surely that's a good thing for a country pub these days? Just need to have staff that can cope with the pressure?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Hunter's Lodge Inn

We stopped at the Hunter's Lodge Inn last year when we were househunting around here. It was very conveniently located for our searches just off the A303. Their play area must be one of the best ones around here if dining with a family.

Food was usual pub food, we didn't choose the pub for just food as it was more about the location that made us choose to stop at the Hunter's Lodge Inn last year. Kids were well catered for and staff was very friendly and attentive. I guess this was the start of our exploring the area. I would recommend this pub for anyone with kids, especially on a sunny day because of the play area they have. Their website displays the play area and the animals they have very well! So far we haven't been back there but I would think one summer's day we will.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The White Lion Inn

Few people had told me about the White Lion Inn while back but I had forgotten about it until I once again turned to Twitters help and asked for recommendations. I visited The White Lion Inn with my husband (without the kids) last night. It was very quiet when we got there so we got to choose our table and sat by the open log fire (lovely!).

There were plenty of yummy sounding dishes to choose from. My husband chose pate for starters and then he had slow roast pork belly for main and I had chicken & mushroom risotto. (First time I was brave enough to get my phone out to take a photo of the food!)

Dessert menu did not disappoint either. My husband chose chocolate mousse and I had creme brulee (not quite sure how I still had room for dessert after the meal I had enjoyed). Service was very friendly and the food was prepared very well. Definitely a place to visit again and take the children next time! They recommended booking as they often get busy. We were lucky to visit on a quiet evening and have lovely service!

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Shed

It was my second visit to The Shed this week. A friend of mine was celebrating her birthday so we booked to have lunch at The Shed.

I was looking forward to as I had enjoyed my first visit there when it first opened a couple of months ago. I'm not sure if I had misunderstood or things had changed but I was assuming there would be lunch time menu but we were presented with the same menu I had had the first time. The menu is good but to me it is  evening sort of food. One of us asked for lunch time menu but was told that they do not have one.

I chose the burger as I felt all other meals were too much at lunch time (and I knew there was an Indian takeaway waiting for me that evening...). The burger was massive but I did enjoy it. I skipped dessert and had a latte instead. I think everyone enjoyed their meals and some of us had desserts and they did not disappoint either. However, I think my husband was right about The Shed on our first visit, it's evening sort of place - there are no windows and the menu reflected this as well having not got any lighter choices for lunch time. Service was very friendly and they were happy to gather for the 2 children that we had along (not mine!) as well.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Cricketers

We had Sunday lunch at the Cricketers at Shroton today. I asked Twitter earlier in the week for recommendations from locals as sometimes I think google does it own selection and may leave some good ones out depending on my search words.We bumped into our neighbour as we were leaving and he said that the Cricketers was worth a visit - our neigbour seems to have explored all the pubs around here and has recommended some to us, but as he has no children I'm not sure if all his recommendations are for food  (and child friendly)!

There is just the pub in the village at Shroton and pretty much nothing else so no surprise it fills up quickly! I had booked a table and we arrived a little early but we were attended to and our children were noted as individuals (the future customers?). I noticed some colouring books and pencils at the bar, these were not offered to us but I assume locals know to just pick them up? However, it's the various idevices that keeps ours entertained until the food arrives and husband always looks for the (Sunday) paper!

Everyone was happy with their choices, I was only one having roast dinner. Kids menu had plenty to choose from. However, my husband's main course was missed on the original order and arrived 5 minutes after mine and the children's (no compensation was offered and we did not ask for it either). Food was lovely and plentiful. Kids portions were too large for our two (they mainly are). As the pub got busier the service got slower which I suppose can be expected on a busy Sunday. We all had desserts, kids chose ice creams, husband had treacle tart and I had coffee and vanilla pannacotta.

There is a village playground on the other side of the road; we stopped there afterwards. There were a couple of children playing without parents and they did inform us that "daddy was in the pub", but because of the road and car park to cross I think it would be few years before I would be happy leaving ours at the playground on their own for us to relax in the pub!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Coppleridge Inn

This is another pub we visited in the summer soon after we had moved here. I used google search with "family friendly pub garden Dorset" words and the Coppleridge Inn was one of the pubs that came up.

It was a lovely summer Sunday so we chose a table in the garden near the swings where the kids played until the food came. Food portions were big (I think I should say huge as I don't often leave food!) and tasty! The garden was so nice we didn't really get to see much of the pub inside other than going to the bar to order the food. I'm not sure this comes close to becoming a regular, we'll have to wait and see what else Dorset has on offer I think!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Stourhead Estate

I wasn't sure whether to include Stourhead on this but as it has become one of our favourite outdoor places around here I thought to list it even it is obviously more than just a place to eat. We have stopped at the Stourhead restaurant quite few times now but the pub (the Spread Eagle Inn) on the estate is still on our list to try.

I like National Trust places, you know what you are going to get: a great day out with good coffee and cakes / lunch. The restaurant at Stourhead is always a busy one but we have never failed to get a table in or out depending what we have wanted, they do the usual lovely cream teas and hot lunches. Kids are well catered for and they can choose the box to fill up with their choices if not choosing hot lunch.

Over the winter time the little cottage by the lake has been open serving hot drinks and little snacks - it has been a lovely stop walking around the gardens with the kids!

Stourhead must be one of prettiest National Trust places I have visited although from children's point of view there are a couple that beat Stourhead with their fabulous play areas (Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire and Attingham Park in Shropshire to mention couple which have the best play areas we have visited).

We must try the pub on the estate soon!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Walnut Tree Inn

The Walnut Tree Inn is currently the only pub I have visited without any members of my family (stops at cafes do not count!) but I'll include here anyway as it's a family pub. I was invited for mums night out just before Christmas for a meal. We needed to make our food choices beforehand and as the other mums discovered I don't like deciding my choices of food days in advance - I don't know what I feel like having on the night! But I suppose pubs need to do this around Christmas time when big parties book in.

We had all chosen turkey as it was Christmas time and we all had to queue for it as it was set up same way they apparently set Sunday carveries (I prefer having my food brought to the table when I'm dining out). Dessert was very good, I had chosen panna cotta. I did not have a look at their normal menu but their website appears very good and informative and few people have said the Walnut Tree Inn is a good place with children.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


This is another one which we found through a magazine and reviews - I just cannot remember which  magazine, sorry! It was Saturday lunch time in the late summer when we visited Turnbulls cafe and it was busy!

It's a cafe in with a deli so kind of place my husband likes and was happy to try out. Me and the children were happy with our food and drinks and the service we had but my husband was little disappointed with his plougham's. He felt it missed the chutneys and usual things although cheeses were good. Another point was that for a small lunch it was little bit pricey feeding a family of four, but lovely setting still.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Gillingham Tandoori

My husband's friend was visiting us for the weekend and somehow these things always seem to require curry & beer. We hadn't tried any Indian restaurants in Dorset yet so we had no idea where we should go. Google helped us and we decided to try Gillingham Tandoori last night.

I am not a great fan of Indian type of food but when it's cooked well (by my husband at home) I enjoy it occasionally. I didn't take photos as I don't think curries ever look great... We had chicken tikka masala and chicken lagan (new one I hadn't tried before) and a dansak dish with all the usual pilau rices, nan breads and onion bhajees.

I must say that this was one of the nicest curries (the lagan one) I have had. I actually enjoyed a curry! Husband says he really liked his chicken dansak (too hot for me). So if I feel like having another curry I would be happy return here.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Salt Cellar

We hadn't planned to stay out until lunch time today but as we were still out we popped into Salt Cellar in Shaftesbury. We had stopped there for coffee & cakes previously so sort of knew what to expect. Lunch menu covered everyone's individual tastes (we had baked potato, sandwich and paninis) and we all had quick easy lunch topped with friendly service. Salt Cellar was not too busy but it's January, I would think it gets busier in the summer months due to its location on top of Gold Hill!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Stapleton Arms

When we moved no fridge (beer fridge does not count!) or cooker moved with us and while we waited for deliveries of new ones we googled pubs to dine in. The Stapleton Arms was the first pub we tried after our relocation to Dorset. We hadn't booked a table (note for future to do so) but the staff was very accommodating and found us a table in a very busy pub. Food was good and kids were catered for. I think the Stapleton Arms has come closest to one of our old favourite pubs in Devon and although we haven't made it back to the Stapleton Arms since the summer it's on the list to revisit!

(There is an added bonus of community playground very close by where we stopped at after having our lunch.)


We have returned to Stapleton Arms and they are provided consistently fabulous service and excellent food. It is definitely one of our Dorset favourites!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

At the Chapel

We visited At the Chapel a little while ago - it was that Sunday when it unexpectedly snowed. I had booked a table after reading reviews and seeing an article in a magazine (I cannot remember which one!) and At the Chapel was what the reviews said about it. The setting is lovely in an old church, we were a little bit early and were given drinks and colouring things for the children to keep them entertained until our table was ready.

Food was lovely, my old notes do not list what we all had. They had kids menu and service was very friendly. I would like to see what this place is like in the evening (without the children) but as it's a little distance away in Bruton (Somerset) it may remain just a lunching place for us.

The Udder Farm Shop

The Udder Farm Shop was one of the first places we visited after we had moved to Dorset. A new friend introduced it to us and we have been back lots!

This is just the best place to have a coffee & cake with children in tow. The outdoor area is fabulous, we always got wellies in the car boot just in case! Cakes have been yummy each time we have visited and service is friendly. We actually haven't had lunch / dinner here yet but I'm sure we will!

The shop next to the cafe has lots of good food to buy and I think we haven't left the Udder Farm Shop without some shopping as well. This place has already become one of our new favourites and with views like this how could it not be everyone's favourite?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Shed

We tried out a new restaurant in Gillingham on Saturday night. I hadn't thought about starting a blog then but from now on I will try to remember to take few pictures as well! Me & my husband had child free dinner at The Shed. I had chicken risotto and my husband had mixed grill and both very plentiful and tasty. We decided to skip starters (I often do this as I check the dessert menu first!), service was very friendly and unrushed. I definitely want to go there again, probably child free when we get another chance! Husband pointed out that it feels like an evening sort of place as there are no windows!

it's the first posting...

I had mentioned to a few new Dorset friends I had started to write down places we have eaten at and what we had thought about them. Discussions followed and I had few suggestions to share our "findings" so here we go: I have created a new blog! I will transfer my word-document notes of places we have already visited on to this blog and I will keep adding on as we visit new places. I would like to read your comments about the places we have visited and even more we would like you to recommend us new venues for good food with a friendly service so please leave your comments below!