FINDING somewhere local that offers good, attractively priced food in an atmosphere that makes you want to linger is like striking gastronomic gold.
The Stable Cider House, Pizza and Pies is the artistically rough and ready food outlet attached to the Bull Hotel in Bridport. Accessed via Chancery Lane and the Bull’s car park it is – who would have thought it – the hotel’s former stable block. The décor is rustic and minimal; punters sit on wooden benches and eat off long wooden tables lit by thick church candles.
It mainly serves fabulously cooked, generously laden pizzas accompanied by a wide and seasonally-changing list of ciders and scrumpies and a small selection of wine.
We rocked up at the Stable on a Wednesday evening and were surprised to find it pretty busy.
The list of available pizzas is extensive, intriguing and locally-based, offering a decent variety for omnivores and vegetarians alike. The Bucky Doo has herb-roasted potatoes, blue vinney cheese, roasted Spanish onions and English spinach, the Joe Gundry is fishy, the Ford Farm Four Cheese Special a dairyphile’s dream and the Chesil Chicken combines fowl with roasted red pepper, local field mushrooms and mozzarella.
However, despite all this deliciousness, we decided to choose away from the pizza menu. I opted for a Bridfish smokes mackerel and salmon salad, which came with lettuce, marinated spinach, capers, red onion, tomato, cucumber and a horse radish and crème fraiche dressing.
The bowl could not have been more full – and it wasn’t the case of having just a wee bit of fish with the rest padded out by greenery. The dish was piled high with fabulously smoky chunks of meat and the salad was interesting and packed with flavour.
My companion’s free-range chicken and apricot plait also got the thumbs up. Each piece of pasty was crammed with lean and succulent meat and sweet fruit.
There is nothing fancy about dining at the Stable. The food arrives on wooden platters and the cider is poured from boxes behind the door.
Frills and fripperies have been left behind in favour of pared-down surroundings, friendly service that manages to be both laid-back and efficient and top-notch grub.
The Stable Cider House, Pizza and Pies, 34 East Street, Bridport DT6 3LF. Call 01308 426876.
l This is an independent review by a reporter without the co-operation of the establishment.