IT’S been four years since I last set foot in the Anchor Inn at Burton Bradstock.
At that particular time I remember being parched after walking round the Fleet Lagoon and in dire need of a beverage.
My impression of the Anchor back then was that it was a very average pub – swirly carpet with traditional décor and more basket meals than you can shake a stick at.
Things have moved on a little.
New owners took over late last year and the pub was jam-packed on a Wednesday night.
Three of us met a friend from Lyme Regis in the light and airy new restaurant area of the pub.
When we arrived nothing was too much trouble for the staff who were happy to change around and fold out a table for us (and then fold it back in again when one of our party couldn’t make it).
The selection of seafood on the menu is comprehensive and well thought out, but the prices are a little steep.
Expect to pay restaurant prices instead of pub prices for extravagant sounding dishes ranging from saffron lobster (£17.95) to skate wing (£15.95) to dived West Bay scallops (£17.95).
But for those in need of good old-fashioned pub grub, the traditional fare is still being served from the bar on the right.
Two of us opted for the Thai fish curry, reasonably priced at £13.95.
Another friend opted for the chicken breast at £14.95, stuffed with apricots and tarragon with a honey and mustard sauce.
A lot of effort had gone into the food’s beautiful presentation.
I was delighted with my curry, which had a zingy sauce with a hint of lime but not too much to overwhelm the coconut.
The fish used was meaty, flaky and tasty with an inventive scattering of mussels, which worked perfectly with the dish.
Seafood is sourced locally for the Anchor, with Portland mussels and West Bay crab staples on the menu. My only criticism was that we could have done with some more rice on the plate.
My friend enjoyed her pork fillet, which came with mange tout, carrots, cabbage and new potatoes, and found it extremely substantial. When trying some, I was pleasantly surprised by how moist it was. I felt that we were left unattended for a little too long before our plates were cleared and we were offered dessert, but could see that staff were coping with a deluge of holidaymakers and doing so with a smile on their faces.
On passing some conversations at the bar, I could see that staff were genuinely interested in their customers and further enhanced Dorset’s reputation as a friendly pocket of the country.
Save room for the desserts at the Anchor – my chocolate torte was sweet without being sickly and rich without being overpowering.
It was well complemented and given some continental intrigue by the salty caramel sauce.
And I should also mention the ladies’ toilets at the pub.
Think a lot of pink, floral aromas from each and every direction and a collection of posh toiletries.
Just try not to linger for too long on the chaise longue before heading home.
- The Anchor Inn, High Street, Burton Bradstock, DT6 4QF. (01308) 897228. anchorinnburtonbradstock.co.uk