FORMER Masterchef winner Mat Follas has has told of his desire to get back in the kitchen as he opens a new restaurant in Dorchester.

The Echo revealed last week that the former owner of The Wild Garlic would be opening his new restaurant at The Casterbridge Hotel on Friday and Saturday evenings from March 7.

Mat has vowed to take his award winning food from The Wild Garlic in Beaminster as the starting point for the new restaurant after he and his team were awarded two AA Rosettes for three years there and were listed in the Michelin Guide and Good Food Guide as well as winning rave reviews in the national press.

Mat, whose other Dorset ventures include a stint running the Chesil Beach Cafe on Portland and a restaurant at the Talbot Inn in Iwerne Minster, wrote an introduction for the AA restaurant guide for 2014 focusing on food trends and specifically foraged and wild ingredients and these elements feature in the dishes he has planned for the Dorchester eatery.

His menu in March will include a main course of rabbit ravioli parcels while other dishes include a slow cooked lamb terrine and a dessert of rhubarb and whisky crumble.

Mat’s offerings will also include daily catches of fish and other locally sourced ingredients.

He said: “I’m delighted to be heading back to the kitchen, this time it’s just me cooking for a small restaurant, no partners or other people involved, it will only be open when I’m there.

“The Casterbridge is a delightful, classic, small hotel with two wonderful dining spaces, a small dining room and a lovely conservatory area for guests to choose between.

“My food will match the surroundings, with a more classic menu than I have done in the past, we will take the best of The Wild Garlic's dishes as my inspiration and we will maintain a comfortable and relaxed dining experience.”

Melvin and Monica Curtis of The Casterbridge Hotel said: “We’re thrilled to have Mat cooking at our hotel.

“Dorchester has recently had an influx of chain restaurants and hotels and this is a great opportunity to balance that with a high end, bespoke offering, this provides great choice for Dorchester and surrounding area residents.

“We know Mat will help bring tourist trade and interest from outside Dorset to Dorchester too.”

For more information visit or to book a table at the Casterbridge call 01305 260884.