Culture, England

Gill Meller’s must-try dishes in Dorset, England

Gill Meller is head chef at River Cottage. He is hosting a food lovers “gathering” weekend at New Zealand lodge The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, in Hawke’s Bay, June 2-4, 2017. See capekidnappers.com.

BRILL WITH SORREL SAUCE AND CRISPY SPINACH, RIVERSIDE RESTAURANT

This dish has been on the menu at the Riverside Restaurant in West Bay, Dorset, for as long as I can remember. I even included a version of it in my book as I liked it so much. It’s the simplicity of the sorrel sauce that I love, It’s sharp and rounded all at the same time. This, coupled with the delicacy of brill – one of my favourite flat fish – gets me every time. thefishrestaurant-westbay.co.uk

 

Fish soup with tomatoes and star anise.Fish soup with tomatoes and star anise.

WELSH RAREBIT, THE ETHICUREAN

The best I’ve had is served at a restaurant called The Ethicurean near Bristol in the south-west of England. It’s effectively cheese on toast but made with beer, mustard, pepper and aged mature hard cheese. It’s incredibly rich and so delicious. See theethicurean.com

CRACKED CRAB AND MAYONNAISE

If you’re ever in neighbouring county, Devon, visit the beautiful village of Dittisham on the Dart River. There is a small shack overlooking the water that sells simple seafood. The crab caught in the water off that particular coast line are second to none. Great chips too. See anchorstonecafe.co.uk

BOILED EGGS ON MARMITE TOAST

We have a bakery near our house. They make amazing sourdough and sometimes we will go in for breakfast. It’s a “help yourself to toast and cook your own eggs” kind of a place. I always sneak in a jar of Marmite (very like Vegemite) in my pocket as they don’t have any.

SEA KALE

This wild coastal green can be found on the beach near where I live. At this time of year it is at its absolute best. The young, tender growth is sweet and delicate. The flowering spikes found in April and May are even better than broccoli and the large leaves are amazing steamed and buttered. It’s superb with fish or poached eggs and chorizo.

CURED PORK, SAUSAGE AND HAM, THE RUSTY PIG

Charcuterie made with integrity, care and ethics. All the rare-breed pork comes from local free-range farms and is butchered and cured in-house by my good friend Robin Rea, whose small butchery and restaurant the Rusty Pig serves home-made black pudding, rillettes, pate, brawn, ham, salami, pancetta, coppa and everything else you can think of that comes from the pig. Genius. See rustypig.co.uk

HERBS AND SALADS, TRILL FARM

My good friends run an organic garden at Trill Farm in Devon. They produce some of the most beautiful salad and herbs I’ve ever eaten and it’s where I will always go for it. They work extremely hard and carry the passion and ethos right through the business, and you can tell when you eat their wares. See trillfarm.co.uk

Gill Meller’s book Gather (Quadrille, $49.95) is out now. See hardiegrant.com

Robin Cole