Overlooking Chesil Beach, this was the inspiration for Ian McEwan’s recent novella. How different is the jaunty shack from the stiff hotel when McEwan’s virginal couple picked awkwardly through their wedding feast. You will have to bring your own shy maid, but the quirky café provides hammers, pliers, aprons and straw hats before you tackle its celebrated crab.
- The Telegraph
The term “crab house” is almost too grand for this shack on the water’s edge overlooking Chesil Beach, yet its outdoor eating with pink umbrellas is always packed with families, local and the odd chef (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Angela Harnett). Experts can opt for a “Crab to crack” (£17.95) accompanied by the usual array of implements. More accessible dishes include Thai fishcakes (£6.25) as a starter, followed by skate with chorizo and spring onions (£14.95) or sand sole in lemon butter (£13.95 to £15.50 as a main.
The menu changes up to twice a day, depending on what is available. “If it’s not caught in the Channel by an English fisherman on an English boat, I don’t buy it.” Say Nigel Bloxham. “We sell conger as a smoked eel mousse,” he says, wit such oddities as poached ling (“like slightly chewy cod”) with Bride Valley salt beef (£6.95) and even sea snails in tarragon butter (£5.75). The café overlooks the Fleet Oyster Farm, which Bloxham also owns. Last summer, it produced its first Portland Royal oysters using a new method. Jostled by waves and tie, they put more effort into growing meat than shell, resulting in a plumper treat. The “sweet water” of the Fleet Lagoon (a mixture of salt and fresh, from the chalk hills) gives them a semi-sweet taste; Six Portland Royals cost £8.50. Booking is advisable.
- Telegraph Travel