Page 49 - Enjoy the South 2016
P. 49

The Priory in Wareham on the banks of the River Frome is quite simply one of the most idyllic hotel restaurants in the South.
Famed for the Abbotts Cellar Restaurant – steeped in four centuries of history – the Priory has many guises.
In the cooler months one enjoys aperitifs in the classic lounge to a backdrop of ivories and crackling logs and
in the summer months the profile of the Priory changes altogether. Pimms on the lawns meandering down to
the river bank, boats and wildlife pass by, as seconds, minutes, and hours of English garden bliss absorb guests of the hotel and visiting diners enjoy lunch on the River Terrace under rose covered pergolas and balmy skies. This is where Downton meets MasterChef!
The menu is extensive with ten stunning starters and nine mains to choose from. Showing confidence in prompt service, which it is worth noting is charming and informed, this is a proper dining experience.
It makes sense to start with the half Kimmeridge lobster. Grilled with garlic butter, it is a picture – meaty, tender, and tasty. The baked Somerset Capricorn goat’s cheese is sharp, warm, and served with spicy tomato chutney with a roquette, basil, and pine nut salad. The bread selection is varied; Melba, brown, white – you name it and plenty of it, which we love, as nothing is going to rush lunch at the Priory.
Mains include dressed Portland crab with a seasonal salad and new potatoes – just a picture and what a
size – perfect for the main menu. There’s a delectable
loin of west Dorset lamb in a herb crumb with a goat’s cheese and potato gratin, sugar snap peas, crushed root vegetables, Chantenay carrots, and a Dubonnet jus. There is an abundance of side orders, but they’re not essential, as each course is perfect in portion, but let’s face it who can turn down lesser spotted rissole potatoes?
The desserts are dreamy but beware they may bring
out the worst in your party, they are not for sharing! The dark chocolate and orange delice, orange sauce, and
a chocolate shard is bittersweet and quite exceptional
– as is the whole afternoon at the Priory. The menu is partnered by a really extensive wine list so make sure you leave the car at home.
This is what fine dining is all about. We’d recommend that you book in advance and make the most of the changing look and taste of the Priory seasons. 01929 551666

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