Oleo Body Care

Oleo Body Care
West Street, north side

It took Olivia Chapman quite a while to find her vocation. She hated grammar school and left early; she travelled and worked for several years in the Far East; she bought and ran the Knapp Inn in Beaminster with her partner, Mike; she was employed variously as a cook, a child carer, a cleaner; and then, contemplating middle-age, she decided to study.

A part-time course in anatomy, physiology and massage was followed by a first-class honours degree in health science from Bournemouth University and a further course in advanced massage and aromatherapy. Now Olivia has a complementary business, selling natural skin, hair and body products which she herself blends, and offering aromatherapy massage. Her best-selling face cream is a national award-winner but it is Olivia’s calmness and warmth which is most valued by her clients.

By |October 30th, 2014|Market Stalls|0 Comments

Joe’s Café

JoesJoe’s Café
4 Victoria Grove
01308 422207
Open: 8-2 Mon-Fri (except Thurs), 7-2 Sat

The best testimonial for Joe’s Café came from a regular, one of the mechanics in the tyre depot across the street. “Awesome,” he said.

Marie Rose Cousins opened her café 17 years ago and named it after her father and son. ‘Joe’s’ sounded right, like one of the traditional cafés she loved as a child growing up in Hertfordshire.

A warm welcome is guaranteed, along with a selection of tabloids. Vegetarian and low-fat breakfasts and lunches are cooked to order. Bubble and squeak and bread pudding are the house specials and no item on the menu breaks the £5 barrier.

Marie once cooked her full English breakfast for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; he returned the compliment with a deconstructed version at River Cottage. So whose was best? “He was a very generous host,” Marie said. “But I’ll stick to mine.”

By |October 29th, 2014|Cafés, Food & Drink|2 Comments


76 South Street
01308 422821
Open: 9 to 5, daily in summer; may vary in winter
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For many years, Lisa Loader from Montreal, Canada, harboured a dream: to open a café, a café with soul. When she reached the age of 40, she was firmly rooted in England with an English partner, Chris Denne, two children and a career in the film industry. It’s now or never, she said to herself, and Chris, who had experience as a professional cook, agreed. The result is Soulshine, where the welcome is sunny and the food healthy and wholesome. The range and quality of fresh juices, teas and coffees are exceptional.

The clientele, spread comfortably around a front-of-shop room, a good-sized back room and a garden area, is mostly but not exclusively West-Country hip. Kids and wheelchair-users are well facilitated and the loo is one of the best in town. With the granting of a licence to sell alcohol, Soulshine’s evolutionary plans include Sunday lunches and evening meals, but the chief surprise is that an establishment that already feels part of the Bridport furniture opened as recently as 17 March 2014.

By |October 26th, 2014|Cafés, Food & Drink|0 Comments

Davy’s Locker

Davy's2Davy’s Locker
Unit 28A
Dreadnought Trading Estate
01308 456131
Open: Mon-Sat, 5am to noon

Most of Davy’s Locker’s business is supplying restaurants, with two full-grown vans and a tiddler criss-crossing Dorset with the catch. “When plaice are about, we sell two or three hundred kilos a week,” says Paul Wickham, one of the three partners. But visitors to their industrial-style premises looking for something for supper are welcome and bound to be impressed. Want a couple of good-sized lobsters for tomorrow? Hang on. Paul phones a vessel two miles out at sea. “Lobster. Got any? Right, we’ll have ’em.”

Or try their celebrated fish-pie mix. Keith Laver, the acknowledged ace with the filleting knife, will soon sort some out. Back in 2009, the chef at the Bull Hotel asked Davy’s Locker for a halibut to cook as part of a seafood festival. I want a big one, he ordered. And he got one: 140 kilos and 10-foot long. It took five grown men to lift it onto the slab and all day for the chefs to chop it into 600 portions.

By |October 26th, 2014|Shops|1 Comment

Red Brick Café

RedBrickRed Brick Café
St Michael’s Trading Estate
07868 752329
Open: Wed-Sat 10-3; Fri evenings

Four fine women – Joy, Anna, Vicky and Hayley – run this much-loved haven, a home from home, if home means a happy kitchen, enticing smells, laughter, comfort, warmth.

It was started on a zero budget by Joy and Anna in 2009 and since then some 10,000 meals have been served. When they began, Joy couldn’t boil an egg. Now she can. “We pay our way,” says Anna, who left school at 15 and has cooked ever since. “But I don’t believe in making profit out of food.” When they ensure that you can have a good meal for £5, there’s not much risk of that.

Red Brick mostly offers late breakfasts and lunches, with a regular Friday-night three-course supper for £10. Humous, chips and salad is a novelty but a popular one; the flapjacks are the best to be had. But let’s not discriminate: it’s all good food from people who care.

By |October 25th, 2014|Cafés, Food & Drink|0 Comments