The Harbour, West Bay

March to October
Mon-Fri 12-3pm
Sat-Sun 12-4pm (5pm midsummer)

Some swear by the scallops; some swoon for the fish stew; some chuckle at the chowder. Everyone in the know rates Rachel’s kiosk as the most surprisingly scrumptious eating establishment in the locality and far beyond.

Set amid the traditional purveyors of jumbo sausages and dubious burgers, Rachel and John Kingston offer ‘good honest seafood at a reasonable price’. The words are Rachel’s and she is too modest. The food is fantastic; the prices a joy.

When Rachel was made redundant at the age of 35 after working for a clothing company for14 years, she pursued her dream. She had always wanted a kiosk and reckoned that seafood at West Bay would be a winner. She learned some skills at the White Horse Inn, Litton Cheney, and opened the kiosk six years ago.
With Rachel and John devising the menu and the ever-obliging Jess Bendell as front of kiosk, the enterprise has been a success from the start. With three hours prepping every day, and working so hard in the cramped space with three induction hobs that they sometimes have ‘scrambled eggs for brains’, they are almost too successful. There will be queues; there will often be a wait for the grub. But fear not: when it comes, you’re in heaven.

By |May 19th, 2015|Cafés, Food & Drink|1 Comment

Box Office Coffee

The Lyric Theatre

9 Barrack Street
Bridport DT6 3LX
Open 9-3 Tues-Sat
Twitter @boxofficecoffee

Making a really good cup of coffee is not rocket science. It’s far more complicated. If you doubt it, have a word or a thousand, with Toby Frere, the engaging owner and barista-in-chief of Box Office Coffee in the foyer of the Lyric Theatre. Like a scientist, Frere takes infinite pains to achieve consistent results. His espresso machines are cleaned twice daily, his grinders cleaned daily and stripped weekly. Single-estate coffees are sourced from around the world and the beans for each serving are weighed to the gram.

Frere uses a San Remo Verona machine for espressos as well as aero-press filter for certain less-intense coffees. Naturally, the steeping time is measured with a stopwatch, and Frere will provide a thermometer since the optimum temperature for drinking filter coffee is 41degrees Celsius.

Starting out from a small van outside Dorchester South Station, Frere graduated to his Number 35 Coffee House and Kitchen at 35 High West Street, Dorchester, and has now set up an outpost in Bridport. It’s a small and intimate space with just a few tables, conducive to a friendly social experience. “It’s about much more than just coffee,” Frere says. True: it will certainly benefit the tucked-away and homely Lyric, and the coffee is exceptional.

By |November 13th, 2014|Cafés|2 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
Follow Soulshine on Twitter
Trip Advisor Reviews

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

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