It’s hard to know how the restaurant critic of the New York Times ever wandered off-track into this part of Dorset.
The owner of the Seaside Boarding House Restaurant thought that there might have been a relative nearby; someone else suggested that it was the pretension of ‘discovering’ a remote gem ahead of everyone else. I suspect that the writer was simply making the best of getting lost on winding shoreline lanes.
Nonetheless, the restaurant, commanding a clifftop above Chesil Beach, is a find.
We went over for lunch on a sunny day, when there would be clear views over the water and warm spots to sit by the windows. Pastel blue and white, the walls dotted with seascape paintings, it is a lovely place to sit and linger over well prepared dishes: well=-seasoned fish soup and bread, mushroom polenta, chocolate-walnut delice. The setting and the food attracts a varied pairs of people seeking quiet conversation over mussels and soufflé: friends, couples, and walkers who’s backstories we filled in.
Nearby is the market town of Bridport, once a Saxon center for rope- and net-making, now for arts and antiques. The Alleyways area, on the edge of town, turned out to be a good place to wander, ‘fifty shops overflowing with comfortable old clutter.
The wooden furniture, coloured glass, and vintage clothes evoke collectables from roadside farms throughout New England. But they do have a distinctly UK flavour: better condition, spanning longer periods, and from a more refined life.
There were good neon bits from the 60’s, political pieces from the 30’s, and metal kitchen tools from far before.
I always get a bit wistful over the children’s toys, once loved and now forgotten, and the faded china that families passed across generations of pride and tradition.
Another writer notes that The UK tends to focus more on ‘proper’ antiques rather than the bizarre because there still exists a huge amount of them in the UK to unearth. Also, the British take their antiques seriously where there is some knowledge and an expectation of value, where the element of pure fluke taps more into the American penchant for the bizarre and the uncertain.
perhaps so: I was tempted by a whimsical clip that was in utterly bad taste. ‘Less attracted by the strangeness, though: I valued any objec that evokes a smile.
Disclaimer: My opinions are wholly my own; I never ask for invitations or compensation to write about places I go.