One of the benefits of living in South Somerset is the proximity to the Jurassic Coast and to make the most of it, we normally disappear after school to the Hive Beach Cafe at Burton Bradstock for  a fish supper and beach playing for the boys.
However, the incessant rain dampened our spirits and we haven’t ventured out much this year, but a couple of weeks ago, we were invited by some friends to go and try the Hive’s new sister cafe, The Watch House Cafe at West Bay, near Bridport.

One of the reasons we love the Hive is that it offers absolutely excellent seafood or just a coffee, immaculately presented in unpretentious surroundings – all with excellent service.  So we were curious to see what The Watch House would have to offer.

Like the Hive, it is a seaside cafe so you are right beside the beach and the Hive’s retro cafe style has been carried through to here.  It’s well laid out and you can still see into the kitchen and the fish are displayed in a chilled cabinet – freshly caught and local, it doesn’t get better.  It’s smaller than the Hive but has a lovely decked area outside and they’ve just built a pizza oven outside with the intention of holding pizza evenings – let’s hope the weather clears up soon!

We were there on a Friday evening for an early sitting – 4 adults and 3 children.  The menu offered a good selection and we all found something to rave about.  The prices aren’t the cheapest cafe prices in town, but you get what you pay for and what you’re getting is some of the best food around.  We had a taster plate to start, compliments of the chef with 3 morsels each to try – all delicious, particularly the pineapple chunk with a pinenut chutney on it – it tasted much better than it sounds!

Between us we ordered scallops, beef and chllli prawns as starters and they were all delicious and excellently presented.  It was lovely to see that our children were encouraged to try dishes and the chef happily split a starter for us so that they could all have a scallop each.

Next the main course arrived, our friends had skate and we had sea bass and pesto potatoes with samphire – such a tasty combination and the fish was perfectly cooked and presented.  We had ordered carbonara for the boys – and when it came out the chef had taken the trouble to put the egg yolk into an egg shell on top of the pasta – so that we could choose if they wanted the traditional raw egg stirred in.  Clean plates all round!

There was an excellent selection of puddings on offer, but we were feeing quite full so we only ventured onto the ice cream menu – all local Lovingtons ice creams – delicious.

We finished with coffees and were encouraged to linger, even though the cafe was full by now.  Throughout the meal, our every need was catered for with some of the best service we’ve had in a long time, expertly delivered by Becky and the team – nothing was too much trouble.

I really thought that the Hive would take some beating, but Steve, the owner, and his team have obviously put a lot of thought into what works and translated it to the Watch House.  Sublime food, great surroundings and faultless service – this really is one to watch and we will be back!