ON A BRIGHT sunny day, Seatown looks at its best – nestling between Golden Cap, the pebbly beach and the calm shimmer of Lyme Bay. The Anchor Inn is busy, in fact there’s already a long queue at the bar. Every outside table is taken, so we find a table in the main bar, just under the specials board.
The first move is to fetch a drink and the choice is between three of Palmers’ superb real ales – 200 Strong Ale, Best Bitter and Copper. I’m fond of the vinous 200 and go for that. The young couple behind the bar are working full pelt and I have to point out the inch-deep head needed topping-up to avoid short measure.
The menu is interesting, a printed card plus seven tempting specials on the board. Lobster salad with lemon mayonnaise would be a real treat – I think shellfish eaten within sight of the sea always tastes better. How about crevettes cooked in butter and sweet chilli butter?
Joan loves liver & bacon, so made up her mind in minutes. The deep plate looked good, with a bed of mustard mash and caramelised onion. Joan really enjoyed the well-cooked liver and ate the lot with great relish.
I had decided on the griddled chicken breasts, cooked in goats’ cheese, but with mustard mash instead of crushed new potatoes. Again served in a soup dish, this meal was superbly tasty, with a couple of thin rashers of bacon adding flavour.
Nearby, a couple of walkers were enjoying heaped ploughmans’ lunches, coming with a choice of Denhay Mature Cheddar, local gammon ham or Dorset Blue Vinny – unfortunately spelt wrongly [with an “e”] throughout the menu! But it’s good to see named local ingredients highlighted in menus and I delight in seeing more eating houses adopting this model of good practice.
Time for another pint of Palmers’ outstanding 200 Strong Ale as we think about dessert. Kept in excellent condition, the 200 is on form and this time the barmaid gives me a full pint without my having to ask.
I spy summer pudding on the chalked menu, one of my favourite desserts and with clotted cream, it creates a fine end to a superb lunch by the sea. Joan enjoyed the ice cream, a mix of three flavours.
Said to date from 1750, the Anchor Inn has enormous charm and character. All round the wall – in both bars – are series of photographs of local people. I see David and Sadie Miles pictured, the previous licensees. Sadie created the iconic beef curry that is still on the menu. Although the pub is very busy, there is a feeling of peace here and the young staff work hard. The toilets badly need upgrading, leading off a narrow passage at the back. Palmers know this and have for some years been seeking planning permission to extend the rear of this old pub to provide better facilities.
We much enjoyed our lunch at the Anchor, whose chef has clearly a talent for producing innovative meals at reasonable prices. Our lunch cost £37.30 for two. We had not been to The Anchor for a couple of years, but must call again soon.
Anchor Inn, Seatown, nr Chideock, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 6JU
Landlord: Paul Wiscombe
For opening hours, which vary between summer and winter, see website:
Editor’s Note: Michel Hooper-Immins belongs to the British Guild of Beer Writers, whose members share “a love of beer and a desire to see its virtues communicated more effectively.” He is a leading member of CAMRA’s Wessex Region, and his name can often be found in The Good Pub Guide.
The editor of this website also works for Watershed PR, one of whose clients is Palmers Brewery. Please note, however, that Michel Hooper-Immins is an experienced journalist who chooses for himself which pubs to visit, and writes about all pubs and brewers in Dorset as he sees fit.