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Watch House Cafe


The Watch House Cafe in West Bay, Dorset combines my favourite things - spectacular food, stunning location and a venue that is almost ridiculously informal.

Yes you've washed up in a beach cafe with plastic chairs and tinny tables but as soon as you're through the door and catch sight of phenomenal looking home-baked bread and cakes, you realise you are somewhere very different.

The Watch House Cafe is sister restaurant to the more famous Hive Beach Cafe at Burton Bradstock and it's clearly catching on fast. On a chilly, beach-unfriendly Wednesday lunch-time it was doing a roaring trade.

I ordered the seafood and chorizo broth and it was a knock-out though the wafer-thin wood-fired pizzas that were whizzing past looked so good,  I'll need to come back soon. Carrot cake and coffee were both delicious but I really think you could order anything here and get blown away. To my left a table of pensioners were tucking into gammon, egg and deep golden chips with gusto, to my right Pauline Quirke was taking delivery of a gargantuan-looking sandwich. And don't get me started on the breakfasts - wild mushrooms sauted with wine, cream and chives and served with a poached egg on sourdough? Hive Hash - crispy sauteed potatoes, chorizo, pancetta, red onions, sliced field mushrooms with parsley and a soft fried egg? It's pitch perfect this place. Bread and cakes are baked daily in The Hive's bakery in Burton Bradstock, fish is caught locally, both are outstanding. In good weather this is where I'm heading for unrivalled views of the Jurassic Coast, for chilled rose or delicious Orchard Pig cider, for grilled lobster, excellent pizza and good times. Arrive early and stay late - the Watch House Cafe has got summer writen all over it.  

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