I’ve wanted to go to Mat Follas’ Wild Garlic restaurant ever since he won Masterchef in 2009. Today, as a small indulgence on our holiday we set off on a sunny autumn day to the small but charmingly beautiful Dorset market town of Beaminster in the heart of Thomas Hardy Country.
Opting for the cheaper, £17 for three courses meal, option I had a crab salad, whilst Emma had the duck cassoulet. Then for mains, Emma opted for a slow cooked skirt steak, and I had the confit of duck leg. When Mat was on Masterchef he was always passionate about local and regional food cooked well with flavours and seasoning taken from the woodland floor and the hedgerows. I couldn’t begin to pick out all the flavours in the duck, but it was one of the best meals I have ever had, with subtlety and delicacy that perfectly captures the ethos that drew us the restaurant.
It was a relaxed attitude with chunky, wooden furniture with foods and foody sayings and phrases carved into the sides. The Masterchef trophy was on display but in an unshowy way, a the back of the bar. And Mat Follas himself served us with our mains and received our thanks as we left.
In the afternoon, we headed down to the coast, and almost into Devon with a trip to Lyme Regis, a poke around seafront antique shops and a walk on the cob…