Poet Laureate, Poundbury

If, like me, you find it increasingly hard to find good, freshly prepared food, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Most chain restaurants and many pubs (even up-market ones) serve food that’s been pre-prepared in a factory somewhere and simply re-heated on site. It’s why the food arrives at your table 10 minutes after you’ve ordered it – something many of us Brits have a peculiar obsession with. Fast food isn’t good food.

poet-laureateBut the real deal can still be found, and Alex Ford, head chef and owner of the Poet Laureate pub in Pummery Square, Poundbury, can justifiably take pride in his cuisine – the menu is mouthwatering.

For starters I chose the award-winning black pudding with free-range poached egg, hollandaise sauce and bacon bits. The black pudding was deliciously delicate in flavour, and egg the perfect accompaniment. My wife decided on the confit of duck spring rolls with pickled cucumber and hoisin dip – a delicious combination.

For the mains, I chose one of the Specials: kiln-smoked salmon fillet on crushed new potatoes with a white wine cream sauce and samphire – a wonderfully delicate flavour and texture from this hard-to- find seaweed so prized by gourmets.

Jayne chose a vegetarian offering – halloumi, aubergine and houmus in a brioche bun with pesto and tomato chutney served with sweet potato fries. Again, meltingly delicious.

Other options included free-range chicken breast with Dorset asparagus, potato gratin and garlic cream; pappardelle pasta with a wild mushroom, red onion and white wine cream sauce; and confit of belly of pork with creamy mash, black pudding, braised red cabbage, apple sauce and a red wine jus.

We were determined to try the desserts, despite being rather full – but boy, was it worth it. The rhubarb crumble cake was to die for; quite simply one of the nicest puds I have eaten in a very long time.

You won’t find much better food than this, anywhere, at the price. So ditch the chains, and head for the Poet Laureate. We’re going back to try the Sunday carvery very, very soon.

Richard Reed


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