Brief:- to change the residents lounge
at 1st floor level into a numero uno
bedroom with en suite bathroom with no
disturbance to the restaurant trade pic
Problem a builder having notched a
principal structural member at 1st floor
level to such an extent that the
floor bounced when people walked across
it the solution was negotiated between
Bronbuild and the Proprietor who is a
planner on Prestigious Contracts
views from that window! the partition
you are looking at hides the Flitch beam
and the tie rod supporting the floor
Ms MC of
Crawley recommends the 15th-century
thatched Chideock House in Dorset:
"But don't go unless the Dunns
are still there." (I remember this
last bit as we're bowling down the
this man with the. Infectious laugh who
is taking us to our room Mr Dunn? How
best to pop the question? Then
inspiration hits. "Been here long?
" I ask. "Five years."
That's all right, then.
has a rather odd canopy above the bed
made of the same flowered material as
the bedspread and curtains, and which
looks, to my untutored eye, as if it's
stuck on to that stuff people use to
stiffen pelmets. It also has an Artex
ceiling (don't see many of those
around any more).
problem is soap—or, rather, the lack
of it. Hands dripping, my husband
emerges from the bathroom looking cross.
There, there. I get on the phone."
I' m sorry to bother you when you're
busy ..."" " No prob,"
replies Mr Dunn. "I'll send one
of the girls up, we've got girls
everywhere." Soap's promptly
brought by a girl.
so glad the Dunns are still here.
Especially as Mr Dunn's so jolly — I
quite see Ms MC's point. Down in the
bar, he tells us that the hotel was
built around 1465 and is the oldest in
the village. He should know. He's in
the building industry and is often away
(China, the States, he gets around), but
when he's here he helps out, although
his wife, Anna, is the one who really
runs the place. "Will we meet
Anna?" "If you see a human
dynamo coming through here, that's
bringing us drinks and menus. "Righty-o.
take your time." Oh, goody, the
menu's not over the top as befits a
one AA rosette restaurant. I quote from
the AA: "The chef should have a
mastery of basic techniques and produce
dishes of sound quality and clarity of
flavours, using good, fresh
food, not too complicated," I say
gleefully... which leads to a gripe. As
professional eaters-out, we are fed up
with elaborate dishes into which butter
and cream have been.hurled with merry
abandon. Yes food like that makes us
feel bloated. Our stomachs are not made
of iron.. . End of gripe.
Chideock House appears to specialise in
is the sort of food people would be
happy to eat for a week on the trot—which
is important in hotels where people come
on holiday rather than for one or two
nights. "Rack of lamb?"
queries Mr Dunn. "Righty-o. Anna
serves it pink. Is that all right?"
restaurant is simply decorated and
calming to the nerves. It has an Adam
fireplace, with, I quote, "a rare
duck's-nest grate". Don't know
about grates, just know this is a nice
place to eat. Anna, it seems, has a
penchant for pastry, as in "fillet
of haddock and smoked salmon baked in
pastry with parsley sauce" and
"anchovy, olive and tomato
husband's being condescending.
"Pub food," be declares. I
disagree. "Simple maybe, but,
unlike most'pub food, it's been
thought about and it's delicately
presented." I must confess, though,
to being taken aback by my tart, which
isn't very tart-like, being a
square-shaped piece of puff pastry with
a small square hole in the middle
containing the filling, which is very
salty. My husband's avocado and
sweet-cured herring salad with chives
is, he says, unusual — and he likes
course is fillet of haddock and smoked
salmon with a parsley sauce. Anna's
definitely keen on pastry —the fish is
tightly wrapped in filo.
"And?" I fix him with a gimlet
stare. "Very good." He
finishes it all.
dish, though, is my rack of lamb: five,
prettily arranged, delicate pink cutlets
accompanied by spot.on vegetables.
"Sensationally simple." Even
my husband casts an envious eye. It's
followed by the perfect crème brülée.
His pud looks good, too: a bitter
chocolate and orange concoction with its
own jug of cream.
brochure, Anna describes herself as
"the lady of the house". We
meet her next morning at breakfast.
Dynamic's the word. Mr Dunn, whose
name is George, is serving breakfast,
looking very smart.
hotel is unpretentious and nice to be
in. Outside is a large garden with
lawns, flower-beds and the sort of
plants I thought had gone out of fashion
years ago: red-hot pokers and marigolds…Paddy
Burt paid £110 for a de-luxe double
including dinner;£20.75 for wine.Total:£130.75.