As a Christmas present, I bought my better half Pat, a Travelzoo Voucher for The Cafe at Porlock Weir, knowing full well that it was really a day out for both of us. At the time I had no great expectations for the day. It turned out to be one of those most perfect days when everything fell into place, and it was one of the greatest places I visited, I’m lucky that I always find reviews online with the best cities and places to visit all the time.
Six weeks previously, I had phoned The Cafe to place the booking for lunch for a Friday in April, hoping despite the freezing weather and with hail stones crashing at the sitting room window, that all would be well on the day! The run up to Friday in South Molton was rather wintry grey with a bitter wind blowing in from Siberia or wherever! But dry at least.
Friday morning came and it was Spring! The sun laughed at us from a whispery blue sky and beckoned us out. Not forgetting the dog, we made our way up onto high Exmoor and found a pleasant walk just outside Porlock, from where we could see far across the Bristol Channel into the cloud covered depths of Wales. Refusing to walk along the ridge because of the bitter wind that was still blowing in from Siberia, or wherever, Fizz the Patterdale guided us down a path into a beautiful typical Exmoor Valley. All heather, scrub oak and with the sound of a babbling stream dancing in our ears. Idyllic! Well done Fizz!
But despite the wild and ancient glories of Exmoor, our appointment with lunch soon hurried us back to the car. Wondering why we don’t do this more often and fearful of being late, we found our way to Porlock Weir.
Twenty years or so we have lived in South Molton and never been to Porlock Weir. We were surprised by what we found. A beautiful, bustling, little Somerset harbour steeped in history, on the shores of the Bristol Channel. A few pubs, a couple of gallery shops and a few other eating places but more to the point our goal – The Café at Porlock Weir.
- Celeriac & saffron soup with roasted Scallop
- Soused sardines with vegetable salad, herb oil & coriander
- Pressed fish terrine with herb crème fraiche & cucumber salsa
- Fillet of plaice with herb new potatoes, buttered spinach & a white wine velouté
- Vanilla panacotta with exotic fruits
It was superb and way beyond the standard I was expecting from an ‘offer’ deal. The Terrine was possibly my favourite but the Panacotta was a fantastic finale. The accompanying wines which were offered with each course looked really tempting, but as a driver it was not the best of ideas – next time maybe! The pictures below from my phone camera, come nowhere near doing justice to the dishes prepared by Chef Andrew Dixon. I had been caught of guard, leaving my camera in the car. What sort of a photographer does that?
To walk off lunch, we took the opportunity to pick our way along the pebble ridge that makes up the beach at Porlock Weir and investigate the harbour. Reputedly to have been in existence for over 1000 years and visited by the plundering Danes as far back as 86AD. The shingle beach and wooden groins make this a photographers paradise, much to Pat’s dismay as I fell, prostrate on the shingle getting the image I wanted! She knew we were going to be there for a while.
With a tiring camera shutter, we made our way to the last stop of the day – a short walk along the Barle at Withypool. It was not to be. Fizz led us to the pub, The Royal Oak Inn where we downed a pint of Exmoor ale before heading homeward.
Yes it had been a good day. Thank you Travelzoo and thank you The Café at Porlock Weir.
All images © 2013 John Russell.