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Review: Lula, Bridport – “a palace of delights”

Next to the Literary and Scientific Institute in East Street, Bridport, there stands another architecturally distinctive building. Upstairs, it houses a chamber of horrors (a dentist’s); downstairs, a palace of delights – Lula.

Lula, below the dentist in East Street, Bridport.
Lula, below the dentist in East Street, Bridport.

I’d heard a lot of good things about Lula, but what finally persuaded me to visit was a recommendation from both my dentist and his assistant. I was in the chair one day when, having questioned (as I always do) the need for any treatment and having eventually accepted the need to undergo the pleasures of the Little Ease and the Rack, I savoured an almost mystical moment – delicious cooking smells wafting in through the open window. The nurse assured me that I was still alive and informed me that the cause of my pleasure was Lula’s. She enthused about the burgers, as did the dentist. I survived sufficiently to lunch at Lula four times over the following weeks; I love it. The burgers are indeed magnificent; meaty, garlicky, herby. Forget about the latest gourmet burger place in London, this is much better.

Fishcake at Lula in Bridport.
Fishcake at Lula in Bridport.

Lula also offers much more; I’ve tried the fishcakes and the lamb kofte. Each really hit the spot. The fishcakes are not – as often found – actually potato cakes with a token amount of fish lobbed in; they are stuffed full of smoked haddock with a generous addition of spring onion but with sufficient potato to bind. I have to confess that I ordered extra chips before knowing this, but felt fully justified in having done so.

The kofte came with hummous, flatbread, salad, yoghurt and a delicious red pepper sauce. It’s zingy and deeply savoury.

Almond and raspberry tart at Lula in Bridport.
Almond and raspberry tart at Lula in Bridport.

Puddings sampled include a warm double choc hazelnut brownie, a lovely almond and raspberry tart and strawberry and vanilla pannacotta. I could eat them all again now – even the pannacotta which I usually dismiss as a slightly turbocharged blancmange. This was more creamy than cream.

When you add in friendly service and the pleasure of seeing Angie (the “la” in Lula) and her team working in the kitchen, I find myself wondering where else I’d rather eat in Bridport.

The moral of all this, of course, is that whilst you should always question any advice given by your dentist about your teeth, if he/she recommends a place to eat, do not hesitate; tear off that ghastly gown, jump out of the sweaty seat and leg it to that restaurant. In my experience, whilst dentists may know a lot about dental treatment, they actually know much more about what’s really toothsome.

Druilde Door, by Rena Gardiner, in a new book about her work, Rena Gardiner: Artist and Printmaker

Burrowing into Dorset’s Landscape

Of all the 50 or so books now published by Little Toller Books (based in Toller Fratrum near Maiden Newton) the handsomest so far is arguably Rena Gardiner: Artist and Printmaker. Within days of this book appearing in late April, copies were being advertised online for £50; its cover price is £20.

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Ham hock with boiled egg and pickles

Eating Out: Brassica, Beaminster

Brassica Restaurant
4 The Square, Beaminster
Wednesday-Saturday lunch, fixed menu: two courses: £13.50 three courses: £16.50
Also open in the evenings, Tuesday — Saturday

I first visited the building that currently houses Brassica many years ago when it was a free house that had the rare distinction of serving food on Sunday evenings. The beer was good; the kebab was a cheap disaster. Eventually The Wild Garlic arrived; my sole dining experience was a more expensive disappointment.

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