Usually a lot of thought and research is spent on or I review. I’m thinking of places you might like or places that have an interesting history, places that are “trending” or those that have been, perhaps unfairly, overlooked. But then, from time to time, I reserve the right to do a spontaneous “drive-by” at a place that I have just passed in the normal course of things which turns out, by chance, to be so good that I don’t. can’t keep silent about this.
How I Drove through rural Dorset is a convoluted story of trying to interest a teenager in the British trade union movement, a tank museum and the poems of John Betjeman. But even the man who sang Sturminster Newton and Melbury Bubb couldn’t find any metric space for Piddlehinton, although it really is a very gem micro-village.
The Thimble Inn is a four-seat English pub with a wonderfully uncrowded garden and is quite the most perfect thing to pop up in your windshield on a clear, warm day. But what makes it really noteworthy is the shockingly high quality of the food.
Too often, harshly marinated or brutally taped pub eggs are “only good in places.” But, thank the Lord, the Thimble keeps theirs beautifully. A whole duck egg is fried so that the yolk is warmed up while the crisp white lace is crisp, then it is carried to a bed of charred gem lettuce, on which it can squirt its golden benison in a way that makes me blush frankly. It was so good.
Then there was a monumental bowl of mussels, recently picked from the River Exe and steamed in wine until their juices mixed freely with cream and fresh herbs. Simply made, beautifully presented, with serious care given to the pans.
Others at the table had freshly baked potato gnocchi with cream, spinach and wild mushrooms – surprisingly light and fresh – and a really big beef pie. The crust has been hand raised from an ultra-short dough in a thin, crispy container for an almost illegally rich filling. A misguided choice in my opinion for a beautiful early summer day, but my delicate teenager clearly disagreed and pulled it off like someone driving a Soviet T-44A on a Faberge egg.
It was quite obvious that chef-owner Michal Trawicki and his team know their onions in terms of craftsmanship, creativity and excellent sourcing of ingredients. So for the main course I ordered the egg and the fries.
Yes I know. You expect me to go to these places and apply my palate in concert to the most cutting-edge gastronomy. But there was a whole section on the menu marked “Pub Classics”. . . and I’m on vacation. . . and it’s a drive-by! And I’m really glad I did, because the egg was a big golden orb, fresh out of a duck. Maybe the same duck whose fat had been melted to triple the hand-cut fries. They’d roasted their own ham and sliced it into generous slices, then, just when the outrageous thought occurred to me – “What he really needs is a big slice of ‘pineapple’ – I realized they actually made a chutney. of fresh pineapple, subtly flavored with star anise and cloves.
Everyone knows Michelangelo’s “David”, but connoisseurs prefer Donatello’s delicate bronze. They share a name, a subject, an idea but differ by an order of magnitude in beauty, sensitivity and expressiveness. Egg and chips will always be a popular idea, but “Trawicki’s Egg and Chips” is the greatest work and the purest evocation.
There were desserts, of course, in such gracious abundance that I had to ration myself to pick the others in the way that prompts families of reviewers to consult. I descended like a hawk on chunks of sage tiramisu and chunks of a nicely ballsy lime pie with an encouraging hand-trimmed base.
Come on my darlings, come on! Climb in the engine and adjust the controls of the Heart of Dorset. Marvel at the euphony of place names, maybe see tanks. Like Betjeman, you will never find Mellstock Cemetery. But you can console yourself with eggs and fries that you could write poems on.
The thimble inn
14 High Street, Piddlehinton, Dorchester DT2 7TD; thimbleinn.co.uk
Entries £ 5.95 – £ 8.95
Sector £ 12.50 – £ 23.50
Desserts £ 2.95 to £ 7.95
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