The Greyhound, Stockbridge

Stockbridge SO20 6EY
01264 810833

When travelling to or from London we usually choose the less stressful option of the A30 and so our route takes us through the pretty town of Stockbridge. There are several places where one can eat here. Recently we ate in The Greyhound. The Greyhound is an old coaching in and has lots of character and (very low!) beams. It has a garden where one can eat out in the summer.

There is a set menu, £15.95 for 2 courses or £18.95 for 3. The set menu looked so good that we chose it on this occasion. However, the main menu had lots of appetising dishes on it which were very reasonably priced. Dishes which caught our eye included Tempura Monkfish cheeks; Beef Carpaccio with a celeriac remoulade; seared scallops; a charcuterie board; a fish board. Amongst the main courses were skate wings; fried pollock; rack of lamb; kedgeree; duck breast and various steaks.

The set menu which we had was a chicken pate on toast followed by Moules Marinière followed by a chocolate dessert. The house red was a more than acceptable Vaucluse.

They were packed, but service was cheerful and efficient

The Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock

Burton Bradstock DT6 4RB
01308 897205

If you head for Hive Beach, which many of you will know, you will see a sign to The Seaside Boarding House. It enjoys a spectacular view over Lyme Bay and, unlike Hive Beach, it is rather more comfortable, roomy and cosy… and there is plenty of free parking.

Created by the same team as the Groucho Club, you will find meticulous attention to detail here. On your left there is a large bar with tables where you can eat or just have a drink or a coffee or tea. Beside this there is a restaurant where you can enjoy a slightly more formal meal. There is a good-sized terrace where you can eat and drink when the weather permits. Well-behaved dogs are welcomed, in keeping with an informal, relaxed atmosphere.

The menu is well balanced with fish and meat dishes on it. There is a good value daily set menu from Monday to Friday at £15 for 2 courses or £18 for 3. We didn’t choose this option but enjoyed a cheese souffle and a scallop dish for starters, followed by fish and chips and moules marinière for mains. Nicely cooked and presented, served by cheerful, efficient staff. Definitely a place to which we will return. Apparently the rooms are very nice too and they do terrific breakfasts, whether you are staying there or just eating!

The Seaside Boarding House is open seven days a week for breakfast, coffee, lunch, tea and supper. Reservation is recommended.

Thank you Gordon & Adrian for recommending this to us!

The King John Inn, Tollard Royal

Tollard Royal, Wiltshire SP5 5PS
01725 516207

Opened a decade ago already, the King John Inn in picturesque Tollard Royal is well worth a detour. Open for food 7 days a week, the pub offers a fine selection of draft beers for the beer drinkers amongst you. The decor is a mixture of modern and traditional, with a stunning new pale oak bar and a quarry tile floor of reclaimed red tiles. Lovely selection of framed country photographs on the walls. Mixed scrubbed oak tables. Open log fire. Immaculate loos. It’s all exactly as it should be and has been done with excellent taste.

We arrived just after noon and were the first there. A relaxed and smiling welcome set the tone and we were shown to a nice table by the crackling open log fire.

The menu when we visited for lunch was quite small but full of interest. Hot out of the oven bread (The King John Bloomer) was crusty and delicious. Recent starters have included Moules Marinière; lightly dressed Portland crab on sourdough toast; smoked stone bass with beetroot; Carpaccio of rose veal. Mains such as a pigeon breast salad with crispy bacon and croutons; pan-fried Gurnard with crushed potatoes and curly kale; twice baked Cheese souffle; fish and chips; fillet of cod with crispy oyster and a lobster sauce. There was a good selection of puds from which we shared a chocolate and orange fondant. The food was all well prepared and nicely presented, without being too “fussy”.

Service by our friendly waitress who has been there for ages (but whose name I have forgotten) and by the owner Monika, was very good and well informed.

A three course meal will set you back £30 to £35 not including drink.

The King John has kindly agreed to be listed as one of our recommended restaurants and are pleased to offer 10% discount off lunch and dinner Mondays to Thursdays. Just mention you are a member of Trencherman’s when you book.

The Masons’ Arms, Knowstone

01398 341231

Believe it or not, this Michelin-starred pub, set in deepest Devon, offers a lunch menu of £25 for 3 courses or £20 for 2. This is amazing value, as Mark Dodson has to be one of the top chefs in the country, having spent 13 years at the 3 star Michelin Waterside at Bray.

Of course, we can never resist the a la carte menu! Our favourite starter is the seared peppered tuna with Oriental salad. It is just mouth-wateringly delicious! This time I plumped for the Arancini with Beetroot three ways which was very good.

Main courses were fillet of brill with a potato crust, caramelised little gem, cucumber and capers with a creamy cider sauce; and Monkfish wrapped in Prosciutto ham with breaded mackerel and scallops. Other mains included fillet of Venison, Breast of Guinea Fowl and fillet of beef. As one would expect, presentation is always perfect as are the different textures of each course and the accompanying sauce.

Ethne’s chocolate cheesecake with peanut butter ice-cream rounded off another terrific meal.

Mark & Sarah look forward to welcoming you at their pub .

L’Auberge Bressane, Paris

16, Avenue La Motte Picquet
00 331 47 05 98 37

The Auberge Bressane has become one of our favourite restaurants in Paris. The food, atmosphere and service are consistently excellent. It is in the septième again, a short walk from the métro École Militaire.

As soon as you enter you are warmly greeted, coats taken and shown to your table. It’s a small cosy place and feels “right”. The menu has many “classics” such as escargots, cuisses de grenouilles (frog’s legs), wonderful soufflés both savoury and sweet, scrambled eggs with truffles, fried squid, sole, turbot, kidneys, Chateaubriand steak, Tournedos Rossini, coq au vin, and so on!

The wine list is superb and varied. The service is always very friendly and, if you like Frogs legs, which we both do, they produce some of the best.

La Terrasse du Septième, Paris

2 place de l’École Militaire

This is a big, bustling café/brasserie on a busy crossroads. Sounds ghastly, doesn’t it? But actually it’s a great place to sit over a coffee or a glass of wine and people watch. It’s always full of life and the service is excellent and very fast. There are usually about 6 waiters on duty, each with his own area to patrol. The food is just what you would expect in a Paris Brasserie and is all freshly cooked and appetising.

Most of what the French call “les Incontournables” are to be found on their menu. Caesar Salad, Snails, Steak Tartare, Steak Frites, Chicken & Chips, Sweetbreads, Chocolate mousse, crème caramel, crème brûlée, rhum baba to name but a few.

This is not gourmet dining, but it is good honest fare, well prepared and served with a smile at almost any hour you choose to eat and booking is not necessary. What more could one ask for?!

Crab & Prawn Lasagne

This is our own invention and is a really good non-meat alternative. You can eat this either as a starter or as a main course. It is quite rich, so if you use it as a starter, you only need a smallish ramekin per person.

Ingredients for 8 as a starter or 4 as a main course.

  • 8 sheets of Lasagne Pasta; 60 grams plain flour;
  • 150 grams butter;
  • 1 litre milk;
  • 450 grams mixed brown and white crabmeat;
  • 200 grams peeled king prawns;
  • 150 grams freshly grated Parmesan;
  • 200 grams grated Cheddar or Gruyere;
  • a good handful of freshly chopped Parsley;
  • Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper.


  • Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan. Add the flour and blend, stirring all the time. Cook for a couple of minutes to cook the flour, still stirring. Remove from the heat.
  • Bring the milk to near boiling. Place the butter and flour mixture back on a very gentle heat and add the milk a little at a time stirring constantly with a whisk. Season with lots of black pepper and a little, but not too much, salt. This will only take a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
  • Butter your dish or dishes, depending on whether you are using 8 ramekins or one dish.
  • Place a layer of soaked (or “no pre-soak”) pasta on the bottom, cover with a mixture of crabmeat and prawns, together with some of your white sauce and generously sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Place another layer of pasta on this, then more crab and prawns and white sauce and so on, until the dish is not quite full.
  • Place a final layer of pasta on top, cover generously with white sauce and sprinkle with grated Cheddar or Gruyere and a bit more ground black pepper.
  • Cook at 425F / 220C / Gas 7 and for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbling and golden.
  • Serve with crusty French bread.

My mouth is watering at the thought!

Spring 2018 Update

After really quite a good, cold, dry winter, the first signs of spring are just trying to appear. The early flowers have done reasonably well. Snowdrops and crocuses were wonderful this year and the former are still going quite strong. The daffodils and primroses are late but starting to brighten up our gardens and woodland. I have seen a few early cowslips, but they are not really out yet. The next wild flower, the bluebells, won’t be too far away, although they don’t usually appear before St George’s Day, April 23rd, and then flower until the end of May. Their brilliant, shiny green leaves will soon be starting to poke through the surface and then you will know that winter really is over and spring well underway. A few hawthorn and hazel are already showing signs of breaking leaf in the hedgerows. Our mowers are still “hibernating”, but another few days of this reasonable weather will see them dusted off and giving our lawns their first cut of the year. Fingers crossed for a good, warm spring and a lovely hot summer! We’re due one.

Spring Tasting

Saturday 7th April 5.30 until 8.00 & Sunday 8th April 11.00 until 1.30.

Do put these dates in your diaries now! We’re not yet sure what we’ll be giving you to taste but it will be something designed to tickle your taste buds.

As usual, this will be held in our Tasting Room off the yard behind the shop building. It’s always a sociable occasion, so we hope that this appeals to you and that you will be able to spare the time to come on one or other of the above days. When the weather is dry and has been for a few weeks, do please feel free to park on the grass through the yard behind Trencherman’s. However, if it has not been dry, please do NOT park on the grass or you will get stuck!

Summer Tastings

Saturday 7th 5.30 to 8.00 & Sunday 8th July 11.00 to 1.30

We hope that not too many of you will be away on holiday and that you will be able to come on one or other of the days. Apart from the December wine tasting, this is our biggest tasting of the year.

Autumn Wine Tasting dinner at Trencherman’s

Friday 12th October

A date for your diaries. We haven’t decided where the wines will be from will be from, but it’s always a fun occasion, so please pencil it in your diaries. As soon as we have a firm idea we will let you know. If you would like to register your interest at this stage, please do! Prices will remain at £45 a head which includes a multi course gourmet dinner.

Wines from Trencherman’s

Much has changed here since the early days when we only sold the odd bottle of wine to put in a hamper. Now wine is an important, if not the most important, part of our business, as you can see from the amount of room it takes up in the shop. We must be one of the larger independent wine merchants in the area with around five hundred different wines and spirits from which to choose. We buy the majority of our wines direct from the producer, so you will find many wines here which you won’t find elsewhere and prices are very competitive. We sell a lot of magnums, which make wonderful presents or a terrific talking point at a dinner party. Winemakers always say that the wine in a magnum matures better than that in a normal sized bottle. So there’s another reason for trying a magnum!

We are more than happy to give advice on starting or stocking cellars or laying down wines; wines for parties or weddings; which wine to buy to go with a particular dish for a dinner party; wine as presents; Vintage Port for godsons and fine wines for special occasions. A major advantage of buying your wine from us is that you are nearly always able to buy a single bottle before committing yourself to a case purchase – and, of course, we have regular Tastings. If you find you don’t like what you have bought, we will exchange it for something else (full bottles only!). Wines can be purchased on sale or return for larger parties or weddings, as well as sparkling elder flower, and we can chill everything which needs cooling in our chillers, which saves fiddling about with buckets of ice. Glasses are loaned free of charge if you have bought the wine from us.

Many wines vary from vintage to vintage and so we are continually changing the range and variety of wines which we stock. There is something for everybody here, with a wide selection of wines from France in particular, but also from Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South America.

We are, of course, especially strong on French wines, with the southern Rhône being, as ever, a consistent performer. Bordeaux has had three good vintages in a row – a fantastic 2015 an even better 2016 with 2017 a small but good vintage too. Burgundy, on the other hand, has had several very poor vintages in a row due to frost and hail, and wines are in exceedingly short supply and pretty expensive. The Southern Rhone has had a succession of wonderful vintages and 2015 and 2016 were both very highly acclaimed. If you are strong-willed, it would be well worth putting a few cases of the 2016s back for future consumption. However, they are drinking beautifully now, so don’t feel you have to!

From Spain we have wines from Ochoa in Navarra and from Rioja Martinez Bujanda and Miguel Merino. These are really lovely wines and well worth trying if you have yet to do so. Our old favourite from Martinez Bujanda, Candidato, has always been and still is just the best value around. Martinez Bujanda also have extensive vineyards at Finca Antigua (nothing to do with the West Indies!) in La Mancha producing excellent quality, sensibly priced and very drinkable wines. Do look out for them!

We have a selection of fine clarets and vintage ports in our cellars if you need a special bottle or case of wine as a present, or even just for yourselves!

Trencherman’s Home-cooked Meals

These are ever popular and we are always amazed at how they fly out. Our apologies for the lack of choice after Christmas, but we were all but wiped out and have only just about got back on an even keel. We have a choice of about 10 meals at the moment and are making more each week. The latest ones to be made were Thai Green Pheasant Curry, a particularly good Game Casserole and Lamb Tajine.

A Feast of Game!

Game is not only very good for one, being free range and very low on fat, but it is increasingly plentiful. We have good stocks of most things, so clear a corner of your freezer and stock up at these bargain prices!

Pigeon Breasts

There have been lots of pigeons around and our pigeon shooters have been busy controlling them….so we have quite a few in stock! They’re easy to cook and quite delicious. Down from £6.95 to just £4.95 for 10 while stocks last.

Pheasant Breasts

The offer is a bit late appearing this year, but we have quite good stocks of Pheasant breasts at £2.95 a pack of 4, down from £4.95.

Pheasant Thighs

These have no sinews so are great for casseroling. Usually £3.95 per pack of 8, these are on offer for £2.95 per pack.


Down from £3.95 a bird to £2.95 a bird.


They were really plentiful this year and amazingly good value at only £4.50 a bird. Now they are just £3.95 each.


Our olives are renowned, especially the large green Gordal! Until Easter we will be reducing the price by 20%! Stock up now!

Canapé Cases

Another favourite. These come in packs of 64 and we will be reducing the price from £4.50 to £3.60 also until Easter. They last for ever, so they too are a good buy.

Dried Pastas

We have a really good new range of pastas. Spaghetti, Linguine, Tagliatelle Nests, Tagliatelle, Orzo (rice shaped), Tonnarelli al nero di sepia (black squid ink pasta), Cannelloni, Gargarnelli, and Lasagne. 20% discount off all our pastas until the end of April – so stock up now!

Bocca di Lupo

Archer Street W1B 7BB
0207 734 2223

If you like top quality Italian food and lots of atmosphere, look no further than Bocca di Lupo.

Tucked away down a small street in theatre land a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, it is perfectly placed for an early pre-theatre supper. We went there at lunchtime and had a superb meal. There is a long marble bar, at which one can sit on high stools, on the other side of which are four chefs beavering away preparing the food in the open kitchen.

Bocca di Lupo offers Italian-style tapas – small dishes of delicious food, cooked in front of your eyes if you sit at “the bar”. It does, of course, have lots of tables too if you don’t fancy sitting on a stool for an hour and a half! We had a selection of deep-fried sage leaves filled with anchovies in a light batter; sea-bream carpaccio with orange and rosemary, Arancini – balls of rice with saffron, bone marrow and gremolata (lemon zest, garlic, parsley and anchovy) deep fried; flash fried squid rings; mussels a la plancha with spicy chilli and herb butter; and as a token gesture towards vegetables, melt in the mouth roasted slices of pumpkin with sage, parmesan and balsamic vinegar, which was especially scrummy! We drank some good Primitivo and finished with great coffee. Staff were especially nice and friendly.

Highly recommended.

If you want to make your mouth water, have a look at their menu here.