Posts Tagged: Dorset

May 13

Upper Deck

 Upper Deck 2

Upper Deck is the newly opened restaurant at the Christchurch Harbour Hotel in Dorset. Overlooking the beautiful Christchurch Harbour and Hengistbury Head, it is very tastefully decorated and comfortable spot from which to admire the stunning views.

The menus are designed by local chef Alex Aitken, and use a good selection of locally-sourced produce, including Sopley asparagus and plenty of locally sourced fish. There is plenty of choice available on the menu, including an A la carte menu, sharing platters and a tasting menu with matched wines if you fancy it.

Upper deck1

The wine list offers plenty of choice and we particularly enjoyed the Billecart Salmon Rosé champagne as an aperitif. To start, we shared a grilled tiger prawn served with rocket, and grilled Sopley asparagus with a poached egg. Both were delicious, light starters and reasonably priced at around £6 each.

For our main courses, we tried the lamb which was served with a ratatouille and spinach and dauphinoise potato. This was a great main and every component of the dish was really delicious and well cooked. We also tried the rib eye steak which was served with a sauce of your choice, chunky chips, grilled tomatoes and a watercress salad. The steak was very good indeed and cooked as requested. It was a great, simple main course which was well-executed.

For dessert, we really enjoyed the chocolate fondant, which was perfectly cooked and portioned – it was just the right amount. The crème brûlée was really good, too, with a perfect thin sugar crust on top.

Upper Deck is a great destination for lunch or dinner and is one of the top restaurants in the area. It is smart, but relaxed with a lively feel and offers really good, well-cooked food.

May 13

A day with Lesley Waters

Lesley Waters in action

Lesley Waters in action

Dorset is a very foodie county, renowned for its excellent produce flavoured by many celebrity chefs. One of those is Lesley Waters, who has been a regular feature on our TV screens for years. Lesley fell in love with Dorset just over a decade ago and made Dorset her home, converting a beautiful stone cottage on the rolling hills near to the Somerset border to create her own cookery school.

I recently spent a day at the Lesley Waters Cookery School with Lesley herself,  hosted by Aga Rangemaster, cooking with some of the best of local produce. Lesley is a very dynamic lady and a wonderful teacher and hostess, making sure everyone gets involved and touches, smells and watches everything.

The cookery school itself is absolutely beautiful, with stunning views from every window. Inside, the kitchen is decorated in a rustic yet modern style, with both walls kitted out with gorgeous deep red Rangemaster cookers. Lesley is a fan of the Rangemaster cooker, which is a delight to use, with fan assisted ovens which make baking accurate and gas hobs which are easy to control and cook with.

We made a range of Lesley’s signature dishes on the day which we enjoyed for lunch with a glass of fizz and I’m delighted to be able to share one of my favourite dishes of the day with you below.

Peppered scallops with puy lentils

Peppered scallops with puy lentils

Peppered scallops with puy lentil dressing

Adapted from the original recipe with permission

Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil

12 scallops, hand-dived and cleaned

Sea salt


2 tbsp torn basil leaves

10g butter

4 tbsp puy lentils, cooked

For the dressing 

5 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

110g wild rocket leaves

110g sundried tomatoes


1)   Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 2-3 minutes on each side. Add the basil, butter and lentils and allow the scallops to cook for a further minute in the butter.

2)   Mix the oil and balsamic vinegar together and add the rocket leaves and tomatoes. Mix well to evenly dress the salad. Place on a plate and top with the scallops and lentils. Serve immediately.

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