Amid west Dorset’s undulating hills, Kathryn Lewis uncovers an oasis of homegrown food, gorgeous homewares and effortless countryside glamour at Symondsbury Kitchen
Picture a lifestyle spread in a glossy country magazine: dogs snoozing by the woodburner, armchairs sporting chunky throws, gravel-lined courtyards – and you’ve conjured up the rural-luxe vibe of Symondsbury Estate.
The Estate’s charming collection of ancient tithe barns, thatched cottages and farmhouses host a small village of boutiques, design shops, galleries and holiday properties. And at its centre, within the former milking barn and churn store, is where the fruits (and veg) of its farmland come to fruition at the Symondsbury Kitchen.
VISIT for cafe dining delivered according to a restaurant doctrine. This may be a relaxed lunch spot but its chefs aren’t casual when it comes to flavour, style or sourcing.
A good deal of the produce used in the Kitchen is grown in the Estate’s garden and dishes pay homage to the gardeners’ handiwork in tweaked old-timers such as smoked haddock and leek fishcakes with griddled fennel.
DON’T VISIT in search of supper. The Kitchen closes after the busy rush of late lunches and afternoon teas, although the attractive venue and savvy chefs are available to hire for special evening occasions.
WE LIKED following lunch with a snoop around Symondsbury Store next door. You may be close to bursting following the not-necessary-but-definitely-worth-it slice of root vegetable cake that rounded off lunch, but there’s slim chance of leaving the shop without at least one local gin, a wedge of Dorset cheese and a collection of Estate-made preserves.