Less British seaside, more Cali beach vibes: Lyme’s coastal cool factor has soared since SWIM washed up on its shore. Kathryn Lewis tested the waters
When word spread in spring that the founders of Bridport stalwart The Stable were revamping Lyme Regis’s beachside cafe, Dorset foodies were polishing their tasting spoons in anticipation.
Moving away from The Stable pizza and pie set-up, the new venture takes inspiration from its coastal setting to create an all-day bill of seaside-y dishes. Flaky fish in crunchy beer batter and local crab-stuffed sarnies feature treats sourced from Dorset dayboats, while farmhouse breakfasts raid the entire South West larder.
VISIT for casual dining, cracking views and a camera roll of social media material.
Collating a Pinterest-pleasing palette of pastel pinks, distressed wood, house plants and edgy prints, the design-savvy squad behind SWIM have created a chilled space where you’ll want to stick around long after supper’s finished.
A bar that’s well stocked with all the ingredients for a corking weekend makes the opportunity to watch the sun set over the harbour from the bifold windows even sweeter.
After all, you’ll need an hour or so to let that epic portion of sticky date pudding with golden butterscotch sauce and chunky honeycomb ice cream settle.
DON’T VISIT without a canine companion. Long walkies on the beach are rewarded with a glass of local Lyme Bay sauvignon while dogs – welcome both inside and out – earn a scratch behind the ear from the super friendly staff.
WE LIKED the carby haul of treats rustled up daily by the in-house baker.
Swing by for brekkie and you’ll find homemade pastries on the bar; return at lunch and the line-up of burgers (check out the tempura fish with pickled red onion and gochujang mayo) are sandwiched between glossy house-baked sesame buns.
And on an evening visit, make a beeline for the generous slices of oiled and griddled sourdough which provide top-notch dipping material for a rich saffron and fennel-spiked seafood stew.
INSIDER’S TIP Take a Thursday evening dip for cocktails and live music from 8.30pm.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter Tempura vegetables, sesame and soy dipping sauce, salt and pepper calamari, house sweet chilli sauce
Main Saffron fish and fennel stew, English gruyère, sourdough croutons
Pud Bread and butter pudding, vanilla ice cream
3 courses from £21.50
This Dorset classic received a contemporary revamp last year when a new captain took to the helm, but The Riverside's seafood is as prized a catch as ever
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