The Seaside Boarding House in Burton Bradstock has just thrown its doors open to the great unwashed and is the most keenly anticipated restaurant or hotel opening since the Chiltern Fire House last year. Located on Dorset's suddenly über-fashionable Jurassic coast (blame Broadchurch) above Chesil Beach and conceived and brought into being by Tony Mackintosh and Mary-Lou Sturridge, the dream team behind the original Groucho Club, this has been top of my list of places to visit.
Unfortunately Mr Yapp senior, a Groucho habitué from the early days, got wind of my plans and invited himself along as dedicated wine sampler and Sat Nav stand-in. If there is one thing more ineluctable than a determined child it is a resolute parent, so I steeled myself for a selection of wine trade anecdote 'greatest hits' and some savage criticism of my driving and welcomed the Old Man along for the ride.
Even shrouded in mist on an overcast winter's day, there is something magical about the Seaside Boarding House's cliff-top location and the views must be outstanding in fine weather. Not surprisingly, the decoration and furnishings are in modernist good taste with beautiful bare wooden floors and muted grey and blue colour schemes giving light, airy spaces and a vaguely nautical feel. The front of house service, presided over Jonny Jeffrey (who will be the person to know come the high season) is certainly ship shape and we were given a warm welcome and a spacious table after an aperitif in the bar.
The menu and wine list are both sensibly short but carefully considered and there is a strong emphasis on seafood, which is understandable given the locale. Mr Yapp senior kicked-off with crab on toast which he declared to be unimpeachable and went down a treat with a nervy, young Albarino Abadia de San Campio. I started with some sautéed squid with red pepper relish which was served with a tasty green salad and had a lovely kick of chilli in the dressing. For our next course my Dad opted for a 'terrific' Vietnamese beef salad while I enjoyed seabass with olives, orange and tarragon.
With 60 years of wine trade lunches between us, neither of us could justify cheese or pudding but we overheard enthusiastic reports from other diners. The coffee, which along with bread and chips, is one the key hallmarks of any dining establishment, was excellent. The SBH has eight bedrooms and I can't wait to go back for an appetite-inducing coastal walk and a more serious assault on the wine list, which features some interesting selections by the glass and 500ml pichet. As we wended our way back to Mere, via Swyre and Abbotsbury along the delightful Heritage Coast, I was surprised to learn that even my driving has improved so I think Dad enjoyed our excursion as much as I did.