Restaurant Review: The Wild Garlic, Beaminster, Dorset

Lunch at the Wild GarlicWith thanks to Ed, who not only wrote the review, but paid for my lunch too!

In Somerset to see my parents, we decided on lunch at Masterchef winner Mat Follas’ Beaminster restaurant, The Wild Garlic, situated on the square right in the centre of this Dorset market town. The restaurant feels lovely and relaxed – not so laid back that you would be worried that the only thing on offer would be overcooked lentils, but not so starched that you can’t walk anywhere without tripping over hot and cold running flunkies. Simple wooden tables, half panelled walls, light and airy.  Nicely laid back – the sort of establishment which understands that a meal is best enjoyed in good company in relaxing surroundings.

The menu is short, but with plenty of variety, focussing on quality local, seasonal ingredients.  At lunch we found a choice of four starters, 6 mains and 4 puddings. The ‘lighter lunch’ choice of 2 courses for £14 or three for £17 looked to be particularly good value. I went for this option, whilst H chose from the a la carte menu.

My starter was a simple crab salad – a small portion, in a nod to the lighter theme. H had a fully flavoured ham hock terrine, followed by the days’ special of turbot. The main problem with the turbot was the mechanics of eating it – it was balanced on the accompanying potatoes, making the delicate task of separating out the bones tricky, to say the least. My confit of duck was the triumph of the day, richly flavoured, well seasoned and just delightful.  Amuse bouches of fresh buttered garlic popcorn and a soupçon of soup both went down a treat.

Puddings, sadly, were a bit of a let down, although beautifully presented, a Kandinsky on a plate (or board). A lavender pannacotta which was a little oversolid; Of H’s Pavlova, the lemon curd, roasted nuts, butterscotch and peanut butter powder was a terrific addition; the meringue itself, though, was not the best, not hitting the highs, and with the feet that had oozed during the cooking. They were wonderfully white (the result of a very long, very gentle cook), though, but H’s meringue is always better. But then she is the queen of pavlova.

Lunch was rounded off with a quick chat with Mat himself, and it was interesting to discover the differences between running restaurants in London and in the country, with a country clientele being more amenable to game, for example.

Running a restaurant is very different from the cooking skills needed to win Masterchef. Happily, though, it looks as though Mat abilities as a restaurateur fully allow his delight in cooking to shine through. We look forward to visiting the Chesil Beach Cafe, his new venture.

Lunch. £60 with one glass of wine.

The restaurant is open Wednesday – Saturday for morning tea, coffee & cakes, lunch and dinner. 

Booking is essential, call the restaurant on 01308 861446. 

There is also an apartment above the restaurant where you can stay.

Wild Garlic on Urbanspoon

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  1. Ren Behan says

    A great review – I am starting to think that everyone needs an Ed! Luckily, for me, I have an Ed of my own and although I haven’t yet managed to get him to write, he often treats me for lunch, too!

    I’d love to visit Mat’s restaurant and the photographs of the food look stunning. I can appreciate the local focus, given that we have just spent a week in rural Wales, with a similar emphasis on wild food and foraging as well as laid back local fare in many places.

    • Helen says

      I am hugely appreciative of Ed for writing content for me.

      The restaurant is in a lovely part of Dorset, well worth a visit, I’d really like to go for dinner and then stay in the lovely apartment.

      Photos were all taken with my Blackberry, as well as being bored with long blog posts I am bored of waving a DSLR around all the time.

  2. says

    I’m pretty certain I couldn’t be any more jealous of anyone right now. Matt was brilliant on MC and it’s been exciting seeing remotely how well it’s going for him as he seems such a nice guy. But more importantly, the food always sounds so enticing.

    • Helen says

      I am ever so slightly jealous that Ed writes so much better than I do…

      Running flunkies are nice occasionally, but when the quality of a restaurant is judged on whether someone can beat you to the loo to hold the door open for you it starts to get daft.

      Delightfully in the loo at The Wild Garlic there is a CD being played of children’s stories.

  3. says

    Lovely to read this review, Helen. I think we are very lucky to have the Wild Garlic down here – we are severely lacking in good quality restaurants down in Dorset, which is a great shame given the wonderful produce and love of food on our doorsteps.

    I hope to visit again very soon.

  4. says

    I follow Matt on Twitter and sometimes he does post interesting menus making me want to go and visit. I like that he uses local ingredients. Will have to add this one to the list to visit

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