La Fosse at Cranborne, Dorset: restaurant review

Our review of the restaurant at La Fosse in the pretty Dorset village of Cranborne. Beautiful presentation and the best of local, seasonal produce makes for a fantastic menu - whatever you do, make sure you leave room for the award-winning cheeseboard.

In a nutshell

A cosy restaurant situated in a four-star B&B in Dorset’s sleepy, beautiful Cranbourne. The locally sourced ingredients, and award-winning cheeseboard make it a must-visit.


Our review

La Fosse is a six-bedroom bed and breakfast in a picturesque English village, perfect for those wanting to get away from it all. Chef and co-owner Mark Hartstone gained his passion and experience in various establishments around the world, including The Chewton Glen Hotel where he met his wife and La Fosse’s co-owner, Emmanuelle.

The homely but functional ground floor dining room is warm and cosy – you won’t find any designer furniture or fancy modern light fittings here, but then why would you want to? The idea is to make you feel comfortable and relaxed, and it works.

The menu at La Fosse changes almost weekly, making the most of the range of seasonal, local produce which is abundant in this part of the country – a list of which you read on the back of their menu, along with each supplier and how many miles it has travelled. There is barely anything on the menu that has not been sourced from within 50 miles of the dinner table.

A cold, delicately spiced beetroot bhaji starter arrives dressed with a fresh, crunchy salad and a drizzle of local yogurt – there’s nothing greasy or heavy about this Indian-inspired dish. Another starter, a well-seasoned goat burger topped with a sunny yellow-yolked poached egg from the farm across the road is equally as light, despite the heavy-sounding ingredients.

Mains of a pea risotto topped with gammon and belly pork, and a delicate grilled fillet of river trout, caught in the next village that same morning. The risotto is the stand-out dish, with sweet summer peas matched perfectly to crispy, salty pork.

Dessert presents a delicious decision between sweet and savoury. The promise of local poached pears with fig and honey ice cream is almost too good to resist, but Dorset’s best cheeseboard winner twice-over is an absolute must-try. It is delivered to the table by Mark himself, who talks through the flavour profile and background of every cheese which has been hand-picked. Those with a heartier appetite should indulge in both…

Bullseye: It has to be the award-winning cheeseboard. Ten bite-sized servings of local cheeses, presented in running order from mild to knock-your-socks-off strong; served with chutneys, dried and fresh fruits and a range of traditional cheese crackers. 

Total price: £28.50 each for three courses, extra £3.50 supplement for cheeseboard as dessert.


By Jane Cook, hungrycityhippy.co.uk

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