Brassica Restaurant is the brainchild of industry power couple, Cass Titcombe and Louise Chidgey. A chef and interior designer respectively, the pair are bringing good food and creative flare to the town of Beaminster; where their popular bistro-style restaurant has earned an enviable reputation for relaxed and convivial dining. Our Editor, Gabriella Dyson, experienced the food and hospitality firsthand…
I’m pleased to report that Beaminster is as delightfully picturesque as I expected the West Country town to be. The journey to Brassica is a 1.5 hour round trip for us, but only a stone’s throw from the Jurassic coast and a short drive from the lively market town of Bridport. Aptly described by The Guardian as ‘rooted and unpretentious, with ungentrified edges’, the town strikes a careful line between ‘bougie’ and eccentric. It’s one of those towns that Farrow & Ball loving Londoners no doubt flock to during summer, but it’s seemingly managed to retain much of its artisanal appeal.
Atmosphere & Décor
I visit Brassica with my partner on a Thursday evening in early October, and pulling into the town square we have no trouble finding a parking space within 50 yards of the entrance. As we approach, the welcoming glow of the restaurant spills out into the street and it all feels incredibly inviting. Stepping inside, the warm fuzzy feeling continues and we cast our eyes over the interiors. Tall candles flicker on every table, alongside little vases of colourful dahlias and seasonal foliage. One half of the restaurant is exposed brick – complete with wood burning stove and rustic log pile – while another feature wall brims with playful, decorative plates. Brassica isn’t a big restaurant, in fact it’s quite small. Something about its relaxed décor makes me feel like we’ve just stepped off the pavement straight into someone’s home. It’s all very fun and laidback, so I’m already feeling charmed.
Sadly, we’re ushered into a corner table and I squeeze into my seat alongside another party, whose sudden and uncomfortable silence speaks volumes. Five minutes later, another couple walk through the doors and are given the choice between a window seat or a lovely looking table by the wood burning stove. I suspect this is because we’re here on a press trip, which I can understand, but it gives me a sinking feeling that we’re going to be viewed as a nuisance compared against paying customers. Thankfully, this is not the case. Our waitress for the evening is an absolute breath of fresh air and her welcoming demeanour brings us right back on track for a lovely evening ahead.
Cass Titcombe’s stripped-back menu is filled with tempting dishes that make clever use of local, seasonal ingredients. As soon as I read the supper menu, I’m torn between dishes for every course, and frankly I would eat anything presented to me. Eventually, I settle on ‘Truffle manchego, pear, watercress and hazelnuts’ (£9). This arrives promptly and is presented as soft shavings of manchego cheese, blanketed over a salad of fresh watercress and soft pears. It’s very well balanced and nicely seasoned, getting supper off to a great start. Though, I’ll admit I’m a little envious of my partners choice: crispy polenta with anchovies & mixed beets (£8). His polenta is perfectly crisp on the outside yet light and fluffy in the middle – delicious.
For my main, I opt for ‘roasted organic pork with cavolo nero, pickled Tropea onion and sultanas’ (£21). This was going to be the standout meal of the evening. Everything is beautifully cooked, and I even find myself devouring the soft, salty pork fat which melts in the mouth. Portions are very generous, although I regret holding off on a portion of fries for the side which I think would probably have been a wise choice.
Dessert is a retro throwback with a modern twist: chocolate & hazelnut cookie caramel sundae (£6.50). You can’t go too far wrong with this combination of flavours and the pair of us make quick work polishing off every bite.
We wash everything down with a carafe of Les Petites Perdrix, Merlot (2020); a nice medium bodied red that makes for easy drinking and suitably matches each course. The wine list itself mirrors the menu, with a blend of European reds and whites, mainly French. There’s also some affordable fizz available, should you be celebrating an occasion.
Our Overall Thoughts
Brassica offers the perfect balance between casual and intimate dining, making it ideal for date nights or small family gatherings. Service is warm and attentive, while the food is stripped-back and beautifully executed. You’ll easily enjoy 3-courses and a glass of wine for two for around £100 and there’s free parking (after 6pm) right on the doorstep.
If you’re as enamoured by the décor as I am, do yourself a favour and make the short walk across the road to Cass and Louise’s sister-business Brassica Mercantile. Their expertly curated collection of wares gives you the chance to replicate the vibe of Brassica Restaurant at home, from the plates and napkins down to the cushions and candlesticks.