The peak of summer in Lyme Regis is a busy busy time. Looking for a place for a late lunch proved challenging as most places were full and busy and not many were dog-friendly. However, right above the Cobb Gate Car Park, the venerable Bell Cliff restaurant stands next to a crystal shop, overlooking The Cob. It is is also on one of the main access points to Lyme Regis beach.
The Bell Cliff Restaurant and Tea Rooms was a welcoming space for us and the dog to grab lunch. Dating from the 16th century, the restaurant certainly shows its age with low ceilings and uneven vaulted floors and walls. The restaurant itself is pretty densely packed with tables and chairs tightly packed and spaces are quite small.
On the upside, the service is quick and friendly and despite the almost closeted feel of the space, the dog (who is usually quite nervous) managed to settle well under the bench-seat. There is a range of different options for a hot lunch, sandwiches, cakes and desserts and afternoon tea. Although we did not try any of the cakes, the ones on display really did look delicious.
What we ordered
Here is what we ordered.
- Fish and Chips – Beer battered cod, chips and peas
- Fresh Crab Sandwich
- Ploughman’s Lunch
Fish and Chips
Given its seaside location, the fish and chips were unfortunately quite a disappointment. The rough cut chips were well done and perfectly salted, and the peas were slightly dry and a rather small portion. Sadly, most disappointing of all was the fish, which was quite clearly something that came cooked straight from the freezer. The fish portion was super small and the batter while crispy was not exactly golden and was even missing in places.
When we ordered the Crab sandwich, we were told asked if it was okay that the kitchen use a mix of white and brown crab meat. White crab meat has a ‘meat’ texture while brown crab meat is more of a pate texture. Brown crab meat is cheaper compared to white crab meat but the combination of both allows for a decent bite and mouth feel while being complemented by a rich taste.
Unfortunately, the crab sandwich itself was also rather disappointing with only a relatively thin coat of crab mix. There was only a small smattering of accompanying potato crisps and the salad, although refreshing did not come with dressing.
The Ploughman’s Lunch was the only saving grace. It was part of the Specials Menu on a chalk board. The portion was fairly generous and the cuts of smoked ham were thick. It came with two wedges of cheddar cheese. The accompanying door-stop granary bread was fresh and soft. The traditional accompaniments were generous – a whole picked onion, a portion of chutney to go with the cheese, a small pork pie and fresh leafy salad with slices of tomato and cucumber.
Afternoon Tea and Desserts
The Tea and Dessert Menu looked very inviting and tempting but we did not try any.
Options for Afternoon Tea were:
- Dorset Cream Tea – two homemade scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream with a pot of tea for one
- High Tea – cucumber sandwich and a scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream with a pot of tea for one
- Dorset Cheese Tea – two homemade cheese and chive scones served with local mature cheddar and west country cider and apple chutney with a pot of tea for one
- Summer Special – toasted teacake or vegan carrot cake or gluten free Victoria song with a pot of tea or cup of filter coffee
Options for desserts were:
- Belgian Waffles
- Apple Crumble
- Chocolate Fudge Cake
- Dorset Apple Cake
- Knickerbocker Glory
Apart from the Knickerbocker Glory, the cakes, pie and waffles come with clean, ice cream or custard.
Please note that the above options for Afternoon Tea and Dessert may change, check with the restaurant.