review by Liam Parker
The new owners of this beautiful pub situated between Wimborne and Ferndown, have already made their mark.
Their improvements may not be obvious from the outside, as the pub couldn’t be more aptly named. A low thatched roof sits on top of a traditional English pub, surrounded by greenery.
A warm glow comes through the small windows and the smell of food in the air makes it incredibly inviting on a cold winter day or evening. The inside of the Old Thatch is just as cosy and traditional as its exterior, with a warm fireplace and a large area for dining, as well as a comfortable seating area for those just having a drink.
While the surroundings shout ‘classic pub’, the menu has a different feel. And whilst the traditionalist foodie will certainly find something to suit their appetite, the Old Thatch also offers unique twists on traditional meals as well as new ones altogether.
Knowing how different our tastes are, I took my friend Louise with me. We arrived hungry and ready to enjoy a pub meal and were pleasantly surprised with the menu.
Choosing starters from their ‘Scrumptious Smaller Plates’ menu, we decided to go for king prawn and chorizo, pan fried in garlic lemon butter with pitta chips. The only aspect of the dish that was better than the presentation was the flavour. Served on slate with a side salad, the prawns and chorizo worked perfectly together. Even I, the pickiest eater when it comes to seafood, could have ordered a second plate.
Falafel skewers, yogurt, mint & cucumber dressing, hummus served with warm pita bread was equally delicious in a very different way. While the first dish was rich and full of powerful flavours, this plate, again served beautifully, was full of freshness, yet had more subtle characteristics. The falafel added a crispy element to the salad, while the addition of the hummus and pita made it a perfect start to an increasingly great meal.
With our appetites heightened, we were looking forward to the arrival of our mains. The first, from the ‘Bigger Plates’ menu arrived soon after: The Old Thatch 8oz gourmet beef and chorizo burger, smoked back bacon, Applewood cheese served on a pretzel bun with tomato and mixed leaves, homemade burger relish and gourmet chips.
The chorizo in the starters certainly influenced the order of the burger and it didn’t disappoint a second time. Two patties sat between tasty ingredients all held together in a pretzel bun. The bun was a refreshing change to the popular brioche bun that can’t be escaped in most restaurants at the moment.
Surprisingly the mouth-watering burger was not the star of the show: the chips stole the limelight. Perfectly seasoned and incredibly crispy while as chunky as chips can get, they could have been a dish all on their own.
My dining companion meanwhile was enjoying a slow roasted game casserole, roasted vegetables and garlic crushed new potatoes, or mash. While this dish was leaning more towards the classic type of meal you would normally find in a pub, it had elements that made it stand out. The meat fell apart and sat well next to fresh roasted veg, but it was the potatoes that added a twist.
Opting for mash, the potatoes came with a garlic edge and were the second type of potato of the evening that could have been served alone, and still have made a great meal.
Afterwards, we initially felt a bit too full to tackle dessert, but the menu certainly changed our minds. The ‘pudding faces’ menu wasn’t big but it had great sounding choices that took a moment to narrow down. Finally we opted for the Poached winter berry Eton mess and Chantilly cream and Baked ginger pudding with ginger glaze and salted caramel ice cream.
Similar to the dishes that came before them, the desserts were presented to look almost as good as they tasted. The Eton mess went down a treat with the tart berries cutting through the extremely sweet meringue.
The ginger cake and ice cream had a similar effect as the spiced cake was complemented by the cooling ice cream.
The recent improvements at the Old Thatch have lifted the pub into a new dimension, and word is getting out. We visited on Thursday night, and it was bustling with people, many taking part in the weekly quiz.
To enjoy the ambience of a classic pub, whilst eating a delicious meal from a creative menu, book your table at the Old Thatch.