FANS of TE Lawrence and excellent home baking have a double treat at Moreton Tea Rooms – the delicious cakes at the award-winning tea rooms are displayed on the bier on which Lawrence of Arabia’s body was carried to the funeral at nearby St Nicholas Church with its beautiful engraved windows by Laurence Whistler.
Moreton Tea Rooms, run by chef Gordon Sutherland and his wife Kate for the past six years, is a byword for great food in charming surroundings. Three years running, from 2009 to 2011, Gordie and Kate won the Best Tea Room award in the Taste of Dorset Awards, at the time the most prestigious food awards in the county.
They have also won awards from Taste of the West and South West Tourism, and plaudits and accolades from countless customers who come back again and again for lunch, tea and supper served in the rustic setting of the former village school, which closed in 1967.
Gordie is committed to sourcing as many ingredients as possible from the immediate locality and the region and the menu always has a strong seasonal feel, reflecting the availability of vegetables, sustainably sourced fish and game in season.
When we went earlier in the summer, the lunch menu included a seasonal soup of the day, home made roast vegetable, lentil and Capricorn goats cheese pasty with salad, Dorset Blue Vinny and mushroom frittata, Chesil Smokery smoked duck caesar salad, home-made burger with caramelised onion marmalade and hand-cut chips and pressed ham hock with free range egg and chips.
There is always a selection of sinful puddings – and those wonderful cakes, of course.
Gordie describes his style as “rustic, warming and hearty” – just the thing if you are hiking or cycling along the Frome valley or over to the Purbecks, or taking a short break from a busy working day.
It is not the easiest place to find but the TE Lawrence connection ensures a steady year-round stream of pilgrims to Moreton and whether you use a real map or trust to satnav you will be glad you turned off the main road to Wareham or Dorchester to spend a pleasant couple of hours in this charming historic tea rooms.
Contact Moreton Tea Rooms on 01929 463647 or visit the website www.moretontearooms.co.uk