SITUATED on Oakley Hill just on the outskirts of Wimborne is The Willett Arms which has just reopened its doors after a makeover.

Although it looks like a fine dining restaurant, it has the cosy feel of a country pub.

There were three of us dining for lunch the day after it reopened, plus a dog, so we sat in the bar area with our four legged friend who was welcomed with dog treats from the staff.

We were delighted with our location on comfy bar stools near a roaring fire.

The menu is extremely varied with a choice of seven 'Nibbles & Share' options.

We were given pastry, chip style nibbles whilst we made our starter choices; scallops of the day with crushed pea and pancetta, a curried sweet potato soup and deep-fried Somerset brie with apricot and cumin chutney.

The soup had just the right amount of heat, the scallops were cooked to perfection and my friend's choice of deep-fried brie gave me 'diner's envy'.

For main course there were seven sandwich and salad choices plus an additional 17 main courses and if that wasn't enough – four pizza options as well as a multitude of side orders.

I was tempted to try the fillet steak with an ale-glazed shallot tart topped with Cropwell Bishop custard, Stilton and walnut crumb and twice-cooked chunky chips but instead I opted for the healthier option of a sticky crispy duck salad (£12.50 for a large portion or£8.50 for small) which was perfect for lunch.

It was a lovely mixture of tastes and textures: cucumber, spiralized mooli and carrot, toasted sesame seeds with a plum, hoisin and sweet chilli sauce.

The other two diners went for the home-made smoked haddock and horseradish fishcakes with poached egg, spinach and hollandaise. They were not disappointed. The poached egg was perfectly looked, just the amount of run on the yolk and the fish cakes perfectly crispy on the outside with the right balance of haddock and potato. Despite an incredibly busy restaurant, the food was faultless.

We opted for soft drinks as we were driving, but the drinks menu looked inviting. A variety of champagne and Prosecco by the glass, cocktails, an extensive wine list as well as a great choice of draught beers, ciders and cask ales.

The service here was warm and friendly. We will definitely be back soon.


Scallops of the Day £10.50

Sticky Crispy Duck Salad £12.50 (large portion – small portion was available at £ 8.50)

Fixed Price Menu Meal Deals (2 diners opted for this)

Soup of the Day, followed by the home-made Smoked Haddock and Horseradish Fishcake £11.95

Deep-fried Somerset brie, followed by the home-made Smoked Haddock and Horseradish Fishcake £11.95