Ralph Steadman did the logo, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall trained the chef, Martin Clunes and PJ Harvey like to pop in when they're in town. The Electric Palace cinema in Bridport has certainly come up in the world. The fleas are long gone and the 1920s auditorium sparkles with light.
The foyer has been converted into a brasserie, serving the best chips I've ever tasted - thin-cut and crispy. The vivid murals on the walls may be a bit Hilda Odgen, but at least they add to the period character. The Palace is like a genteel old lady who's got tiddly on violet liqueur and her hat has slipped, but she's keeping her little finger raised and having a glorious time.
If the ambience is pre-1945, the food is ultra-2007. Nothing is frozen, the bread is homemade, the salad is grown by Trish (the chef's mum), most of the fish is line-caught in nearby Lyme Bay and much of the meat is organic. My companion chose steak and chips and I had a delicious fresh pea and broad bean risotto. We drank Luscombe organic juice, but we could have plundered the brief but effective wine list, or sampled Bath Ale lager.
Venturing outside London has many benefits - going to individual, quirky places such as the Electric Palace is chief among them, and clients really appreciate the difference.
Where: 35 South Street, Bridport, Dorset
Contact: 01308 428354
How much: Course plus glass of wine, £10