As we all know, parenthood is a constant stream of sunny days, smiles and small boys behaving perfectly (ahem). We also know that, if young children are not fed in time, a small thermonuclear explosion occurs. I was therefore extremely grateful to discover The Dolphin starts serving food at 6pm. Hardly unique, but unusual, in these parts and I was therefore tempted to give some extra points for that alone. Fortunately I don’t have to hang this entire review on the time they turn the oven on as the food and service earned those all by themselves.
Unfortunately all the tables inside were reserved. This was a bit of a pain, but suggests those in the know make the appropriate arrangements to ensure they get their dinner! Fortunately it was of the few evenings during our week when it was okay to sit in the large garden, where we watched various groups play boules in the two courts provided – very civilised.
Most importantly, the bar. I was delighted to spot several local brews from Adnams (Broadside, Ghostship, Spindrift), Aspall cider and St Peter’s. I can’t vouch for all of them, but the Ghostship and the Broadside were excellent. One slight problem with the bar was the rather odd aroma, which was either the toilets or disinfectant from a rather overenthusiastic cleaner.
The children’s menu options differed from what the boys had decided (prior to looking at the menu, obviously) that they wanted. The staff were great in swapping options around to keep them happy, resulting in clean plates, happy kids and relaxed parents. The vegetarian option was a mushroom, spinach and goats cheese crumble. The filling was delicious, but the crumble could have done with being cooked a little more, leading one of our party to suggest it was “a bit like sand”. A shame really as it would otherwise have been an excellent dish. The meaty dishes (sausages: kids, what can I say?) were extremely good and the nosy glances at other tables (and their empty plates) suggested other diners were equally appreciative.
Puddings, included in the price of the children’s menu and around £5 otherwise, are proper hearty fare. The chocolate brownie was destroyed in seconds and the apple and berry crumble was excellent. Sadly these days, home-made custard is far from guaranteed and so its presence at The Dolphin merits a mention.
I would have been sorely disappointed to have had to slate The Dolphin as the East Anglian coast, and Thorpeness in particular, is one of my favourite parts of the country. If you’re looking for a proper seaside trip, you could do much worse. Full marks.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the unique seaside village of Thorpeness, the Dolphin Inn, a free house, has placed itself in the heart of the community. A short stroll takes you to miles of unspoilt Suffolk heritage coastline and we are a short distance from Minsmeare, a birding paradise hosting some of our rarest wildlife. The Dolphin has three well appointed four star bedrooms, a fantastic restaurant with an enthusiastic chef, a bar that dispensers a large variety of whiskeys, ales, has a superb wine list and boasts a large beer garden. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your The Dolphin Inn reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- The Dolphin Hotel Thorpeness
- The Dolphin Inn Thorpeness, Suffolk