Set in the grounds of the beautiful Dog Farm Estate, Dog House was built in 1822 and was formally a pub for the local farmers.Today, Liz, Chris and their 2 boys have lovingly restored the Grade II listed building and have converted part of the building into their restaurant.
How it all began…..
We’d finally received sign-off for our garage conversion so that we could transform the draughty and unused space into an all-singing-all-dancing gym and games room / den for Chris and the boys. So, we decided to invite our long-suffering friends over for dinner to celebrate – after all, they listened to us talking about it for months. It was over a main course of roasted butternut squash risotto and chicken stuffed with sundried tomatoes and parmesan butter, that Tara announced we really ought to be cooking for other people and charging for it. Alas, the games room / den that poor Chris had dreamt of for so long got shelved yet again as the conversation to create a pop-up restaurant in the old garage heated up.
Unlike Chris, I wasn’t entirely convinced that the idea would work as a commercial concern. I did however think it would make a great fund-raising scheme for our local village school. I put the idea to the school committee, who readily agreed to it. I then discovered that our small group of fellow parents and committee members had lots of additional great ideas and skills to make the event happen.
On 22nd June we opened the patio doors of what used to be the garage and welcomed 19 fellow parents and friends for a five course meal consisting of 14 different dishes. Despite one of the baked Camembert starters literally exploding inside the oven and the smoke alarm going off in the kitchen at one point, we managed to send out 90 plates of well-presented and well-received food, with a stream of empty dishes being returned to the kitchen. When I finally left the kitchen to say thank you to everyone for coming, the praise for the food, atmosphere and first class service was humbling. This, coupled with a very smug “I told you so” from Tara and requests from our diners for an encore, convinced me that perhaps a pop-up restaurant was a good idea. On an even more personal note, the heady buzz of putting together a menu, recipe-testing (with no end of fantastic helpers), debates with fellow foodies and the thrill of cooking for so many people, had proved too addictive to resist anytime soon.