The Nelson Tavern
Chinese and East Asian
As well as for smugglers (although not so much these days), Mudeford is a magnet for water-sport enthusiasts and fishermen, and, more and more, for fans of Pan Asian food - thanks to the fantastic hospitality of its local pub, The Nelson Tavern. This pub is a truly spectacular feat in fusion dining. An authentic Thai restaurant is concealed within its walls, alongside a wonderfully traditional bar area; some hearty, comforting British fare is served up too. The pub's charming, historic exterior conceals an interior that is very much up to date. Since taking on The Nelson Tavern, Peter Lyon has transformed it into an elegant, contemporary eating and drinking venue.
The large traditional bar offers a fantastic range of real ales, which has earned it Cask Marque accreditation, and the spirits and wines on offer are enough to impress the most discerning drinker. The bar area is vibrant and welcoming, with screens showing all the important sporting events and a programme of regular live music in the evenings and afternoons. Take a few steps away from the bar and into the spacious Pacific 23 restaurant, and you'll be whisked away from traditional Dorset and plunged into the aromas and flavours of Thailand. Here you'll find a subtle Asian ambience and elegant decor, tables neatly laid with linen tablecloths, candles and fresh flowers, setting the mood for a sophisticated meal. Sip on a refreshing Thai beer as you peruse the Asian menu, which features over 70 individual dishes, or choose from a separate menu offering appetising British dishes for those who wish to stay a little closer to home.
The Nelson Tavern really makes the most of Dorset's fantastic produce, especially the fresh fish provided by its abundant waters. The fresh catch of the day depends on the season and availability, and might be succulent sea bass or sea trout. Locally caught lobster is available when in season, and kept fresh and 'aggressive', according to Peter, in a seawater tank, where it can be handpicked by diners. If you're stuck for what to choose, the friendly and efficient staff are only too willing to help with explanations of what is available and how it can be cooked, using traditional British or Oriental methods.
Amazingly, The Nelson also specialises in fabulous Dorset cream teas; over 50 teas from around the globe are available for the most refined mid-afternoon experience. You might like to enjoy these in the lovely, large, south-facing walled garden, which provides plenty of seating and a heated smoking area. The Nelson also offers a takeaway service, available seven days a week, with a fully licensed waiting area and dedicated parking bays in the car park. It really couldn't be easier to have a piece of this Dorset dining gem for yourself - don't miss out.