Fine dining, great ambience and an ideal location for boaters. Phil Sampson reports from Weymouth’s Les Enfants Terribles, an eatery that has it all…
Once in a while you discover a restaurant you’d like to shout about from the rafters. Then on second thoughts, you’d rather selfishly like to keep it to yourself for fear of never getting a table there again.
Les Enfants Terribles, situated on the quayside a step or two from Weymouth’s Harbour Master, is one such venue. Discreet, understated and serving a predominately seafood menu to die for, the place is a dream.
The man responsible for realising this particular reverie is chef Eric Tavernier, a born-and-bred Frenchman who learnt his trade in Lille and whose CV includes spells working as personal chef to Rupert Murdoch and the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi.
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Eric has also run a number of restaurants in London, but it was in the French Alps that our story has its origins. Eric was employed at the upmarket Mont Blanc hotel in Megève, whose restaurant goes by the name of Les Enfants Terribles.
In creating his UK version, Eric applied the culinary skills and values of quality and service he gained in Megève and around the world.
As regular readers of these reviews will know, over lockdown we sought restaurant recommendations from MBY forum users. Having visited Les Enfants Terribles in 2019, it came as no surprise to see its name put forward by several forum users, who couldn’t have been more effusive.
For anyone with a taste for fish, I would go as far as saying I think it would be very difficult to come away from Les Enfants Terribles disappointed.
It may have been a while ago, but both Mrs S and I remember the experience as impeccable from start to finish, with beautiful fresh produce cooked, presented and served with utmost care.
We very much appreciated the saloon’s relaxed bistro-like feel, and a special touch was that Eric appeared front of house two or three times during the evening to personally check everyone was happy.
We both made mental notes to return as soon as possible. In the event, the weather turned and we were forced into an unplanned extended stay in the town’s marina.
We decided to try for a second visit to the restaurant but – sacré bleu et zut alors – word must have already leaked out because the place was rammed for the rest of the week.
A second mental note was made to return the following year, but the pandemic got in the way. As I write, we are hoping it will be third time lucky – Eric is on standby to expect our call!
Getting there by boat
From the west, Weymouth requires you to round Portland Bill, and from the east, there’s the gauntlet of the Lulworth Firing Ranges to run – so in terms of hazards, take your pick! Once safely into Weymouth Bay, the harbour is entered between two piers.
Moorings are available in the harbour channel but many visitors will stay upriver of Town Bridge. Smaller craft can squeeze under at low tide, but larger vessels have to wait for the bridge to lift every two hours. Contact the Harbour Master on Ch 12 for full details.
Cost: £100 for two, based on a three-course dinner and a bottle of wine. Lunch for two, again with wine, comes in at around £70.
Times: Varies by season, check website for current information.
Verdict: Despite its name, there is nothing terrible about this restaurant, just the opposite in fact. And, despite its name again, children are welcome – they even have their own menu.
Contact: 01305 772270; www.les-enfants-terribles.co.uk