In 2009, The Stable* was born into a converted former outbuilding in Bridport, Dorset. Fast forward to 2018 and they now have seventeen different locations, each offering their own menu with a real focus on locally sourced ingredients. They pride themselves on their vegan friendly menu so whether you`re a meat eater or a veggie, there is something for everyone. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Stable so when I was invited by Sotonbloggers to head in and try out their Ultimate Cider Tasting Experience – I could hardly say no!
At the Stable they are all about the pizza, pies and cider, offering a simple yet finger licking good menu. Inspired by West Country dishes, each restaurant sources prime local ingredients from the finest producers in the region to create their unique and flavoursome dishes. Everything is hand made from scratch from the organic sourdough pizza bases to the fresh tomato sauce! The Stable has a real focus of bringing people together which is reflected in its interiors. Long communal tables and open kitchens encourage sharing and conversation and their new menu saw them launch even more dishes great for sharing among friends this Summer.
When it comes to cider, my knowledge is very limited. I was partial to a couple of cans of Strongbow back in my teenage days but that’s pretty much as far as my knowledge extends. Nowadays I usually opt for the sugary, sweet delights of Rekorderlig and Koppaberg because I am far from adventurous when it comes to drinking and I like to stick to what I know. Over the afternoon we got the chance to experience 10 different varieties during our cider tasting while our Cider Master Ellie talked us through the tasting notes and details of each one.
Each Stable location offers over 80 different types of cider including locally sourced, single variety, fruity, still and sparkling. They have even launched their own Stable brew Rapscallion which is more on the dry side but delicious none the less. During our cider tasting we had the opportunity to try out a single variety, fruity blush, 50/50 blend featuring hops and even a flavoured cider infused with stinging nettles. We rated each cider out of 10 based on appearance, aroma and taste with Rapscallion coming up as a firm favourite on my list. Ellie really knew her stuff and it was interesting to find out the different flavours, processes and ingredients that went into every different drink we tried. I was pleasantly surprised and I can’t wait to go back and try out even more of the ciders they have to offer.
Alongside the cider tasting we had the chance to sample some of the menu starting with the stix and dips and the Charcuterie & Cheese Boards. The sourdough bread sticks were utterly divine and the beetroot hummus was to die for, I could have eaten the whole pot and then some! Halfway through we had a pizza break to line our stomachs and make sure we didn’t get too tipsy for 3pm on a Sunday. I opted for The Pilgrim Pecker which featured free-range chicken, roasted red & yellow peppers, field mushrooms and oregano. The pizza was one of the best I have had it’s just a shame I had filled up on too much bread and hummus beforehand. Afterwards we were treated to the brownies although I didn’t have any room left to try one. After hearing all the girls raving about them, especially how good the vegan ice cream was, I definitely plan to head back and try one out for myself.
The stable offer three different cider tasting classes depending on what you`re looking for. Strictly Cider is £15 per head and lasts for 60 minutes during which you get to try 10 of their best ciders with cheese and crackers to compliment the experience. You can upgrade to the Cider and Supper experience which includes the entire Strictly Cider class with a pizza thrown in at the halfway mark for £22.50 per person. Or you can go all out and have the Ultimate Cider Experience for £30 per person which last for 150 minutes and is tailored to your individual group.
Overall, the whole afternoon was a wonderful introduction to cider and really allowed us to explore the different tastes, aromas and flavours which I had no idea about. Ellie really opened up my eyes to the world of cider and I will definitely be exploring my new found love even more this Summer. I can’t wait to head back to sample what else they have to offer and devour some of that beetroot hummus all over again. If you`re heading into a Stable anytime soon make sure you download the app where you can order from your table and you will receive 20% off your food bill!