Food & Drink

Published: July 31, 2022 | Updated: July 31, 2022

Standing ovation as new restaurant opens in Dorchester’s historic Judge Jeffreys building

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A new Dorchester restaurant opened its doors to the sound of rapturous applause.

Al Molo Dorchester, Ristorante Di Pesce, located in the historic Judge Jeffreys Lodging House on Dorchester’s High West Street, has welcomed its first diners.

It’s Co-owners Giuseppe Vannucci and Tim Newton’s second restaurant and builds on the success of their award-winning Al Molo Weymouth, sited on the Pier Bandstand.

The restaurateurs, pictured, have spent seven months refurbishing the listed 17th century building.

They have worked sympathetically to restore the original features, previously hidden by years of paint and neglect, and invested heavily in re-establishing the distinctive architecture of the building.

Tim said: “It is humbling to work with a building with such a rich heritage and importance in the town.

“However, with the amount of work that needed to be done, and Giuseppe’s treatment for cancer, we had to put back the opening date.

“With Giuseppe on the mend, we were able to take the time to respect the integrity of this historic building.

“Stripping back the years of neglect has taken months.

“But it’s been worth the hard work to restore stunning features, sympathetically design the interiors and refurbish outdated infrastructure to reveal a new, functional and rather beautiful setting to enjoy good food.

“The fireplace was coated in layers of thick paint with areas of damaged stone and years of grime.

“It is gratifying to see it restored to its original glory and it looks stunning.”

The restaurant’s decor now has a contemporary edge, complementing the original features, coupled with a new, modern commercial kitchen.

Meanwhile Giuseppe, who is Head Chef, has created a new menu with a strong focus on the bounty from local seas combined with traditional Italian cuisine.

He said: “The fish from our local waters is second to none and I have been developing these menus over a number of years in readiness for the perfect setting to serve them.

“They combine the fresh taste of our seas with traditional Italian cuisine.

“It is a pleasure to bring these new dishes, together with my new vegetarian and meat options, to the table in a setting which complements the quality of the produce.”

Al Molo Dorchester is already going down well.

Dorchester Mayor, Cllr Janet Hewitt, said: “This new restaurant is a most welcome addition to the High West Street, not only because it has saved a historic asset in our town from further neglect and is creating more employment opportunities, but also for bringing a quality dining experience celebrating local produce to our doorstep.”

Sandra Jordan, of Jordan Jewellers Dorchester, added: “The menu is an absolute delight.

“My favourite was the seared scallops and the sea bass fillets, sautéed garlic spinach and raspberry radish.

“Perfectly balanced, and an explosion of flavour.”

For those wishing to work in the restaurant industry, Al Molo has hospitality roles available.

It’s urging those who are returning to the workplace, have just left school or who are looking for a move to showcase their skills, to get in touch.

Tim said: “As we ramp up business we will be creating further employment opportunities and urge those looking for work in this fast paced and rewarding industry to get in touch now.

“We offer flexible hours, a friendly environment and fantastic training for those looking to work in our prestigious restaurants.”

Al Molo Dorchester Ristorante Di Pesce (fish) is open for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm with last orders at 9.00pm.

It is open for lunch, Wednesday to Saturday 12pm to 2.30pm and Sunday 11am to 3.30pm.

More details and bookings at almolodorchester.co.uk/