Meet the Trencherman’s Awards 2023 winners: Crab House Cafe

Take a dive into Dorset’s Crab House Cafe, winner of the award for Best Front of House Team at the prestigious Trencherman’s Awards 2023

Award won: Best Front of House Team

Grand finalists: Hooked on the Rocks, Falmouth; Millside, Lyme Regis; The Dartmoor Inn, Lydford

Award presented by: Churchill China (event partner)

The reaction

Crab House Cafe owner Nigel Bloxham was delighted to achieve the accolade, and explained how he is ensuring staff are valued and well looked after: ‘I’m absolutely over the moon. We’ve been involved with Trencherman’s almost since it started, and I like the awards even more now we’ve won one! It’s putting the South West on a pedestal. We have great food, great chefs and great front-of-house teams.

He went on to explain measures he takes to ensure his staff feel valued and well looked after: ‘Our mission this year is to try and get the hours down, so staff can have the occasional weekend evening off. This year we took the decision not to work Bank Holiday Mondays so the staff could go out on a Sunday night without having to worry about coming in the next morning.’

General manager Darren Roberts added: ‘I’m absolutely made up, just so proud of the team. We’ve managed to make everyone’s hours work for them and the business, and to thrive and do well.’

seafood spread at the crab house cafe

The lowdown

Overlooking Dorset’s famed Chesil Beach, Crab House Cafe is a rustic and laid-back setting where visitors can feast on seafood plucked from the ocean just metres away.

Sustainability is of the utmost importance to owner Nigel Bloxham (who previously supplied fish to Keith Floyd). He works closely with local fishermen to source seafood from the surrounding waters, which is usually served the day it’s caught. Skate wing, sea bass, lemon sole, gurnard, john dory and plaice are just a taste of what’s to be discovered on the day’s specials board.

Whole Portland brown crab is served simply with dressed salad and mayo, leaving the delicate meat to do all the talking. Arguably the star of the show here, however, are the oysters. Crab House Cafe has its own oyster farm just a short paddle from the restaurant, so the prized bivalves are fresh, plump and ready to be slurped au naturel.

Should you feel overwhelmed by the expansive menu, the stellar staff will steer you in the right direction. Whatever you choose, Dorset’s Bride Valley Chardonnay makes a marvellous match for almost everything on the menu.

Want to discover more fabulous places to eat across the South West? Pick up a copy of the 31st edition of the Trencherman’s Guide here.

The Trencherman’s Awards evening was supported by:

Churchill ChinaDoleFrobishersHallgarten and Novum WinesMatthew StevensGibbins Quality MeatsThe ECO LaundryPKF Francis ClarkSalt MediaSharp’s BrewerySW660


march, 2024


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