The Dudsbury Country Club may sound like an exclusive member’s only venue, but it’s not - it’s a local gem that welcomes everyone.

The Dudsbury restaurant and pub in West Parley, still known to many as 20 on The River, re-opened as The Dudsbury Country Club back in June. The former pub was transformed into a stylish eaterie; the ground floor of the building has been stripped out to form a large, orangery-style restaurant and bar, with a lantern roof and bi-fold doors onto a new terrace.
It sits in a picturesque riverside setting of five acres and is now a place where visitors can eat, watch big name music acts and even indulge in a spot of fishing.

The project is the brainchild of Bournemouth-born music and entertainments promoter Paul Potter.
Paul explained: "I used to play and fish here when I was a boy and have great memories of the place. 

"When the chance came up to buy the pub it seemed only natural for me to make it somewhere totally unique for Bournemouth, where whole families could come, have great food and make full use of this amazing location.”

The Dudsbury Country Club restaurant offers guests a relaxed but luxurious place to eat at affordable prices, for lunch and dinner.

Head chef Ben Sabih has created an innovative new menu which reflects the seasons, with much of their food sourced from local fishermen and butchers. They also offer a new kid’s menu.

“I’ve been building up a great team of five chefs in the kitchen, all of whom are driven and competent. There are many creative minds in the kitchen and they’re all passionate about what they do which is great,” says Ben.

“It’s all about fresh, local food. Our produce is sourced within a 25 mile radius wherever possible to cut carbon footprint. We’re surrounded by farms and coast which is a chef’s dream,” enthuses Ben.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel - it’s about producing quality, fresh, seasonal food. You don’t need to play too much with it - if you work with the natural ingredients well you will get the best flavours at that time. Everything we have on the menu is made fresh.”

Having grown up in Wool, Dorset, Ben went on to train at Tylney Hall Hotel in Hampshire and Baskingstoke College of Technology.

“My Mum was a very good cook so we had lovely food at home when I was growing up. I enjoyed cooking but it wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to do. Then it became the obvious choice after school and the opportunity came up and the rest is history!

“I worked my way up in various kitchens progressing through the ranks. I tried to take in as much information as I could – I became a sponge and absorbed and learned through experience,” explains Ben.

“There are two types of people in this world I think; those who ‘live to eat’ and people who ‘eat to live’ - so if you target those people who ‘live to eat’ and create food that people love, it’s brilliant. They say a way to someone’s heart is through their stomach – everyone needs to eat but when you put a dish out there that gets great reviews and people say it’s fantastic, there’s nothing better than that.”

Ben adds: “My inspiration comes from eating; I try food that’s around me. I’m not naive to think everything I do is original but I try and expand dishes and see what people like. I’m a foodie and like to eat good food, experiment with it and hopefully deliver.”

Live music nights and special band nights run throughout the year. Stars that have performed since opening include Roy Ayers, The Three Degrees, The Sugar Hill Gang and Aswad. 

Signature Dish – Slow roasted pork belly
This scrumptious pork dish is included on the new winter menu.
Ben placed the pork in a roasting tray with cider and red wine, shallots, garlic and thyme and cooked in the oven at 180°C for 2 ½ hours.
This was allowed to cool - the roasted shallots and garlic were removed, blended and mixed through with the mash potato. 
Ben sliced the pork belly into portions and placed belly-side down into a pan with butter to sear and glaze. The whole pan was placed in the oven at 190°C for 8 minutes.
Ben then stuffed a sweet Cox apple with a black pudding mouse and roasted in the oven. 
To plate up, Ben piped the mash onto the dish, added the apple on the side, green cabbage and pork belly and rib. Finished with a coating of the red wine and cider gravy, braised with shallots, garlic and thyme, then topped with a crispy wedge of crackling. 

•    The Dudsbury Country Club, 218 Christchurch Road, West Parley, 01202 578911,