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Meet the chef: Jake Swain, The Station Kitchen, West Bay

Jake Swain (centre) with some of The Station Kitchen team. (Photo: Supplied by The Station Kitchen)
Jake Swain (centre) with some of The Station Kitchen team. (Photo: Supplied by The Station Kitchen)

Located at the former West Bay railway station, within minutes' walk of the rippling golden cliffs that provided the backdrop for the ITV series Broadchurch, this award-winning family venture started as a catering business before they created this unique dining location featuring the dog friendly Station House (the former waiting room), two railway carriages – Brunel dating from 1911 and used as a mobile hospital in France during the First World War, and Beeching built in 1958. A recent addition is The Ticket Office offering Neapolitan style wood fired gourmet pizzas. Jake Swain heads up the kitchen team.

Who inspired you to become a chef?

I’ve always had an interest in cooking. My older brother, who is also a chef, helped spark this passion in me. Another inspiration in those early days was Rick Stein, I really admire him. As a teenager I worked in a few Dorset pubs as a kitchen porter. My first proper chef job was at a lovely little restaurant in the village where I grew up, I then went on to study catering at Weymouth College. From there I landed a job at The Station Kitchen where, over the years, I worked alongside some amazing chefs who helped to boost my skill set and knowledge.

So what's on the menu at the moment?

Being so close to the sea inspires a lot of dishes. I love to showcase fresh, local, seasonal produce, whether it’s hand dived Lyme Bay scallops or a whole roasted on the bone fish of the day, what this is depends on what the fishermen have landed. With autumn upon us, there are a lot more game dishes on our menu, such as Dartmoor venison and Creedy Carver duck. We also have some imaginative dishes for vegan and vegetarian diners. Our Station Kitchen Penang Railway Curry comes in meat, fish and vegan options. Our Locals Lunch & Dinner Menu offers a delicious and affordable meal (2 or 3 courses £19/£25) currently on there is a West Bay crab starter, Dartmoor venison bangers and nduja mash and roasted pumpkin risotto. We are famous for our Sunday roasts with all the trimmings in meat, fish and vegan options. Our duck fat roasties are legendary!

And for dessert...

We have two signature desserts that people come back to time and time again. Our seasonal cheesecake – currently baked Dorset apple crumble cheesecake, and Abbie’s beef suet sticky toffee pudding with Dorset cream custard.

What’s on the Ticket Office menu?

This has been designed and produced by the insanely talented Matty, he is a pizza master. Over 12 years he has perfected his gourmet pizza recipes, all handmade from scratch and cooked to perfection in a wood-fired pizza oven. The toppings are out of this world: Truffle Shuffle has garlic roasted portobello mushrooms and truffles, White Lines combines goats cheese, bacon and beetroot ailoi, and Leekomotive features a leek fondue with cider sauce and Dorset blue cheese and pancetta. There’s also a vegan option.

Tell me about some of the special events here?

The most popular event is the Murder Mystery dinners, a whodunnit with actors and a three-course meal and drinks, they always sell out really fast. We also hosted the wrap party for the cast and crew of the ITV series Broadchurch, which was filmed here, so we’ve had a few well-known names dine here. We are a fully licensed wedding venue as well, seating up to 100 guests for dining.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Being head chef of an incredible funky venue, which steers away from the norm of formal dining restaurants. This and the freedom to create seasonal dishes using the best local ingredients. I also enjoy working with a great team at The Station Kitchen. They give their all every day to ensure diners have a great experience here.

Find out more and book at thestationkitchen.co.uk



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