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Restaurants: James Pebroke reviews The Square and Compass, The Salt Pig, and Parabola

Pursuits | By James Pembroke

‘I’ve just been to the most amazing pub in Dorset,’ they’ll say conspiratorily. As if they’ve found a second Sutton Hoo. I’ve long given up listening to the ensuing eulogy about how a remote pub on the cli s near Swanage is ‘completely unchanged’. I now just interrupt them: ‘It’s the Square and Compass, in Worth Matravers.’ I reassure them it’s everyone’s favourite secret. Yet there’s no taking away from it: it is quite simply the best pub in England, without making any effort whatsoever. Of course, it’s the very lack of e ort that has won us all over. The Newman family have been its landlords for the past 110 years and, apart from the arrival of a dishwasher, nothing has changed since Augustus John summered there in the Thirties; and nor will it, since Charlie Newman, 54, is himself timeless. It’s one of the last non-gastro pubs. Neither menu...

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