fork 'n' view

Until now, the site's most famous (most would say, infamous) incarnation was as Sophie's Fork 'n' View which opened in 1969. We have it on impeccable authority that the name was created when Sophie took her first look at the sights from the garden and exclaimed in broad franglais 'Look at the f***'n' view!' Everyone who dined there then (and they were legion) has a story to tell; about Sophie's dog Beaujolais (usually pronounced Booze-jolais it seems), her drooping, constant cigarette, the incredible waits for food to arrive, the resulting incredible drunkenness of the diners-turned-drinkers, her seminal influence on dining habits, of being 'bounced' for daring to ask when they would be fed, the car-park full of everything from Morris' to Rollers. The ABC filmed the restaurant for its "Big Country" documentary series. One can imagine why.

One diner reminisces:

"……it became obvious that Sophie's preference was to get all the entrees out of the way before proceeding to the main courses. One could pick the regulars who would wander off for a walk or bring out a pack of cards.

Everyone dreaded the appearance of late arrivals before the mains began to appear.

We remember stepping over the huge dog which blocked the hazardous route through Sophie's belongings to the toilet, a uni-sex affair in her bathroom."

In March 2003, Sophie revisited the site of her old Fork 'n' View for the first time since she left in 1986 to return to her native Brittany, and was very moved to find her old bedroom in use as a café, with the walls adorned with memorabilia from her time as the Madame of the Fork 'n' View.