We love searching out new restaurants and pubs to recommend to our Woodlands Holidays' guests and we've got a fantastic new addition to our 'Where to Eat' list - The Bittescombe Inn, in Upton.
Just a 15-minute drive from Dulverton, The Bittescombe Inn has been superbly renovated to offer not only a much-loved local pub, but also a gorgeous dining room where you can enjoy expertly cooked and well-presented produce from the Bittescombe Estate and other top local suppliers.
Surprisingly, the kitchen is led by a Frenchman, Olivier Certain, who is really now a local Exmoor boy having worked for over 20 years in the South West's top gastro pubs. Olivier creates delicious and beautifully presented gastro plates, pub classics and bar snacks, plus the traditional Sunday Roast - all using the best seasonal and local produce.
The wine list has been carefully curated by local connoisseur William Sitwell, the Telegraph restaurant critic, Master Chef judge and host of the Sitwell Supper Club. Whilst for non-wine drinkers the main bar and garden bar offer nine beers and ciders, an extensive range of spirits and a cocktail menu.
We started our evening with a drink in the beautifully restored bar, which features a massive fireplace and many old books.
In the dining room you can choose to sit in one of the stylish booths, decked out with horsey paraphanelia from the tack room or the main area which features lovely artworks and lighting. There is also a semi-private dining room with a long table if you are organising a bigger party of people.
We kicked-off with a super tasty starter of Devon wild mushrooms with parmesan cream on sourdough toast (£9). We then tried two main courses: the braised haunch of Bittescombe Estate venison & roasted loin, creamed potatoes, butternut squash with red wine sauce (£25) and the 10 oz Flat Iron steak, chips, dressed garden leaves, green peppercorn, tarragon & mustard butter (£25). The venison was the best I have ever eaten - tender, full of flavour with a rich sauce and Bill was more than happy with his steak.
We made sure to leave room for pudding and shared the Luker Colombian chocolate mousse, Cornish seasalt, Cap d’Abeille virgin olive oil, banana ice cream - which was completely delicious with complementary flavours, the perfect level of sweetness and an exquisite end to the meal.
I hope the photos do our meal justice! We enjoyed the best possible food and drink all served in a stylish, sophisticated yet traditional setting that was warm and cosy, but felt special. Plus the front-of-house staff were excellent. We hope you also have a great experience if you make it to The Bittescombe Inn. Details of the kitchen/restaurant opening times below. The pub has longer opening hours.
Tel: 01398 388344
(Correct November 2023)
Wednesday to Saturday