Jeff Cooper samples the menu at this friendly Dartmoor restaurant
The Edgemoor Hotel, just outside Bovey Tracey on the way up to Dartmoor, is one of those places that evokes a feeling of another era. The beautiful Victorian building dates back to 1879 and as owner Simon Morten tells us, it was originally a school. We were warmly greeted, then led to the bar area to make our meal choices and enjoy some nibbles and a pre-dinner drink. This lounge area has a laid-back feel, with comfortable chairs, huge picture windows, a piano, Grandfather clock and an open fire - roaring away on the cold night we visited.
We couldn’t help imagining ourselves living here - what a sitting room this lounge would make, and wouldn’t it be a great place to hold parties... I expect that’s exactly what owner Simon thought when he took over the place a couple of years ago. “I want people to know that they are more than welcome here whether they just fancy a drink, or a snack during the day and that we are not just a restaurant to come to for that special occasion,” Simon says.
We were lucky enough to have the Edgemoor’s new chef Callum Tasker cooking for us and when we learnt he had come from The Elephant in Torquay, our expectations were raised. We were shown through to the dining room that has recently been refurbished. The decor featured patterned wallpaper, a muted colour scheme, modern lighting and crisp linen tablecloths. Warm bread was served to us on slate, with the seasoning laid out in a line of salt and a line of pepper. Attention to detail in the presentation of the dishes is key here.
I chose the beetroot and goats’ cheese salad that was a perfect combination of flavours, while my wife had the Dartmouth smokehouse salmon. The dishes came served on square glass plates and were dressed really well - a lovely mixture of colour and texture.
For the main course I chose the duo of local pheasant with sautéed chestnuts and forest mushrooms garnish and thyme-scented barley. It was really seasonal and full of earthy flavours - exactly the sort of ingredients you’d find out on a walk in the woods. My wife, the fish fanatic, had the pan-fried black bream which was soft and velvety in texture and couldn’t have been fresher. The capers in the dressing of this dish worked really well too.
If you are not sure what to have for dessert then try the Edgemoor Taster dish, which consists of five ‘mini’ versions of the desserts on the menu. We chose to share this and sampled the sherry trifle, sticky toffee pudding (my favourite), Cambridge burnt cream, ice cream and raspberry and almond clafoutis (my wife’s favourite). It again was expertly presented on a long glass dish, sprinkled with popping candy (I hope Callum isn’t offended when I say this came a close second to the my favourite dessert!)
Having experienced the formal dining side of the Edgemoor, we can’t wait to pay this friendly place another visit, sample the bistro menu and relax in the wonderful lounge with its roaring log fire.
Published 21 December 2010
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