First-rate service and fine food in the historic surroundings of a converted Victorian school room
The Edgemoor Country House Hotel and Restaurant sits between Bovey Tracey and Haytor. It is ideally situated for walkers and I have to report that it is a fantastic place to visit.
The Edgemoor used to be Bovey Tracey Grammar School. We were put off going there for many years as there was a big printed sign outside ironically saying 'No children' and we had two young ones at the time. The current owner arrived four years ago and took the sign down the same day. It is now a welcome refuge for parents, dogs and children.
We were led to a large wooden bar in a grand room with high ceilings and plush furnishings. The staff were impeccably polite and the aperitifs served (vodka and tonic with ice and lemon, plus a hot Luscombe ginger beer with ice and lime) were perfect. Notably, the wine by the glass had almost no mark up from the bottle price – a big tick in my book.
All was calm, modern and relaxed in the Library Restaurant. I noticed that some customers had ordered from the à la carte menu and some from the bar menu, and both were regarded as acceptable. All dishes looked appealing.
When I ventured to the ladies, I was struck by the noise just outside – there was a Ladies Pamper Party being held in a room nearby for the local school's PTA (room hire free of charge). It was heaving and full of giggles. I hope they had a fun evening – it was so nice that a restaurant full of diners and a party could co-exist and not interfere with each other.
My food was wonderful – well cooked, fresh and piping hot; so hot that it made us quite relaxed that we did not have to tuck in quickly before it cooled down. I didn't wish for anything fussy so I started with the pan-fried salmon salad with two beautiful poached quails' eggs. I then chose the steak pie, which was marked as a special – the surprise being it had a top and bottom (rare these days). It was very tasty, the meat was tender and well cooked and the price was reasonable too at £11.95.
My partner was in a black pudding mood (maybe I should learn to cook it?) and had three juicy scallops with pea puree, black pudding rounds and crispy pancetta to start. This was a riot of flavour, texture and colour, all nicely complementing each other. He then had crispy pork belly, served with... once again black pudding and vegetables. The black pudding was very good and wasn't served in an 'over-the-top' way.
The desserts were appealing too. My husband's frangipane and fig tart with vanilla ice cream was superb – the tart was served lukewarm and was just the right texture. The waiter admitted it was his favourite dessert – I like it when they do that! I chose the crêpes with sweet, caramelised mandarins and honeycomb ice cream.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening, where we experienced meticulous service and good food in a fine setting.
Published 1 May 2013
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