Buckland Tout Saints Restaurant
Tucked in its own valley in South Devon, surrounded by four acres of grounds, Buckland Tout-Saints is a 16th-century manor house that combines traditional charm with contemporary facilities and comfort.
Tucked in its own valley, surrounded by four acres of grounds, Buckland Tout-Saints is a 16th-century manor house that combines traditional charm with contemporary facilities and comfort. Various families made it their home for more than 300 years before it first became a hotel in 1956; now part of Sir Peter Rigby’s Eden Hotel Collection, it has been extensively refurbished and restyled, celebrating the links with the past. Many of the rooms have original fireplaces and plasterwork ceilings, and one set of conveniences is particularly interesting. “I’ve had a number of requests from guests to purchase them!” says General Manager Gemma Balaam, laughing.
“Modern, with one foot in the past,” is how Head Chef Ted Ruewell describes his food, referring to the stylish contemporary presentation of top-quality local ingredients cooked in the tried-and-tested ways. “Pan-frying, roasting, baking – these methods are true to the ingredients and are the best way to bring out all the flavours,” he says. “You won’t find any water-baths here.”
Dishes are simple and unpretentious, with each ingredient playing its part perfectly, no single element shouting its presence over the rest. My starter of pork belly with lentil cassoulet was a tremendous opener, the fat rendered beautifully to create a little pillow of porcine heaven; Stuart’s mackerel tasted so fresh – as if it had leapt straight from the sea onto his plate – the sweet ratatouille dressing teasing out the briny elegance of the fish.
My main course plaice was similarly impressive, the flesh pearlescent under light crispiness, with plump mussels and dark green cabbage bathed in creaminess. Pink and tender, Stuart’s roast duck was a springy treat, reinforcing the importance of honest ingredients cooked with the confidence to let the flavours speak for themselves.
“We pride ourselves on complete traceability from field to plate,” says Gemma, explaining the sourcing policy at Buckland Tout-Saints. “It’s also about knowing what’s around,” says Ted, “being out and about, talking to people and finding out what they’re growing.”
The menu changes every day, evolving with the season and reflecting the best of what’s fresh. Served in the faithfully restored restaurant, complete with original Russian pine panelling and portraits of the house’s former owners, the food echoes the elegance of the setting perfectly.
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The attention to detail that makes Buckland Tout-Saints such a great place to dine extends across the board. The team recently saw off 40 competitors to win the award for best customer service across South Devon, and during the heavy snow at the beginning of December, guests were reassured that if their departure was affected by weather conditions, they could stay on free of charge.
And here’s a treat for those of you planning a special Valentine’s evening out: mention Devon Life when you book dinner on 12, 13 or 14 February, and you’ll get a free glass of Prosecco. BELINDA DILLON
Sample Menu Starters
Slow-cooked belly of pork, braised lentil and herb cassoulet
Grilled Cornish mackerel with warm ratatouille dressing
Ham hock terrine, celeriac remoulade, quince pur�e
Roast duck breast, fondant potato, braised red cabbage, green peppercorn cream
Pan-fried plaice, saut�ed potatoes, creamed cabbage, mussel velout�
Slow-cooked shin of beef, rosti potatoes, roasted root vegetables, red wine jus
Dark chocolate marquise with rum & raisin ice cream
Glazed lemon tart with marinated raspberries
Warm apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream
Buckland Tout-Saints Hotel, Goveton, Kingsbridge TQ7 2DS
01548 853055, tout-saints.co.uk
General Manager: Gemma Balaam
Head Chef: Ted Ruewell
Dinner: two courses, �29; three courses, �37. Wine from �18.50