Meet the Chef at The Five Dials Inn

Somerset Life meets Kirsty Earnshaw, Head Chef at The Five Dials Inn, Horton, a freshly refurbished pub at the foot of the Blackdowns, fast gaining a reputation for seasonal food in <br/>a friendly atmosphere

How long have you worked at the restaurant? I took the position of Head Chef prior to the re-opening of the pub in November last year. Where have you worked previously?I trained at the Shrubbery Hotel before joining the original team at Square One Brasserie and, more recently, the award-winning Lord Poulett Arms.What are your food philosophies?My food philosophy is to keep it simple. Using the best of local produce, I look for clean presentation and good flavours and just let the food speak for itself.Where is your favourite place to eat in Somerset? After a stressful day I tend to go for comfort food. I like a curry, and Viceroy in Yeovil would be my choice. I like to try a new dish each time, but am particularly fond of chicken madras.What inspires you about living and working in Somerset?  I like the central location, everything you need is on the doorstep. We are just outside Ilminster and have access to some great local produce, particularly game at this time of year. What would you like to achieve at the restaurant? To maintain the high standard we have achieved this year but I am always looking to improve and I hope to achieve a rosette in the near future. What is your favourite dish on the menu and why?I love the Pork belly, it is always my favourite dish to cook. I prepare it in the afternoon so I can serve it straight to the plate. I like the different textures in the dish and the spiced plums complement the richly flavoured pork perfectly. What is your perfect Christmas lunch?To be honest, by Christmas I have usually had enough of turkey! My favourite Christmas lunch would be roast rib of beef followed by a nice selection of cheeses and a few bottles of port!What local beverages would you recommend in particular (alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic)?My favourite drink is Thatchers Gold Cider, and Otter Ale – brewed in nearby Luppitt – is also very popular. We also stock Burrow Hill cider and cider brandy from Kingsbury Episcopi, which I often use in my dishes.

Sample MenuStartersSlow-roasted tomato and thyme tart with Dorset Blue Vinney, olive oil and rocketPressed confit of duck and pheasant terrine, orange and red onion marmalade and walnut breadHouse-cured gravlax, fennel and orange salad and honey and mustard dressingMain coursesPan-fried venison steak, potato rosti and sloe gin sauceSlow-roasted pork belly with spiced plums and root veg mashBaked whole sea bass with roasted garlic, chilli olive oil and rosemaryDessertsPassion fruit parfait with macerated raspberriesCardamon and orange cr�me br�l�eChocolate brownie with black cherry and Kirsh ice cream

The Five Dials Inn, Goose Lane, Horton, Somerset, TA19 9QH. 01460 55359, Starters from �4.95, main courses from �8.50 and desserts from �4.95Opening times: Lunch is served Tuesday to Sunday from 12 noon-2pm and dinner from 6.30pm-9pm

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