Review: A blooming great lunch

Burger on a wooden board with hand cut chips

The presentation was top quality - Credit: M Skidmore

When you think of visiting the beautiful Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton, food isn't necessarily the first thing on your mind. Well, maybe it should be as the restaurant there offers some great options throughout the day.

Spanning three centuries of garden design and 50 acres of land, Hestercombe House and Gardens is a lovely day out for families, couples or anyone who wants to just spend some peaceful time alone.

Big house with purple and red flowers in the foreground

Enjoy a walk around the stunning gardens if you've got time - Credit: C SKIDMORE

On your way around the gardens stop off at The Stables restaurant, which is situated in the historic stables and cart house in Hestercombe’s Visitor Centre. You can also use the restaurant without paying for entry into the house and gardens if you're a bit short on time.

What was the atmosphere like?

It was a beautifully sunny day when we visited and the courtyard was light and bright and welcoming with flowers dotted around. I would expect no less of these historic gardens.

The restaurant was busy so the staff were run off their feet, but if you are happy to be patient and relax, the menu is worth the wait. 

Staff were friendly and polite, offering to bring us jugs of water while we waited.

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What's the menu like?

On my visit, I was impressed by the standard of the meals on the menu - you won't find a boring old sandwich here!

The menu was large, with brunch (10-11.30am), afternoon teas (12noon-4.30pm) and lunch (12noon-2.30pm) on offer through the day. I was delighted to see a savoury afternoon tea was available alongside the traditional offering.

We opted for the beef brisket bap, with Monterey Jack cheese and rainbow slaw and hand cut chips and the Somerset beef and blue cheese salad for lunch. 

My dining companion described the beef brisket as 'tender and very tasty' but you'd definitely need a healthy appetite to get through it all. The chips were cooked to perfection - I can vouch for that as I stole some. The only suggestion from my dining companions was that a little more sauce would have been nice as it was such a generous portion of meat.

My beef and blue cheese salad was just the job for a warm day. The Longman's Vale of Camelot blue cheese was the tang and the beef was the texture, all complemented by salad leaves, pickled shallots and sourdough croutons.

It was washed down with a sublime Sauvignon Blanc that was nicely chilled.

Salad with blue cheese, squares of beef and crutons with leaves

The beef and blue cheese salad was perfect for a summers day - Credit: C SKIDMORE

There is also a children's menu on offer with the choice of sausage roll, chips and vegetables, crispy chicken burger and hand cut chips, Hestercombe rarebit with vegetable sticks or sandwich with crips and vegetable sticks. The portion sizes again were really generous.

My dining partner and toddler shared the brioche French toast served with a Biscoff caramel sauce and caramel gelato for dessert. It looked stunning and it went down very quickly, so that will tell you how good it tasted.

The thing that really stood out for me throughout the meal was the presentation. It was top quality and, despite it being a very busy day, every dish came out looking just fantastic.

To browse some menus click here.

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