Review: Mark Hix's Dorset pub The Fox Inn at Corscombe

Light and airy dining room at a village pub

The Garden Room at The Fox Inn, Corscombe the ideal setting for a birthday lunch - Credit: MATT AUSTIN IMAGES

Mark Hix’s village local The Fox Inn at Corscombe proves to be an ideal place for a celebration birthday lunch for Roz and John Pereira who enjoy its intriguing locally sourced and foraged menu     

Staying in Dorset for my husband Jay’s birthday, I wanted to find somewhere special for a celebration. Having followed the story of Mark Hix taking on The Fox Inn at Corscombe, just six miles from where we were staying, I booked a table. The pub was saved from being turned into housing by Mark’s friends Eva and Ray Harvey, who bought it nine years ago.  

Along with running The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis and the HIX Oyster & Fish Truck, a converted Chevrolet ambulance which sells locally landed fish and shellfish, Mark had always wanted to have a pub so jumped at chance to take over the 17th Century Grade II listed inn. The Fox opened, mid pandemic, in December 2020. Boasting a locally sourced seasonal menu, including wild and foraged ingredients, it’s been a hit with locals and visitors alike.  

We were warmly greeted by the manager, Spiros, a colleague of Mark’s from his London days. As we sat in The Garden Room browsing the menu, one of four beautifully decorated dining areas, the tables around us gradually filled with diners. The word is out about this pub, even on a quiet weekday.  

The menu was both exciting and intriguing, our knowledgeable waitress talked us through the dishes. Jay opted for Heaven & Earth. Based on the traditional German dish Himmel und Erde, Heaven is a ball of soft black pudding floating on an Earth of crushed apple and potato – a match made in heaven!  

I chose Mark’s signature Flodge smoked salmon, named after Mark’s house in Charmouth where he cures his own salmon with Cornish sea salt and molasses, and then smokes it over apple and oak wood chips. The thickly cut slices were paired with freshly baked soda bread, the flavour was sublime.  

I continued a fishy theme for my main with locally caught brill, cooked on the bone to perfection and accompanied by sea beet foraged by Mark along the Dorset coast. It came with Foxy chips - thinly sliced and cooked potato, pressed overnight, then cut into chunky chips and deep fried - a firm winner in the chip stakes! This was accompanied by a nicely chilled glass of Lyme Bay Reserve sparkling wine. 

Grilled flat fish with some green leafy vegetables

Locally caught brill cooked on the bone served with sea beet foraged by Mark Hix - Credit: Matt Austin

Jay opted for the Creedy Carver chicken curry, which is tweaked to your own degree of curry heat. Curries are quite a thing at The Fox and range from chicken to mutton and venison. This was served with fluffy basmati rice and crispy shallots, washed down with a pint of Palmers IPA. He was a happy bunny! 

There were some intriguing options on the dessert menu too including pumpkin and sea buckthorn pavlova and Hollis Mead buttermilk pudding with rhubarb, Jay opted for ‘Credit Crunch’ a trio of vanilla ice cream, honeycomb and hot chocolate sauce. Mark invented it in 2008 when he opened the HIX Oyster & Chop House in London in the middle of the credit crunch. It ticked all the boxes as far as the birthday boy was concerned! I happily polished off Grandma’s homemade apple pie, a recipe from Mark’s grandmother, crumbly, golden pastry and succulent chunks of apple served with a scoop of vanilla ice. 

Bowl of vanilla ice cream with honeycomb biscuit and hot chocolate sauce pouring over it

'Credit Crunch' dessert combines vanilla ice cream, honeycomb and hot chocolate sauce - Credit: Matt Austin

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Before we left, happily satiated, we asked to see the two new guest bedrooms. Both Bill’s Garden Annex, named after Mark’s grandfather, and The Castlewood Annex have the vibe of an old French ski chalet. Bill’s Garden Annex with its sweet courtyard garden had me dropping hints to my husband about a romantic dinner, bed and breakfast getaway for our wedding anniversary in July!

Smart bedroom in a Dorset pub

Bedroom of Bill's Garden Annex at The Fox - Credit: MATT AUSTIN IMAGES

 

The Fox Inn at Corscombe was a wonderful find. A place where knowledgeable, friendly staff combine with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, beautifully cooked in gorgeous surroundings. What a gem of a Dorset pub. thefoxinncorscombe.co.uk