Dunkery Beacon Country House: A review

The hotel is on Exmoor

The hotel is on Exmoor - Credit: sub

We reviewed the lovely Dunkery Beacon Country House in Exmoor and were pleasantly surprised

Our bedroom had wonderful views from the window seats

Our bedroom had wonderful views from the window seats - Credit: sub

Great food, a stunning setting and the sheer peace and quiet surrounding it are just three features that make Dunkery Beacon Country House such a great place to ‘get away from it all’.

Situated on Exmoor, I woke up to the sight of red deer on the hills and hares chasing each other round the field opposite.

This was just what the doctor ordered after a long week and it felt a million miles away from reality - but was actually just about 45 minutes from the M5 junction at Bridgwater for me.

The rooms at the hotel are tastefully decorated with thought going into the little things guests may need - bubble bath for the bath (actually something I have found is rare!), make-up wipes for the ladies and a choice of different duvets depending on how warm you like it.

The lamb was perfectly cooked for me

The lamb was perfectly cooked for me - Credit: sub

We stayed in one of the four poster rooms and the view from the window seats (which make a nice separate sitting area) were phenomenol.

The food

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It’s no wonder that Jane and John, who own the hotel, were finalists in the Somerset Life Food and Drink Awards last year.

I knew from the restaurant’s reputation that the food was good as it not only scores with residents but the locals and holidaymakers seem to want a bite of the foodie action here too.

The food has a fine dining look and The Coleridge Restaurant has the atmposphere of an intimate, classy setting, but what stands out is that it really focuses on local produce and the traditional dishes of the area. John and Jane pride themselves on supporting local producers, with their meat coming from Kendle Farm in Exton, honey from Allercott Farm just down the road and tea and coffee from D.J. Miles in Porlock to name a few.

My dining partner and I were thrilled to see scallops on the menu to start as they are a particular favourite for us. They became even more of a favourite when we tried this recipe with black pudding, apple and celeriac puree.

The delicate nature of the scallops blended beautifully with the strong flavours of the black pudding, the ‘zing’ of the apple and the creaminess of the puree. We commented that a clever chef must be behind this combination.

I opted for the rack of lamb for my main course and it was cooked just right for me - a little bit of pink but not too rare and the rib eye steak that my dining partner had was served with the most delicious looking baby roasters - they obviously tasted good too as I didn’t get a look in!

As is tradition I opted for the cheese for dessert, but my dining partner had the white chocolate panacotta which was served with a berry coulis. The verdict - the ‘best panacotta’ she has ever tasted. I won’t tell you her age but she has had a few I can tell you.

The wine list to accompany these dishes is extensive and Jane is obviously knowledgable in that field. And the lounge area, by the roaring fire, is the perfect place to start and finish dinner with a glass from the menu.

In the spring and summer the restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday and also for special events and dates in the calendar and word is spreading about the food here in its own right.

In conclusion

This is the most gorgeous hotel to escape to and relax, with just seven rooms it has an intimate atmosphere and wonderful hosts, who give you your own space but can’t do enough for you at the same time.

The Coleridge Restaurant is a fantastic addition to this, but is also worth a visit even if you’re not staying. I’d say you are missing out if you don’t though!