8 festive feasts in Somerset
Eat, drink and be very merry (and not just because there's no cooking or washing up)
From a Michelin Star restaurant in Bath to a cafe out in the sticks, with pubs galore in between – all serving up fabulous festive fare right now.
Candlelight Inn, Bishopwood, nr Chard
Venue: Atmospheric 17th century inn, in the village of Bishopswood in the heart of the Blackdown Hills, and just off the A303 near Chard.
On the menu: We’re talking mulled wine cured salmon, roasted turkey crown, winter squash and mushroom strudel, apple and sloe gin crumble, petit fours (and more). £24 for 2 courses, £30 for 3 courses. See the full Christmas menu here.
What else? Like sloe gin? Go judge what the locals have made, Fri 21 Dec.
Olive Tree, Bath
Venue: The Olive Tree restaurant at the elegant, quirky Queensberry Hotel in Bath, where Chef Chris Cleghorn cooks up food awarded the city’s one and only Michelin Star.
The menu: A series of multi-course, festive fine dining menus available during December, including – impressively – Festive Vegetarian, Vegan and Diary-free ‘Seven’ course menus. Chris Cleghorn’s ‘Seven’/Dairy-free ‘Seven’ £82; Vegan/Vegetarian ‘Seven’ £75. A ‘Five’ £68. Festive lunch: 2-courses £30; 3-courses £36. See all the menus here.
What else? The hotel’s pretty fabulous too.
The Litton, Litton, nr Wells
Venue: Somerset’s best pub in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2018. Dates back to the 15 the century with rangy main bar (above), a cosy whisky bar (hic), woodburners and resident knight in shining armour.
On the menu: How about a Duck Leg Strumpet (no idea) to start, then juniper crusted roast venison with salt-baked celeriac, yeasted celeriac purée, pickled turnip and Black Forest sauce, followed by mulled cider poached pear, toffee sauce or a bûche de Noël (that’s a yule log to you and me). 2-courses £22.50; 3 courses £27.50
What else: A sleepover? Recently listed as one of the UK’s best 100 places to stay in The Times. See our review.
Venue: Intimate bistro-style restaurant with eclectic decor and a clutch of awards including Taste of the West Gold and a well-known Somerset magazine’s Best Restaurant of the Year 2018. Chef Tim Zekki used to run secret suppers in the Chilterns – this is his own place in Somerset. Read our review.
On the menu: Seven-course tasting menu includes home cured salmon, confit duck, turkey roulade, blackened rib eye steak, Christmas pud ice cream, blue cheese and pears (£45) with optional wine flight £25.
What else? Give one of their hand mono printed Christmas gift vouchers as a gift.
White Hart, Somerton
Venue: 16th century inn on the edge of one of Somerset’s most ancient market squares.
On the menu: Venison, partridge and pheasant terrine spiced parsnip, coconut and lentil soup; sprout bhaji, coriander and tahini dressing; squash, pistachio and quinoa nut roast as a main; and spiced baked apple, cherry sorbet and pumpkin seed praline to finish (phew). 2 courses £23.50; 3 courses £29.50
What else? They’re open on Christmas Day from 12pm– 6pm and Boxing Day 8am – 10pm. Pre-Christmas dinner and B&B from now until Thurs 20 Dec, £100 for two (quote DBB100).
Queens Arms, Corton Denham
Venue: Nosh in the cosy lounge/bar – whopping open fire, sheepskin throws, velvet and leather armchairs – or more formal dining rooms in this relaxed Georgian inn nestled between the A303 and Sherborne. Somerset’s best destination pub in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2016.
On the menu: Christmas menu includes starters like horseradish and cranberry cured salmon and chicken terrine; mains slow-cooked duck’s leg and turkey with all the trimmings; chocolate cremeux and russet apple pie. Mon–Thurs until Thurs 20 December. 2 courses £24; 3 courses £30.
What else? Open Christmas Day. Dinner, B&B packages in the days before and after Christmas, over Christmas and over New Year.New Year’s Eve Party. See all their festive events and special deals here. Watch this space for our review (coming soon).
Kitchen at Jordans Courtyard, Horton Cross, nr Ilminster
Venue: Cool cafe in a converted barn with an industrial vibe at Jordans Courtyard, just a stone’s throw from the Ilminster roundabout on the A303. From the same people behind the Kitchen in Langport. Read our review
On the menu: Open daily until 3pm for their regular (delish) nosh. Christmas dinner menus – turkey, beef bourgignon, fisherman’s pie, butternut squash and spinach and filo; roasted pears, choc tart or Christmas pud. £25. Fri 14, Thurs 20, Fri 20 Dec.
What else? Have your nails done at the wellness and yoga centre or browse the Gift Barn – just across the other side of Jordans Courtyard.
The Swan, Wedmore
Venue: Former Georgian coaching inn with executive chef Tom Blake (ex-River Kitchen) in charge. Eat in the spacious restaurant or wrap around bar with open fires and leather tub chairs. Enjoyed Christmas lunch there last year: read our review.
On the menu: Sprout bhajis! Also, beetroot cured salmon, venison, partridge & pheasant terrine, turkey plus trimmings, spiced Gloucester Old Spot, Cornish hake and squash/pistachio/quinoa nut roast; Christmas bread and butter pud. 2-courses £27; 3-courses set menu in the restaurant or the bar.
What else? Popular people: get 30+ friends together and they’ll run you up a special buffet in The Club Room for £22/head. Pre-Christmas dinner and B&B from now until Thurs 20 Dec, £100 for two (quote DBB100).
Kingsdon Inn, Kingsdon
Venue: Rustic village pub on the edge of the village green.
On the menu: Game terrine, twice-baked Barbers 1833 cheese souffle; local rare breed pork, turkey breast, Dover sole, and for veggies, Moroccan spiced five-nut roulade; sticky toffee pud, Christmas pud, choc mousse. Yum yum yum. 2 courses £25; 3 courses £30. See the full menu here.
What else? Feeling in good voice? Combine with Christmas carols around the tree on Thurs 20 Dec.