Somerset’s top gastropubs revealed
Not ONE but THREE Somerset pubs made it into this year's Top 50 Gastropubs Awards. But which three?
Did you know that not one but three Somerset pubs made it into this year’s Top 50 Gastropubs Awards? Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, these are the pubs that industry insiders have voted as having the best food in the UK, food cooked by chefs whose skills wouldn’t be out of place in the world’s best restaurants. The Somerset Three are spread right across the county: The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna near Bristol, the Tarr Farm Inn near Dulverton on Exmoor and The White Post Inn just outside Yeovil, so take your pick…
The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna – No. 3
No surprise to find this pub, run by brother and sister Holly and Josh Eggleton (see him in TV’s Great British Menu?), in the top three. It’s held a Michelin star since 2011, was ranked No 2 in these same awards last year and has won pretty much every other gong going. Despite all the accolades, it’s still very much a cosy country pub with plenty of locals.
They draw up the menu shortly before service to make sure they’re using all the ingredients delivered freshly (usually from very local suppliers) each day. There’s a full a la carte as well as a tasting menu, which is available every lunch and dinner except over Sunday lunch. It’s not far from Chew Valley Lake – perfect for a postprandial perambulation.
The Pony and Trap, Knowle Hill, B40 8TQ. Tel 01275 332627.
Tarr Farm Inn, Liscombe, nr Dulverton – No. 27
Tarr Steps is a truly magical location – a medieval ‘clapper’ bridge made from huge slabs of unmortared stone crosses the River Barle in a wooded valley – and the 16th century Inn sits right on the bank opposite in 40 acres of its own land. As you’d expect from a pub on Exmoor there’s plenty of local venison and game alongside Exmoor lamb, Devon Red Ruby beef – and Cornish fish and seafood (chef Steve Cox worked in Australian seafood restaurants for a time). It’s casual dining by day (bring your dog); more formal in the evening.
Of course there are wonderful walks along the river. We went in the spring and the Muddies went paddling; others were wild swimming in the deeper sections – very Famous Five – then we all ate outside in the pub’s garden. Flipping idyllic.
Tarr Farm Inn, Tarr Steps, Dulverton, Exmoor TA22 9PY (use TA22 9QA if using a satnav; the actual postcode may take you to the wrong side of the river which can be impassable in any vehicle). Tel 01643 351507.
The White Post Inn, Rimpton, nr Yeovil – No 34
Located in the village of Rimpton, just 7 miles north east of Yeovil, husband and wife Brett and Kelly Sutton run the only pub in the UK which straddles two counties. You can take in views across Somerset and Dorset while you nosh on a classic pub lunch, a 10-course tasting menu or their splendiferous Sunday meat board, which can include roast sirloin of beef, loin of pork and Dorset lamb as well as all the trimmings.
The pub’s only been open since 2014 but it’s already won a Taste of the West Gold and is listed in the Michelin Guide. Interesting fact: Brett started out as an accountant.
The White Post, Rimpton Hill, Yeovil BA22 8AR. Tel 01935 851525.