Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor

Jo Rees discovers that not everything is as it seems at this Dartmoor stalwart

We South West locals can be overly discerning (read: snobby) when it comes to deciding which restaurants are for ‘grockles’ and which are the real deal.

So how easy it would be, on driving across Dartmoor, to whizz past Two Bridges Hotel and write it off as a spot for coach parties stopping for cream tea when, in reality, this hotel is home to a restaurant of the most unexpectedly sublime standard.

Its uber-talented head chef Mike Palmer ought to be getting a kick-back from VisitEngland for his one-man PR role in convincing Dartmoor’s international visitors that British food has undergone a metamorphosis.

VISIT for exceptionally elegant cooking with creative flair.

The setting is pretty trad (pianist, heavy wooden furniture, white linen) but, even if that’s not your scene, the good eating outweighs everything.

Beautifully crafted dishes enchant and delight – from the box of homemade breads with assortment of flavoured butters and tapenades (devour them all before digging in to the starter at your peril) to fine desserts of lighter-than-air meringue with fragrant strawberries and luscious vanilla cream.

DON’T VISIT for cool. Or good Wifi. Or, in fact, anything remotely urban. Instead, embrace the thoroughly charming moorland ambience and delightful old-school authenticity.

WE LIKE the quirky four poster beds, the gaggle of geese patrolling the grounds, the stunning, isolated setting in the middle of wildest Dartmoor and the huge fireplaces of crackling logs on winter days.

What we ate (dinner)

Starter Devon pigeon, butternut squash risotto, walnuts, egg yolk

Main Brill, brown shrimp, samphire, Cornish beetroot, south coast crab

Pud Chocolate delice, white chocolate pannacotta, milk chocolate and malt ice cream

3 courses from £49; B&B from £99

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