Psalter’s Restaurant, Dunster

With its hunting, shooting ‘n’ fishing vibe and flashes of tweed, Psalter’s Restaurant at The Luttrell Arms captures the spirit of Exmoor, discovers Jo Rees

Quirky, comfy and informally smart in that Exmoor way, The Luttrell Arms is authentic and charming – without even a whiff of try-hard. And while turning the pub and hotel’s rustic vibe into fine dining could be a challenge, it’s one that head chef Barrie Tucker clearly relishes: Psalter’s Restaurant is his canvas for cheffy techniques, with jellies, daubs and re-interpretations of the classics all in play.

VISIT for a menu to relish. Well constructed and intriguing, dishes such as carpaccio of tuna with blood orange puree, avocado ice cream, pickled cucumber and sesame glass, inspire anticipation.

And at its core, it delivers. An unctuous mini beef lasagne starter was followed by tender roast partridge with savoury bread and butter pudding which was a revelation of truffley deliciousness. And the hot puff of a blackberry and bilberry soufflé dessert yielded further satisfaction at having devoured a dinner crafted from the moorland landscape.

DON’T VISIT expecting Exmoor ‘farmer food’. The portions are fine dining appropriate and the presentation pretty, although the twiddly bits are a bit of a distraction; the star players in each dish are so good they don’t need extraneous adornment. Think Coco Chanel’s belief in removing one accessory before leaving the house to create perfection.

WE LIKED the friendly service, the comfortable dining room with its flashes of tweed and horsey wallpaper, and the gooey, molten chocolate fondant pudding.

Insider's tip

The hotel has really good winter rates, so make it an overnighter and explore the wine list in depth.

What we ate (dinner)

Starter Carpaccio of tuna, blood orange jelly, blood orange puree, avocado ice cream, pickled cucumber and sesame glass

Main Roast partridge, savoury bread and butter pudding, baby carrots, carrot puree, prunes, hot toddy jelly and whisky sauce

Pud Blackberry and bilberry soufflé, spiced apple jelly, blackberry puree and chestnut crumb with smoked maple and pear sorbet

3 courses from £30

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