From its magical setting over the village stream, The Fontmell is a gleaming example of the very best sort of 21st century British dining pub, bridging high end cooking and a pint at the bar with casual confidence, finds Jo Rees
From the handsome restaurant and pared-back rustic bar, to the upmarket bedrooms and wood fi red pizza ovens in fairy light-strewn garden, this north Dorset inn has got it covered – and in some style. Sophistication flows through the emphatically relaxed local pub, which has won it fans from far and wide.
VISIT FOR a bit of everything – depending on the mood and the hour. Get chums together for a smart supper in the restaurant, chow down on Sunday lunch in the bar, or order 48 hours ahead and wow your squeeze with a feast of roasted shellfish including mussels, clams, crab, scallops, and prawns with parsley, chilli and garlic, direct from Brixham’s fish market.
DON’T VISIT for a quiet night out – well maybe on a Monday night, but generally, this is a lively joint where you’ll even get drawn into communal chat when you stop for a quick homemade sausage roll and pint at the bar.
WE LIKED the triple cooked chips – dare we say the best we’ve ever had – and the patio area, which is buzzy on summer evenings, as the wood oven spits out crisp pizza after pizza for the expectant throng.
INSIDER’S TIP A very useful spot to have up your sleeve when travelling the A303 from the South East to the South West – you’re only a short drive from traffic-jam despair to a very good lunch.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter Seafood tapas of crab soup, scallops, smoked salmon, prawn cocktail and tempura tiger prawns
Main Fresh Brixham dayboat cod, triple cooked chips, pea sauce
Dessert Apple tarte tatin, caramel ice cream