When a country pub takes the leap from village watering hole to rural dining destination and still manages to keep its band of loyal locals happy, you know it’s special
New owners Simon and Darren only got the keys to The Rams Head Inn in Dolton a year ago, but the pair have wasted no time creating their dream country inn. In a project which would normally warrant a couple of years of blood, sweat and hard graft, interior designer Simon has transformed the tired pub into a polished dining space with nine spruced up bedrooms and a suntrap garden, in time for summer.
VISIT FOR impressive pub food – minus the stuffy atmosphere – and a friendly welcome that’ll leave you wishing this was your local. With a couple of years at Michelin-starred The Masons Arms in Knowstone under his belt, head chef Dan Tugwell has an eye for seasonal produce, meaning that the local butcher’s choice cuts and farmers’ harvests – everything’s sourced within a 25 mile radius – secure the leading rolesin his small and unfussy menus. Items including meltingly good cote de boeuf, lightly spiced stewed apples and the golden yolks in the poached eggs prove simplicity is superlative.
DON’T VISIT for a quiet, romantic meal for two, midweek. With a band of lively locals filling the room with laughter and bubbly owners always up for a good chinwag, you’re likely to get drafted into the shenanigans at the bar.
WE LIKED feeling completely refreshed after a glorious night’s sleep in one of the charmingly cosy rooms above the inn. Stirring to the sound of birdsong, buried in sumptuously soft bedding, sun streaming through the window – good luck making that 11am check out.
INSIDER’S TIP When the weather’s good, grab a table in the colourful secret garden and sample the local gin collection.
What we ate and drank (dinner)
Starter Tomato and mozzarella arancini, cucumber, black olive salad
Mains Cote de boeuf, marrow, fondant potato, seasonal vegetables
Pud Apple crumble tart, salted caramel cream, cinnamon ice cream, almond crumble
Drink Wicked Wolf gin and Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic
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