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Restaurant review: The Rock Inn, Waterrow

Published on November 14, 2016
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A warm welcome – in every sense – awaits those who traverse the winding country lanes that lead to The Rock Inn at Waterrow. With a roaring fire, well stocked bar and thoroughly charming front of house team, you’ll want to escape for a couple of days to this cosy inn on the edge of the moor, says Kathryn Lewis

The Rock Inn

Chef patron Daren Barclay and wife Ruth took over the 400 year old pub teetering on the Devon and Somerset border in 2013. Awash with original features along with must-have mod-cons, the duo have done a cracking job of refreshing the eight rooms above the inn. Factor in the phenomenal foodie offering downstairs and you’ve got the ultimate country pub package.

VISIT FOR a weekend away from reality. Forgo connecting to the Wi-Fi, or searching out signal, and take advantage of the idyllic rural surrounds, listen to the bird song and indulge in fantastic food sourced from this glorious pocket of the country.

Feast on the likes of local crispy pork belly, blushed pig cheeks and black pudding, or feather soft ox cheek melting into rich treacle-tainted juices before sneaking a night cap by the fire.

DON’T VISIT FOR posh frocks and polished silverware. Daren’s culinary credentials may be Michelin standard (he spent 11 years as executive chef at the Goodwood Estate) but this is still a proper pub where dogs are welcome and hearty portions are appreciated.

WE LIKED the cosy snug – complete with wood burner, board games and squishy sofas – in which overnight guests can unwind after a day exploring the moor.

INSIDER’S TIP However full from the proceeding courses, concluding the meal with a couple of scoops of Daren’s homemade ice cream is a must. Rich and wickedly creamy and in gourmet flavours such as espresso and hazelnut, it’s so popular that they even sell tubs for you to take home. (Side note: buy a tub to take home.)

What we ate (dinner)

Starter Somerset baked brie fondant with pickled beetroot
Mains Ox cheek braised with black garlic and treacle, cheddar mash and savoy cabbage
Pud Ice creams: espresso and hazelnut, and peanut butter and white chocolate cookie

Also try

Clavelshay Barn

Plunging down the narrow, twisty-turny verdant lanes to Clavelshay Barn is a mini adventure in itself, says Rosanna Rothery

Holbrook House

Experience a gentler age of traditional service, silver cloches and Wodehouse-esque glamour in Holbrook House’s classic dining room