King Lane, Clutton Hill, CLUTTON, BS39 5QL
Dating from 1750, The Earl of Warwick's former hunting lodge offers far-reaching views across the Cam Valley to the Mendip Hills and the Chew Valley towards Bristol. When the estate was sold in 1872, the building became a tavern serving the growing number of coal miners working in the area, but all the mines closed long ago and the place has been transformed into a popular and attractive inn. Paul Thomas has been running the place for more than 25 years, during which time he has established a great reputation for good home-made food, real ales - typically Butcombe, Bath Ales Gem and Otter - and a well-stocked wine cellar. The menu includes chicken liver and chorizo pâté; smoked trout and prawn cocktail; giant pastries called oggies, which might come with a variety of fillings, such as beef steak and Stilton, mixed smoked fish, cauliflower cheese, and not for the faint hearted they say - the Welsh Dragon, casseroled beef with fiery chillies, peppers and tomatoes. Other dishes may include Somerset faggots with caramelised onion gravy; baked lamb rump, root vegetable mash, buttered greens with red wine and rosemary gravy; and curry of the day. From the specials blackboard there's a selection of daily delivered, Brixham-landed fish - sea bass fillet, pea and ham risotto; or beer-battered cod being just two options perhaps. Finish with a popular dessert such as hot chocolate pudding; Bakewell tart; or chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake. In summer you can sit out in the landscaped grounds, and if a longer visit is on the cards the inn has very stylish en suite bedrooms.