CORTON DENHAM, DT9 4LR
Below the Blackdown Hills, just over the Dorset border in Somerset, stands this late 18th-century, stone-built, one-time cider house. Beneath the beams in the bar and separate dining room are grand open fireplaces, leather chairs and sofas, and old scrubbed tables set with tasteful china. The bar offers the pub's own ale, Legless Liz, alongside Otter and Exmoor beers, local farm ciders, apple juices and a remarkable range of bottled beers, gins, malts, world spirits and liqueurs; even the 60-bin wine list includes six champagnes. Owners Gordon and Jeanette Reid champion high-quality local produce, measuring the distance their food travels more in metres than miles; the back of the menu illustrates just how close some suppliers are, like their own farm in Sutton Montis. Settle in with a Margarita on the rocks, then start with Redlake Somerton beetroot-cured trout with crab, cucumber and soda bread; followed by North Dorset 28-day-aged rib-eye steak with foie gras butter, roasted garlic and hand-cut chips; butter-poached breast, braised leg and confit thigh of guinea fowl with celeriac, quince and charred broccoli; or Cornish mussels steamed in cider and chorizo with home-made bread. Typically imaginative puddings include, for example, yogurt and saffron pannacotta with spiced winter fruits and gingerbread; and chocolate marquise with popcorn, marshmallow and caramel. The sheltered terrace and sunny garden are perfect for outdoor eating and drinking. Muddy boots and dogs are no problem here. In July there's a beer festival. Breakast is available to non residents from 7.30am-9.30am.
A303 follow signs for Sutton Montis, South Cadbury & Corton Denham. Through South Cadbury, 0.25m, left, up hill signed Corton Denham. Left at hill top to village, approx 1m. Pub on right