TRENT, Sherborne, DT9 4SL
When 14th-century workmen were building the slender church spire, one of only three of such vintage in Dorset, this is where they lived. Now ivy-clad, it owes more to its days as a farmhouse in the 18th century than to its medieval origins, but the beams and flagstone floors of this Dorset gem don't date. Located on the Ernest Cook Trust estate that surrounds Trent, the inn has a lounge with a large, log-surrounded open fire and comfortable leather sofa; the main bar looks out over fields, and from the restaurant you can survey the valley of the Trent Brook. At the bar, Wadworth's ales usually include 6X, Henry's Orinigal IPA, Horizon and The Bishop's Tipple, with a guest alongside. If your visit coincides with lunchtime hunger pangs, a good range of lighter bites and pub classics has something for every appetite: an open steak sandwich is served with tarragon and tomato relish, green salad and chips; battered south coast cod comes with tartare, triple-cooked chips and mushy peas; and Andrew Barclay sausages are served in the time-honoured fashion with mash and onion gravy. Essential to the country cooking appeal of the regularly changing main menus are starters of cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with chives and gruyère gougères; roasted pigeon breast with red watercress, pomegranate and Serrano ham; and warm salt and pepper squid salad with puffed rice, cucumber, spring onion and Asian chilli dressing. Main courses may feature grilled calves' liver, potato rösti, buttered spinach, sage fritters and smoked bacon and onions; or oriental-style belly of pork in a miso and ginger broth, bok choi and prawn dumplings. Leave room for warm maple syrup pancakes with salted caramel and pecan ice cream. Award-winning Read's roaster coffee is served too.