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AA Notable Wine List 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Stunning contemporary cooking in wonderful Dartmoor isolation

AA Inspector

At a glance

Open all year
Vegetarian menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access
Credit cards accepted

As you round the corner on the long, winding drive on the edge of Dartmoor, the sprawling half-timbered mansion materialises against a lush backdrop of trees, with the River Teign flowing languidly past the front. The Aussie shipping magnate who built the property in the Arts and Crafts style in the late 1920s obviously intended to show his guests that he was a chap of substance, and it still gets jaws dropping today. It's a charming and stylish place of impressively high standards, fully in tune with the needs of 21st-century sybarites, so everything is set up for pure indulgence and relaxation – there’s even a hot tub on the roof these days – and something would be amiss if there wasn't an A-list dining option. There is: Gidleigh Park has one of the top restaurants in the country. The place was already in the Premier League of country house destination dining thanks to the long residency of chef Michael Caines – big boots for any successor to fill, but Michael Wignall (ex Pennyhill Park in Surrey) is a chef of the requisite calibre. He took the helm in 2016 and has shown that there are going to be thrills aplenty under the new regime. Wignall’s cooking is technically precise, clever without ever losing its way, and everything looks perfect on the plate. A light touch means you can tackle the seven- or ten-course tasting menus without being overwhelmed, and meat-free versions of both ensure that veggies are not sidelined. Otherwise, the carte offers up five choices per course, or lunch is a good entry point if you want to get a measure of the place for pretty much half the price. Opening the show, chicken cooked in umami broth comes with garlic pannacotta, lovage granita and chicken skin crackers for an array of fascinating flavours and textures. Producing food this good takes 100% commitment, focus and perfectionism. Next up, Cornish plaice is as good as it gets, and it arrives with seaweed, samphire, charred leek and celery gel, as well as miso potatoes, a stunning seafood casserole and squid ink gnocchi. Elsewhere, there may be best end and loin of hare with poached duck liver, parsnip, kohlrabi cannelloni and baked chocolate, an impressively creative course that balances strong flavours with a sure hand. Dessert is a highly detailed tour de force combining aerated lemon verbena parfait, raspberry powder, fresh and crunchy dried lychee and white chocolate aero. Canapés and petits fours are as innovative as the rest, while a refreshingly simple approach is taken with bread, an appetising sourdough. Ensconced in oak-panelled majesty in one of the three dining rooms, you might as well splash out on some wine. An authoritative list of around 1,300 bins awaits, with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic sommelier to steer the way.

Also at this location

Opening hours

  • Open all year
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2
  • Dinner served from: 6.30
  • Dinner served until: 9

Chef

  • Chef: Michael Wignall

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern European
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 30
  • Wines over £30: 1000
  • Wines by the glass: 20

Price guide

  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Steps for wheelchair: 1
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 45
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 22
  • On-site parking available

Additional information

  • Seats: 45
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 22

Getting here

From Chagford Square turn right at Lloyds TSB into Mill Street, after 150 yards right fork, across crossroads into Holy Street. Restaurant 1.5 miles

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Nearest train station

Exeter St Davids
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