Pictured: The Swan at Wedmore
Whipping up a roast with the background wash of your favourite radio station is all well and good but sometimes nothing beats the luxury of Sunday lunch in a really good pub or restaurant, especially if the papers and a top-knotch Bloody Mary are thrown in. Here’s our pick of the Top 10 Sunday lunch spots in the West Country.
The Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire 01747 870385
We think the Beckford has really nailed the Sunday lunch thing. Whole chickens carved at your table, pork belly and crackling, slow roast lamb with cauliflower cheese, crunchiest roast potatoes and jugs of spot-on gravy. Oh and the Bloody Marys are legendary.
The Wild Garlic, Beaminster, Dorset 01308 861446
Masterchef winner Mat Follas’s wonderful restaurant Wild Garlic gets nothing but rave reviews. The vibe is laid back, the food serious with an emphasis on local ingredients. How about roasted partridge, plum sauce, celeriac and apple puree or perhaps halibut steak, cider cream and crackling? For pudding we’ll have the lavender pannacotta, lemon shortbread and cranberries please.
Number 6, Padstow, Cornwall 01841 532093
For a total Sunday blow-out we’ll be heading to Paul Ainsworth’s new restaurant in Padstow (and no, for once, this one’s nothing to do with Rick Stein). Innovative cooking with a menu so good it’s virtually impossible to choose. If pressed we’ll have Cornish lamb with salsa verde, ewe’s milk, broccoli and beetroot followed by a hot pear puff with dark chocolate sorbet.
Gurnard’s Head, Zennor Cornwall 01736 796928
Sunday lunch at the Gurnard’s Head, a beautiful pub facing right onto the Atlantic has been on our radar for a while now. The food is stunning – perfectly cooked slow roast rib of beef or perhaps pollock with crushed new potatoes? – and the location is just right for a bracing coastal path walk. What we really want to do, though, is book in for the Sunday Sleepover from £77.50 per person and including lunch, supper, breakfast and a beautiful night’s sleep on a Vi-Spring bed. Tempting, huh?
At the Chapel, Bruton, Somerset 01749 814070
A restaurant that works on every level at any time of day but we particularly love the gargantuan and perfectly cooked Sunday lunches. Sitting in this beautifully converted Wesleyan chapel with roast beef and yorkshire pudding or roast belly of pork with crackling and apple sauce, the Sunday papers (colouring pencils and paper for the kids) and a well-judged Bloody Mary just can’t be bettered.
The Swan, Wedmore, Somerset 01934 710337
We love the Swan at Wedmore, which is perfectly situated for a pre-lunch amble in Cheddar Gorge. Ex River Cottage chef Tom Blake changes his menus daily focusing on the freshest ingredients. For Sunday lunch roast loin of Gloucester old spot, sea salt crackling, fennel and apple sauce. Stellar food in a chilled-out setting. We like.
Percy’s Hotel, Viginstow, Devon 01409 211236
People drive for miles for a lunch from chef Tina Bricknell-Webb (pictured). Percy’s has a zero food miles policy as everything – including the organic meat – comes from its own estate. The menu changes daily but you might find grilled duo of john dory and turbot with sauce bearnaise or oven-roast home-reared lamb with rosemary jus. For pudding perhaps the cardamom and lime creme with shortbread biscuits. You can buy meat from Percy’s farm online. It’s posh, high dining – save this one for a serious celebration.
Hix Oyster and Fish House, Lyme Regis, Dorset 01297 446910
Seafood heads can do no better than a Sunday lunch at Mark Hix’s Oyster & Fish House with its staggering views of the Jurassic coast. Whole cooked Dorset crab with mayonnaise, grilled lemon sole or monkfish curry, whatever you choose, it will be meltingly fresh. Later on, if you feel peckish after a seaside stroll, you can pop back for tea and crumpets.
Duke of York Inn, Iddesleigh, Devon 01837 810253
Michael Morpurgo’s local is a 15th century oak-beamed beauty with roaring fires and the kind of pub where locals tie up their horses outside. It was even mentioned and forever immortalised in Speilberg’s War Horse movie. Its steak and kidney pies are infamous, on Sundays the sell-out roast chicken and beef is always on the menu, sometimes there’s pork and lamb too.
The Fontmell Fontmell Magna Dorset 01747 811441
New on the scene in Dorset and deservedly popular is The Fontmell. After a cold, wintery walk revive yourself with a hot Bullshot followed by perfectly cooked roast chicken, pork or beef in the beautiful dining room. All roasts come with a giant, fluffy yorkshire pudding (the chef insists on it) and if you can’t face leaving after all of that, you can always stay on for Sunday film night and crash out in one of the uber-cool rooms.
Next week we’ll be doing the top ten artisan bakeries in the South West… so please send us your suggestions.