Restaurant Review: Mill End Hotel, Chagford, Dartmoor in Devon
For a tasting menu well worth travelling for, Mill End on Devon’s glorious Dartmoor comes well recommended by me.
My guest, Nick, and I enjoyed a night’s stay in one of the hotel’s recently refurbished top floor rooms as well as a delightful dinner in the restaurant. Packed full of locally sourced ingredients, the seven course tasting menu offered up and array of British dishes with European, Asian and African influences, brimming with flavour.
An amuse bouche appeared at our window table, which looked onto a tinkling stream and the secluded countryside beyond. The tasty and fresh first course consisted of tempura of English asparagus with truffled mayonnaise, orange and baby leaf saladette. The warm and crispy asparagus was well cooked and delicious, and was well accompanied by the rich and creamy mayonnaise and sweet and juicy orange pieces. I’m not a fan of rocket but it did add a peppery flavour and overall, this was a great start to the meal.
Next up was a Parma ham and Vulscombe goat’s cheese roulade dressed with sun blushed tomatoes, marinated olives and harissa. This delicious dish looked so delicate and pretty but packed a punch. There was a lot of colour on the plate and the cheese and harissa (hot chilli pepper paste) certainly added some strong flavours. I utilised some bread to soak up the flavours and was thrilled with this creamy, smokey and sweet dish. It was also well paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (Taworri, Marlborough, NZ).
The fish course was up next and I was really looking forward to sampling a different version of scallops. I have eaten a lot of scallop dishes (I can’t get enough of them!) and am always amazed as to how versatile they are. I have yet to try a scallop dish that has not been able to hold whatever is thrown at it and this time was no different. The juicy, delicate treats came from Brixham, on the South Devon coast, and were seared and served with spiced cauliflower and pickled sultanas. The curry flavour came through the puréed cauliflower well and was very gentle. The dish smelled lovely and the sultanas had a nice sharp flavour to them.
The main course followed soon after and consisted of pan roasted West Country beef, presented with watercress, mashed potato, roasted baby carrots and morel with a balsamic jus. This was a gorgeous plate of food with a nice chunky piece of top quality beef stealing the show. The morel mushroom offered up a beautiful, earthy flavour and the balsamic taste was perfect. The vegetables were delicious and the plate reached perfection when I added a glass of Bodgeas Santalba Rioja to the mix.
Dessert was a bowl of layered strawberry goodies starting with a strawberry and Cointreau smoothie with chocolate crumb, followed by an iced parfait, whole fresh strawberries and marbled white and dark chocolate shards. I wouldn’t normally choose a strawberry dessert but this option was great with this menu as it provided a nice palate cleanser, it was refreshing and fruity and full of delicious flavours and textures.
We then moved on to our cheese course and were handed a indulgent and hefty platter of local cheeses, crackers, fruit, celery and a gorgeous tomato and cumin chutney. There were a great mix of cheeses made up of Cornish Brie, Cave aged cheddar, Cornish Yarg, Sharpham Rustic, Gunstone goats cheese and Devon Blue. We were fairly finished off but pushed on for a lovely selection of petit fours and a hot drink in the comfortable lounge before heading to bed.
The hotel lies on the edge of Chagford and is wonderfully secluded on the moors. Local sheep roaming around the field opposite our window offered up the most picturesque scene and a dip in the brand new bath tub was a relaxing treat with views onto the pretty grounds and trees and fields beyond. The room had recently been refurbished and was decorated in pale greys and white with rusty orange accents, duck patterned fabrics and feature bookcase effect wallpaper. The modern bathroom was delightful with a large bath, separate walk in shower with a large flat shower head and plentiful toiletries but would have benefited form some extra storage space for our own extra toiletries.
The centre of Chagford is nearby and is a lovely place to visit with a lunch at The Old Forge coming highly recommended from me.
In a nutshell
Set in picturesque surroundings that are itching to be explored, Mill End is a great base for doing just this, offering up some fantastic fare to tuck into after a long day enjoying delightful Dartmoor.
Address: Chagford House, Chagford, Newton Abbot TQ13 8BW / 01647 432282