The luscious green rolling hills of Devon invite you in for a relaxing break at the recently renovated foodie destination that is Paschoe House. With a 3 AA Rosette awarded restaurant, sumptuously styled rooms and days out in the branded Land Rover Discovery, you’ll be spoiled at every turn.
With just nine rooms, this boutique country house hotel offers a peaceful escape from all stresses, enveloping you in a welcoming hug as you enjoy the spacious and tastefully decorated public areas.
The décor in the hotel reflects the traditional country house style with floral patterns, soft fabrics and large cushions to sink into, while the restaurant maintains an Art Deco style with dark blue wallpaper holding a gold geometric print, chandeliers and a large feature fireplace. The walls of the staircase and some public areas hold some interesting features – there’s quite a selection of animal busts and stuffed creatures, real I’m told, but very old. The gardens are spacious with loungers and you can wander the walled kitchen gardens in the grounds.
Events can be held here including exclusive use weddings, celebrations, parties and meetings, with a glasshouse conservatory offering the perfect spot to party overlooking the grounds. There is also yoga on Tuesday evenings in summer in there too and I imagine the setting adds to the experience greatly. I really enjoyed my winter stay, especially as I knew I could cosy up and felt no pressure to do anything but eat good food, sip a glass of wine or two and enjoy a board game in the lounge in between restful naps and country walks.
I stayed in Hedgehog, a second-floor room full of character, with a large resplendent bathroom and little snug with a view. I jumped at the chance of a tour of some of the other rooms, all of which have been designed by owner, Tabitha, who has done a marvellous job. I quickly noticed that all bathrooms offer the wow factor, most of which are spacious, and hold stand-alone baths and statement wallpaper. The bathroom in my room held lovely floral wallpaper adorned with large pink peonies as well as a roll top bath, double sink unit, separate shower and original fireplace. The snug is accessed through here and makes use of the small roof space with two chaise longues and a small window with countryside views.
The bedroom walls were painted a sage green with the roof sections painted white, while the walls held nature led artworks, which were available to buy. A large sleigh style bed with a cream headboard took up most of the space, while dark wood side tables, a dressing table and desk completed the furniture. There was no wardrobe or chest of drawers but instead a rail, while another small fireplace made an appearance.
Though there was no great view from our room’s window, there was certainly plenty of character in the room and I enjoyed the personal touches and luxuries that are available to all guests. Modern touches such as a smart TV with films to purchase (just ask reception for some popcorn) and lighting controls were useful, while the espresso machine, robes, slippers, fresh biscuits and daily bulletin were all very welcome.
Food is a big reason to visit Paschoe House. I noticed on both days I was there that visitors stopped by for a lavish afternoon tea in the lounge, whether they were staying or not, while breakfast was quite special, and dinner is certainly something to write home about.
On my first night I made use of the casual dining from the bar menu and picked a nice spot in the bar to enjoy some truffled nuts, a spiced chickpea and onion roll with cucumber and mint raita followed by a honey sriracha chicken burger with garlic mayonnaise and (really) gorgeous triple cooked chips. There was a good selection of desserts to choose from including egg custard tart, chocolate brownie or rhubarb and apple crumble, but I was saving myself for the following evening’s tasting menu.
On both mornings I tucked into a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs as well as the continental selection, which was delivered to my table on a stand. The coffee was delicious, and I happily devoured the orange and apple juice, small pastries, little fruit salad bowls, yogurt with compote and toast with marmalade. I love the presentation of the foods within the stand and the juices in individual mini milk bottles. There were more items on the kitchen menu to choose from including Eggs Benedict and pancakes but what I had was more than enough.
Head chef Craig Davies and his team ‘pride themselves on preparing authentic and inspiring dishes’ drawing influence from French and Asian flavours with ‘texture and presentation all playing an integral part in creating exciting dishes.’
The tasting menu was certainly testament to the above with a fantastic selection of foods on display offering an exciting showcase of the talents from within the kitchen. Dinner started with canapés in the bar, which consisted of a smoked haddock and spiced cornflake croquette, pig trotter and ham hock with quince jelly, and potato rosti with leek – all of which were tasty with a lovely crispy outer. Once in the restaurant and with some warm sourdough slices to sample, I tasted the Tuscan white wine that was recommended by the knowledgable Matt.
The first course soon arrived and consisted of parsnip velouté with taleggio in crumb, parsnip crisps and truffle oil. A gorgeous, sumptuous smelling dish that tasted just as good as it smelled. Rich, warming flavours in the soup paired well with the sweetness of the parsnip in the crisp and the textureful cheese. Next up was the scallop with prawn mousse rolled in macaroni with a handful of little brown shrimps, sea lettuce and a shellfish bisque, which is poured at the table. The bisque was powerful, a sweet juicy scallop, perfect but I felt the prawn mousse got lost a little.
Pig cheek was the next course and consisted of Iberico and Parma ham, compressed apple, apple puree and crispy pig skin. This dish had a wonderful sweet richness that awakened the taste buds. The wonderfully sweet and uplifting apple had a crunchy texture too, which was a fantastic complementary flavour for the textured, slightly salty pork. I wanted to savour it then eat it all again, it was perfect and my favourite course so far.
It was back to the water for the next dish of halibut with caviar, clementine and a tarragon emulsion. The thin piece of fish had a gorgeously crisp topping and there was a lot of texture, detail and effort on the plate, though if it weren’t for the citrus element this would be too salty for me.
The red deer dish leapt straight to the top with its wonderful array of textures and beautiful flavours. A piece of venison loin melted in the mouth, while a mini wellington encasing some shoulder meat held some excellent, rich flavours. A couple of cranberries added a burst of fruitiness, while the earthiness of the chestnut, truffle, gorgeous sticky gravy and creamy Jerusalem artichoke puree made this a winning plate of food.
Onto the sweet stuff with ‘snow egg’ – Tahitian vanilla brule, quince diced granita and plum sorbet. A mallowy meringue was encased by a sugar crust and a crack with the spoon was a joyous way to get into it. Though the sugar got stuck in my teeth this was lovely with sweet, fruity and fresh flavours and creamy and crisp textures. The wine was a great choice and had managed to pair well with all dishes so far, despite the variety of flavours.
The final course was a Manjari chocolate mousse ring with malt cream, whiskey jelly, granola and gold leaf décor. I loved that this wasn’t overly sweet but had more savoury additions to the chocolate; it had crunch and was well balanced. After some tea and petit fours in the lounge I was well and truly satisfied and reflected on the wonderful presentation, details and effort that had gone into each plate of food. There were some classic combinations as well as some more experimental ones and all ingredients complemented each other so well. The service was top notch and I felt very well looked after throughout my stay.
The remote location, a few miles north of one of the county’s two sprawling national parks, Dartmoor, means that you can enjoy some calming time in beautiful surroundings. If you feel the need for some shopping or city entertainment during your stay, Exeter is only a 14-mile drive away, which also means the transport links to this part of the country are pretty good too.
The hotel sits near the Two Moors Way path, a walk which connects the north and south of the large county. You are invited to grab a pair of wellies in the boot room and discover the beautiful surroundings, but if you fancy a more relaxing break (or need a post-walk massage) there’s a spa treatment list full of options to enjoy in the comfort of your room.
As mentioned, you are invited to step further afield to partake in a selection of local activities. On the day I visited, I was chauffeured to a National Trust property, Knightshayes, in Tiverton, but there are other attractions such a Castle Drogo or Dartmoor Gin Distillery that are on offer, it depends on those participating.
In a nutshell
Paschoe House is certainly a place that guests will want to return to time and time again after their initial visit. Tucked away, this place offers tranquility for a relaxing stay, great food and fantastic, friendly service. I, for one, am looking forward to returning.
Rooms can be booked from £149 per night.
Address: Paschoe House, Bow, Crediton, Devon, EX17 6JT
Phone: +44 1363 84244