Every village needs a good pub – a hub where locals can gather and debate over politics with a drink or a spot to share satisfying food with family, and Long Sutton in Somerset is blessed with a very decent offering.
The Devonshire Arms Hotel sits at the heart of the historical village (it was named in the Doomsday Book and evidence of Roman occupation has been unearthed) and is a Grade II former hunting lodge offering mouth-watering food for its guests as well as a great selection of drinks including plenty of local beer, cider and ales.
The space is split between a traditional pub setting and restaurant area, though diners can choose where they want to eat and, for warmer days, there’s a large outdoor area to soak up the sun with a drink and a meal. The rustic décor encompasses its surroundings with images of gentlemen and wildlife on the walls, chunky wooden tables and an open fire surrounded by leather sofas. Offering a welcoming haven, I was drawn to the fireside and enjoyed an afternoon tipple cosied up next to the crackling logs.
The Devonshire Arms is part of The Epicurean Club – a handpicked collection of premium pubs and inns across Britain, be they traditional or contemporary, offering the highest quality food and accommodation for both city breaks and country retreats.
The Club gives access to exclusive events and quintessential British experiences all curated around four great passions — country activities, culture and heritage, food and drink, and nature. Those who sign up as Friends of the Club (it’s free to join) can enjoy extra benefits every time they book a stay or experience too, such as a drink on the house for all guests.
I headed over for a meal and stay in one of the nine rooms and, for a Friday in January, I was surprised at just how busy it was, until I ate the food, that is.
With a menu full of British classics, dishes included pub favourites such as steak and chips, burger, ham hock terrine and sausage and mash, as well as more refined options like cauliflower and green olive tagine, confit duck leg or a smoked salmon platter. The salmon platter starter looked delightful, draped with fennel and capers, and the rib eye steak with gorgeous chunky chips was undoubtedly enjoyed by my dining partner. I opted for the goats’ cheese mousse with pickled beetroot, beetroot puree, hazelnuts and micro herbs to start, followed by pan roast sea bass, new potato cake, greens and a white wine and cream sauce.
After a selection of breads with butter and balsamic vinegar and rapeseed oil, I tucked into my starter; a favourite of mine combining the classic ingredients of beetroot, goats’ cheese and nuts to provide a fully flavoursome dish. I always enjoy the creamy rich cheese mixed with earthy beetroot and crunchy pieces of hazelnuts – it’s a winning trio in my opinion and, in this case, there was plenty of it on my plate to be a fulfilling starter.
Next up was my sea bass and, after my first mouthful, I was so pleased I had chosen this. Not only did the piece of top-quality fish have the most perfectly crisp, salty skin, but the white wine sauce was utterly beautiful. Some green beans and cavalo nero paired nicely with the fish as did the potato cake, which had a lovely bubble and squeak texture with an additional oniony flavour – yum!
I seriously considered a dessert as the chocolate torte had especially caught my eye, but I was pleasantly full and satisfied after the food I had devoured so far, so I left it there.
With large sash windows overlooking the village green and allowing plenty of light into the spacious room, I was instantly pleased. High ceilings and pale walls helped to make the room feel even more capacious and I particularly liked the dark wood four poster bed frame, which was draped with a thin white material to create a canopy and pleasing cocoon at bedtime. There was a wood bench at the foot of the bed and two armchairs covered with grey tartan fabric with a basket of magazines to peruse and a bird patterned blind, which gave a nod to the rest of the decor around the pub as well as the countryside location.
A dark wood chest of drawers matched a large unit, which housed the TV and a desk and chair provided some useful space. I appreciated the vase of freshly cut cream roses and the array of thick feather cushions on the bed and bench certainly upped the comfort factor. The spacious bathroom held a large stand-alone bath as well as a big walk-in shower and provided some lovely smelling 100acre toiletries.
There was a little noise from the bar downstairs towards the end of the night, but that’s to be expected and it didn’t last long at all.
In a nutshell
I thoroughly enjoyed the food being served up, the peaceful location and the welcoming décor and staff. This is no ordinary village pub, if it were, we’d all be very lucky to have an eatery and bar like this on our doorsteps!
Rooms can be booked from £100.
Address: Long Sutton, Langport, Somerset TA10 9LP
Phone: +44 (0)20 8161 0100