Hotel Review: The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne in Dorset
If Sherborne isn’t on your list of places to visit then get it on there. This small ancient town in Dorset is brimming with an interesting history of kings, palaces and more and, with castle ruins and an abbey to explore, lovely eateries to dine at and a collection of shops to spend some cash in, you won’t be bored.
And if you wish to combine your love of food with a stylish place to lay your head then The Eastbury Hotel comes highly recommended. Situated in a Georgian townhouse and with a list of recent renovations under its belt (and with a few more to come), this boutique hotel has the personal touch and top notch restaurant to boot. I took a trip in Autumn and loved my stay, from the warm welcome I received to the glorious tasting menu I devoured and the beautifully decorated garden suite I stayed in – it was lovely.
The most noticeable aspect to catch my eye when I first entered my room (named Yew) was the stunning four poster bed. A beautiful and ornate wooded creation adorned with thick pale blue and cream fabrics with gold trim, this bed was cosy, comfortable and made me want one of my very own. The classically styled room had a high ceiling with painted beams, framed vintage maps adorning the walls and spotlights and lamps to create a warming atmosphere. French doors led out onto a private courtyard garden, which held a bistro dining set and also had access to the main hotel garden.
Little touches go a long way for me and the fresh flowers, homemade biscuits and generous portion of sloe gin in the room were very welcome. There were robes and slippers to add to the comfort factor as well as a blanket draped over the armchair by the doors. All of the furnishings were of high quality, from the armchair to the curtains and cushions. The bathroom was rather swish with a modern suite, including a jet bath, The White Company toiletries and a little window overlooking the courtyard.
With a desk and chair to utilise and plenty of wardrobe and bedside table space, this room was my little haven for a few days.
The 2 AA rosette awarded Seasons Restaurant offered up a glorious dinner and breakfasts for my guest and I and is headed up by Matt Street. For our evening meal we snapped up the tasting menu with no question – cheese brûlée, crab, juicy lamb and chocolate courses? There was no argument, and with a pianist tinkling away this really felt like something special. The atmosphere was elevated by low lighting, candles flickering, comfy dining chairs and a lovely view of the gardens through the many windows.
Costing a very reasonable 45 with an extra 25 for a wine pairing, the meal started with an amuse bouche of warming butternut squash soup with roasted nuts, olive and focaccia bread with a tomato butter rolled in paprika to resemble the juicy fruit – a nice touch. Next up was a pork coppa with snaps, peas, burrata and olive oil with a glass of Chenin Blanc – a lighter offering with a old pairing of peas and that hammy flavour.
Vale of Camelot cheese brûlée with pear, celeriac and walnuts was my favourite course – the accompanying glass of Muscat was like drinking honey and fruit juice and complemented the beautiful gentle favour of the blue cheese. The nuts, crisp celeriac and fresh were the perfect additions and I couldn’t fault this in fact I wanted another portion! This was followed with a Devon crab dish with cucumber, horseradish, apple and dill and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. A vibrant and refreshing green sauce was soaked up beautifully by the crab and the crisp wine was perfect matched – the only thing missing? A spoon to scoop up every last morsel! A rump of lamb with caramelised red onions, Greek yogurt, courgette and oregano arrived with a Pinot Noir and this was a lovely autumnal dish with a good variety of flavour. I am not the biggest fan of lamb but my guest is and he loved this.
The first of two desserts (oh yes) was a little bowl of caramelised banana with salted caramel and pecan brittle. Sat in little tray of coffee beans, meaning the lovely aroma blended with all of those tasty flavours, this was a brilliant idea and I loved the variety of textures in the bowl too. And finally a Valrhona chocolate cremeux with hazelnut ice cream an passion fruit. A rich, delicious dessert with a welcome kick of tangy fruit, this was the ideal end to the meal.
All in all this was accomplished and creative cooking with some very tasty, well presented dishes on a well balanced menu with really good wine pairings. Really, really good.
Buoyed by our lovely meal (and those wines) we headed to one of the lounges to sink into a sofa by the fire with an espresso martini and an Irish cream. A rather cosy end to our meal and a great place to relax if the weather is playing up and you don’t feel like moving very far or for a post dinner drink like us.
If you’re coming away to relax after exploring the abbey or castle ruins then this is the ideal place, with a drawing room, morning room, bar, snooker room/event room and lovely gardens to relax in – with outdoor games and a dining pod too – you will receive a warm welcome from a friendly face. As it happens this hotel shares its owners with The Cary Arms in Babbacombe, Devon and I felt the same personal touches and quality when I visited there as well – especially in my gorgeous beach hut suite with brilliant bay views – check this out here.
The stylish stone-walled Cellar Bar leads on to the restaurant and offered a nice space to relax in with a pre-dinner drink. I thought the wine selection as good as well as the spirits and it was a really cosy space with low armchairs and dark blue leather stools at the bar, soft lighting and paintings of fifties style women on the walls.
A lot of improvements are still being planned, which include updating some of the décor, the introduction of a Hobbit hole style spa in the gardens and Victorian potting sheds style suites outside with private terraces and fire pits – and dog-friendly too. It all sounds very exciting and I cannot wait to return!
IN A NUTSHELL
A peaceful, relaxing and stylish hotel with a restaurant deserving some special recognition, The Eastbury Hotel – and Seasons Restaurant – is a home from home and a place I would return to again and again.
A cosy double starts at £170 B&B per night.
Address: Long St, Sherborne DT9 3BY
Phone: 01935 813131