How many of the South West’s Michelin-starred restaurants have you ticked off? Here’s your winter itinerary then …
Restaurant Hywel Jones, near Bath
Restaurant Hywel Jones (pictured above) is the reason Lucknam Park has retained a Michelin star for 16 consecutive years, and the executive chef’s precise and creative art has made this Wiltshire gem a must-visit for gourmets.
Any dining occasion at the hotel should start with cocktails in the drawing room: drink in the beautiful objet d’art, sumptuous furnishings and views over the manicured gardens before you even think of taking a seat in the dining room.
The best way to explore Hywel’s culinary talents, and experience some of the hero dishes with which he’s dazzled Lucknam diners over the years, is to plump for the seasonal tasting menu.
Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac
For a relaxed dining experience which focuses on locally landed seafood, secure a table at this tiny 15th century fisherman’s cottage.
Head chef Nathan Outlaw held two Michelin stars at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw (recently reinvented as Outlaw’s New Road) and became the only British chef with a two Michelin-starred fish restaurant.
The dining experience at Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen is all about exquisite small plates, which are paired with a clever curation of interesting wines. Hero dishes include Port Isaac lobster scampi with chilli jam and garlic mayonnaise, cured brill with red peppers, coconut and chilli, and whole dover sole with lemon and capers.
The Masons Arms, near Tiverton
For 15 years, Mark and Sarah Dodson have run their Michelin-starred restaurant (they were awarded the star within six months of opening and have held it ever since) and created a much-loved dining destination which people travel from all over the country to experience.
Before decamping with the family to Devon to create his own restaurant, Mark headed up the kitchen of the famed Waterside Inn at Bray in Berkshire. So, as you’d imagine, the cooking is on point: elegant, cleverly executed and pleasingly appropriate for the surrounding coast and countryside.
The Olive Tree, Bath
If a gastronomic getaway to Bath is on the cards, book a room at The Queensberry and a table for dinner at its Michelin-starred basement restaurant The Olive Tree.
Head chef Chris Cleghorn, who honed his skills under fellow Michelin members Michael Caines and James Sommerin, earned a star for the restaurant in 2018.
Six- and nine-course tasting menus are the perfect vehicle to take diners on a culinary tour of Chris’ talents. Dishes centre around a seasonal hero ingredient which is amplified by clever and creative flavour pairings: Wiltshire lamb rump, for example, is accompanied by lettuce, anchovy, ewe’s curd and mint. There are also vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free editions of the tasting menus.
The exceptional dining experience is complemented by a knowledgeable front-of-house team and a fabulous drinks list – don’t miss the opportunity to pair Chris’ incredible food with the sommelier’s expert wine flight.
Lympstone Manor, Exmouth
Seeking star-quality escapism? Let us recommend Michael Caines’ Lympstone Manor for an uber glamorous dine and stay experience.
When the chef proprietor began work on his luxury country house hotel, he designed the roomy kitchen and dining rooms to perfectly deliver his creative vision – and the result is an astonishingly special dining experience. His two-decade long Michelin-star run has continued unbroken and Lympstone got its Michelin star within six months of opening.
Three elegant dining rooms provide a choice of atmosphere and aesthetics, and a world-class wine cellar makes finding the perfect match for each course a breeze. Michael is also in the process of using the fruit of the Lympstone vineyard to create his own wines.
If you enjoyed Take 5: Michelin-starred dining finds, find more Trencherman’s Take 5 collections here.