Fine-dining pub on Exmoor
Everyone longs to stumble across an Exmoor local serving the kind of dining delicacies they would willingly travel across heath and heather to devour, and the newly renovated Bittescombe Inn (formerly Lowtrow Cross Inn) at Upton ticks the box. It has recently been bestowed with new owners (becoming part of The Bittescombe Estate), a snazzy makeover and, crucially, a new excellent chef.
Frenchman Olivier Certain has spent more than 25 years in the South West working in some of its best dining pubs, including The Swan at Bampton and Michelin-starred The Masons Arms in Knowstone. His menus provide a seasonal tour of the terroir by utilising an impressive selection of estate-grown-and-reared ingredients, backed up by produce from nearby suppliers such as Wonky Horn Organic and El Pescadero. Exmoor-centric dishes include the likes of a starter of Bittescombe charcuterie with pickles and locally grown leaves, and mains like braised haunch of Bittescombe Estate venison with roasted loin, creamed potatoes, roasted seasonal veg and red wine sauce. The pudding list merges elevated classics with more unusual options such as iced pear parfait with compressed pear, almonds and a Bittescombe Honey and black sesame tuille.
Devour it all in a dining room that’s aglow with low lighting and the flame of a woodburning stove in winter, while admiring the owners’ eclectic artwork that lines the walls.
The 17th-century former farmhouse has five cosy and individually styled rooms, allowing guests to postpone the drive home and explore the wine list curated by food and drink writer and broadcaster William Sitwell.
Discover more Trencherman’s dining pubs in Somerset here.