The Lord Poulett Arms, Hinton St George
Come on in to this much garlanded, gastro pub with rooms in exquisite Hinton St George, nr Crewkerne
Fans of the previous Lord Poulett need not worry; the confident team behind the popular and award-winning The Talbot in Mells and The Beckford Arms in Tisbury, have taken it under their wing with their trademark style, adding an exciting new chef Phillip Verden (formerly of Summer Lodge in Evershot), sensitively refreshing the decor and introducing some nice touches of their own.
Cut above pub situated in the heart of one of Somerset’s prettiest villages, Hinton St George, not far from Crewkerne and Ilminster. Warm, relaxed and friendly with crackling fires in virtually every room and enthusiastic young staff at the ready. Décor is a tasteful update on the traditional, with designer wallpaper, modern art and glass pendants alongside the ticking grandfather clocks, chandeliers and portraits of wigged gentlemen who have seen a few visitors come and go since the doors first opened in 1680.
Discreet Christmas decorations and candlelight add to the cosy, romantic vibe.
Game of chess?
Eat in the main room, adjacent bar area or separate, smaller room.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
The menu strives to go above and beyond the usual pub classics while incorporating local ingredients in imaginative ways. Here’s the Lord Poulett platter, a smorgasboard of a starter comprised of bar snacks popular with the locals, including duck pancakes, pork balls, curried eggs and peanuts.
For the main, chargrilled monkfish with cinnamon roasted squash, sweetcorn and spiced apple – delicious, with well-balanced, unusual flavours – washed down with a lovely crisp Stina from the Dal Matia region of Croatia.
For dessert, a light and sublime fig bavarois with frosted almonds and yoghurt.
There are five double rooms, three ensuite and two with private bathrooms across the corridor. Despite being on the roadside, room No 1 was quiet and cosy with a very comfortable bed to sleep off the excesses of the evening.
The slipper bath in the room…
… with a lovely selection of natural Bramley toiletries, including lavender, geranium and spearmint bath salts …
… proved irresistible.
Lots of nice touches like delicious homemade shortbread, a heritage radio, Shorelines book of poetry and fresh milk delivered to your door in the morning.
Cereals with homemade granola, prunes, yoghurt, fresh orange juice and homemade jams anyone?
A full Somerset with black pudding and perfectly poached eggs hit the spot.
Cup of tea? Made with leaf tea poured from a proper silver tea pot, of course!
Not feeling 100%? Help yourself to paracetamol and ibuprofen …
… a Bloody Mary could do the trick.
A beautifully planted terrace (a car park in an earlier incarnation) with a petanque piste for games when the weather’s right.
OUT AND ABOUT
Wellies on for the 45-minute round walk to the spreading oak tree (also known as the bouncing tree), one of the oldest oaks with the widest spread in England dating back to the 14th century. Wellies off for a visit to nearby National Trust’s Montacute House, built by Sir Edward Phelips (the man who prosecuted Guy Fawkes) in the 16th century. Impressive royal portraits on permanent loan from the National Portrait Gallery on the top floor. You’re about half an hour’s drive away from the cliffs and fossils of the Jurassic coast and the stunning Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Modern dining and cosy nights away in a relaxed old pub in a beautiful part of Somerset.
Good for: foodie couples, families, groups of friends for grub; romantic nights away for couples; families can stay over in a family room/loft space with interconnecting rooms; urbanites looking for a rural treat for a special weekend away;
Not for: people who want bog standard pub grub and a large bar area. It’s more of a restaurant than a traditional drinking pub.
The damage: not bad, with starters £6–9, mains £13–24, puds, £4–7. Rooms start from £85 per room, B&B.
Lord Poulett Arms, High Street, Hinton St George, Somerset TA17 8SE. Tel 01460 73149. lordpoulettarms.com