Tasty Thursday Treat at The Horn of Plenty
Julie the owner of the luxurious Country House Hotel – The Horn of Plenty recently invited us to dine with them to sample their summer menu, we of course were delighted to accept as we are always really happy to try restaurants so we can recommend them, first hand to locals and our visitors to Dartmoor.
The Horn of Plenty at Gulworthy, just on the outskirts of Tavistock is everything you would want from a Country House Hotel. As soon as you walk in the front door you’ll feel right at home without the pretence or stuffiness of some country house hotels.
The main house dates back to 1866 and it was built for the Duke of Bedford’s Mine Captain, James Richards, who was responsible for the mining of copper and tin in the Tamar Valley. He definitely had great views over the mining empire he was in charge of.
The hotel was extended in 2014 so now offers 16 rooms, however food remains very much at the core of their offering, and in recognition of this they have been awarded 2 AA Rosettes.
Settled comfortably into the lounge, with pre dinner drinks, mine of course had to be a Tarquins Cornish Gin and Tonic and Julian savoured his sweet sherry, before we know it we are treated to freshly made canapés, my favourite being the Veal on a tapioca cracker. Here I must admit to a confession, we were enjoying the canapes and chat with Julie the owner of the hotel so much that I forgot to take a picture of our actual canapés but below is a picture to give you a flavour of the quality. They look too good to eat, don’t they?
Menu and wine choices selected, there was a seven-course tasting menu for £65 but as we weren’t sure we could fit seven course in and because we like to try different things we opted for the three-course option at £49.50, our mouths were now beginning to water….
A great way to get the appetite started up, in time to be invited to the white tablecloth and napkins dining room with the staggering view down into the Tamar Valley, we had a lovely view at the start of the evening, although by the end the mist had rolled in. It's worth asking for a table by the window.
I think the easiest way of giving you a review of our trip to experience the food and hospitality on offer at the Horn Of Plenty is just to show you all the pictures. From start to finish the whole visit was excellent.
As we relax and take in the breathtaking views the uniformed staff fuss around us with just the right level of attention. Wine poured (a rather tasty Rioja – Cormoran 2014, £28.50) and in comes a fine selection of homemade bread – now what to choose – Blue Cheese & Onion Seed; Rustic White, Seeded or Treacle Sourdough?
Treacle Sourdough for me and the Blue Cheese and Onion seeded for Julian – both of which were just amazing, so much so in fact I had to try another J
The bread was followed swiftly by a complimentary demitasse of Broccoli and Stilton – a tiny cup of loveliness which was almost worth the journey on it’s on. And just when I'm thinking, I wonder how I can blag my way into getting a second helping of this loveliness the waitress arrives with our yummy starters.
Ham hock and corn-fed chicken terrine with vegetables à la Grecque for me, and
Carpaccio of tuna, watercress and spring onion, with soy and sesame for Julian. This is the start of a wonderful meal.
Could the main course live up to the high expectations already built?
That will be a resounding YES! Not only are they a picture to look at they tantalize the taste buds with the flavours. This is the Dartmoor lamb and sweetbread with courgettes and Provencal vegetables, Julian’s main and I am reliably informed that it tasted as good as it looked.
I chose the Boccaddon Farm veal, broccoli, broad beans, turnips and black garlic aioli. Not a dish I would normally choose, more fool me as it was absolutely divine, the veal just melted in the mouth.
Portion size was just right as we still had room for the pudding.
Cornish strawberries with lemon posset, vanilla and basil for me, and
Raspberry parfait with white chocolate textures and sorrel for Julian. I thought this dish looked so pretty but truth be known I think Julian thought it a little ‘girly’ for him!
Finally the meal was rounded off by some dramatic petit fours and coffee
These consisted of flaming crème brulee some amazing white and dark chocolate truffles. After enjoying such a delicious meal and great evening we asked if we could see the man behind the flavours…
This is Head Chef Ashley Wright, and what a nice guy he is, truly down to earth, local lad who is truly passionate about the great local produce we have on offer in the south west. Currently over 70% of the produce used at the Horn of Plenty is sourced within Devon, and 90% from the South West. Thanks to Ashley, Julie and the team at the Horn of Plenty for a truly memorable evening.
Food at the Horn of Plenty already has a good reputation without me adding my fourpennoth, but if you haven't come across this hotel yet, then it is well worth making the short journey off the Moor in order to find it in the country lanes around Gulworthy.
Footnote: if you ever wondered how the hotel got it’s name – The horn of plenty (or cornucopia from Latin cornu copiae) is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flower or nuts.