The Masons Arms Knowstone

British, Gastropub·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of The Masons Arms Knowstone

Silver Award

“I’d love to live next door to this quaint little pub” notes a fan of The Masons Arms – a thatched, 13th-century inn tucked into a hamlet amid the foothills of Exmoor. Inside, there’s a magnificent beamed bar with a log-burning inglenook, a sofa-filled lounge, and a separate restaurant with lovely views. But the real surprise is in the kitchen: Mark Dodson used to be head chef at Bray’s three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn before upping sticks and moving to Devon: “he not only has great pedigree, but he’s a thoroughly lovely chap with a lovely family too”, observes one visitor. These days, Mark spends his time sourcing top-notch produce from local suppliers and delivering a short daily menu of technically brilliant dishes notable for their stunning flavours and contrasts: cured salmon, crisp fennel and grapefruit; a ballottine of ham hock teamed with green peppercorns, piccalilli and tarragon vinaigrette; turbot on the bone with summer vegetables, brown shrimps and sorrel or breast of corn-fed chicken with artichokes, polenta and tomato jus. After that, perhaps go for limoncello parfait with lime granita. Overall, it’s “incredible stuff”. 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
British, Gastropub
Cosy, Traditional
One Michelin star
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Birthdays, Celebrations, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


There are a great any excellent gastropubs in the UK, but not many can claim to have a chef who once held three Michelin stars at the helm. The Masons Arms is that pub - simultaneously managing to preserve the atmosphere of a welcoming West Country boozer, whilst also serving immaculate British food in the dining room courtesy of former Waterside Inn head chef Mark Dodson.

Mark is the head of an all-star team that also includes Olivier Certain (formerly head chef at the excellent Clavelshay Barn restaurant) and between them, they cook up classic British fare with French flair. Try the terrine of chicken and ham hock with pea and mint vinaigrette to start, or the tuna loin with roasted vegetables, orange and five spice glaze. Mains include the likes of halibut with potato crust, wild mushrooms and jerusalem artichokes, loin of lamb with spiced potato croquette, smoked aubergine and cumin jus, and roasted pigeon royale on a crouton with pommes Anna and onion puree - a dish that could certainly grace the menu at The Waterside Inn.

There are rooms available at The Masons Arms as well, in case the journey back out of deepest, darkest Devon feels like too much after three courses. That also opens the door to The Masons Arms excellent wine list - a selection of fantastic old and new world bottles, with many available by the glass and the bottle at very affordable prices. Frankly, why wouldn't you stay a while longer? Knowstone itself is right on the edge of stunning Exmoor National Park, and this 13th-century inn has plenty of old-world charms of its own. 


Does the pub have a Michelin star?

Yes, it has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0

Can you book lunch?

Yes, the kitchen is open for both lunch and dinner.

Helpful? 0

The Masons Arms Knowstone is featured in


Knowstone, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4RY

01398 341231 01398 341231


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:00
Wed 12:00-14:00
Thu 12:00-14:00
Fri 12:00-14:00
Sat 12:00-14:00
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 19:00-21:00
Wed 19:00-21:00
Thu 19:00-21:00
Fri 19:00-21:00
Sat 19:00-21:00
Sun Closed


Share your thoughts with other diners

Write a review

1 Review 

Paul A

25 November 2015  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 5
Very satisfactory
The Mason's Arms, Knowstone This was our second visit and happily chef's Waterside pedigree shone through. The pub-style Mason's Arms is obviously more modest than the Thames-side three-star crowning glory of the Roux empire, but the quaint little mid-Devon village of Knowstone is more than adequately represented on the fine dining map by Mark Dodson's restaurant. Every dish was good and the service much improved by comparison with our previous experience here. The seared peppered tuna and oriental salad starter was something I had enjoyed before and it was still well up to standard, the pigeon breasts with a clever curried brussels sprouts purée were much appreciated, and the smoked duck salad with duck liver parfait and delicious cherry dressing also went down well. The mains continued the winning streak, the fish dish of monkfish in prosciutto with smoked mackerel croquettes and scallops almost upstaging the seasonal game offerings of local venison loin with pear done in red wine and a blue cheese gratin and partridge breast "en crépinette" beautifully balanced with caramelised apple and cranberries, both of which were first-class. Chocolate cheesecake and honeycomb ice cream was possibly justifiably the preferred dessert, although my spiced pumpkin crème brûlée matched with a lovely cinnamon ice cream definitely competed for the top of the podium. Everything considered this was an excellent meal and the icing on the cake, as it were, taking into account the aperitifs, wine and coffee, was the amazing value for money the bill represented. A most satisfactory evening.
Book a table

Call The Masons Arms Knowstone to make a booking on:

01398 341231 01398 341231

Visit their website

Sorry, you cannot spend SquareMeal vouchers here yet.

Other restaurants we like near The Masons Arms Knowstone

Check availability