Genuinely smart and classy, the Pheasant Hotel draws an appreciative crowd of regulars – from all over the country. Run by head chef Peter Neville and Jacquie Pern (‘partner’ of Andrew Pern at the nearby Star Inn), it makes an elegant package, providing comfort and intimacy with its plump furnishings, open fires, lampshades shedding a luminous glow and a glorious, wisteria-draped terrace with views over the village duck pond. It continues to purvey the finer things in life with the utmost professionalism, and the kitchen’s commitment to seasonal produce is matched by an ever-changing menu full of classical touches and creativity – from an utterly delicious black truffle risotto with caramelised onions and parmesan, via tender braised pig’s cheeks and squid with Alsace bacon and smoked butter mash, to a delectable sweet cep and white chocolate tart with macadamia ice cream.
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The lovely setting, with the sun shining and the garden with its pond, puts the diner in a good mood to enjoy lunch which, here, is a serious step above pub food with a carefully prepared selection of dishes and an interesting wine list with a couple of notable English representatives. Our first courses, extremely tasty crab risotto and very good local asparagus with salmon, led into a satisfying rabbit pie and some wild sea bass with crispy skin and lovage velouté. Our desserts were just as successful, an affogato that was almost criminally generous and presented with an extra dousing of strong coffee, and chocolate cake contrasted with olive oil ice cream and a slightly gingery Breton biscuit. Wine is clearly taken seriously to judge by the Coravin selection, but my red was served in a smudgy glass and the bottles not shown until I requested a new glass and to see the bottles. Nevertheless, very enjoyable and good value for money.
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