Seductive hotel with seriously good dining.
A well-maintained Elizabethan manor in rolling grounds, Combe House has a working Victorian kitchen garden at its disposal. One reporter enjoys ‘the feeling of entering a proper country house,’ with ‘wonderful views of the Devon countryside’. A mural of these vistas decorates one of the dining rooms.
The glorious interiors make an elegant setting for Hadleigh Barrett's sustainably sourced cooking: a celebration of locally grown and reared produce. Dishes exhibit a fine-tuned precision, with three-dimensional flavours and juxtapositions that make sense. Taste the Asian notes of salmon confit with mooli and pickled cucumber dressed in wasabi mayonnaise and soy, before zipping over to North Africa for Moroccan-spiced loin and shoulder of pork with salted lemon couscous, butternut squash purée and almonds, or back home for mutton suet pudding with crushed roots and kale.
Desserts take in Devon honey cake with caramel banana and peanut-butter ice cream, and the cheeseboard displays some notable regional specimens.
The wine list skims the vinous world's surface, netting some fine growers; prices start at £24 (£6.50 a standard glass).
Cooking score: 5.
Reproduced courtesy of The Good Food Guide 2014