The meal provided in this review was gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.
You might know the market town of Tavistock for its award-winning Farmers Market, or as the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake. It’s also where you will find The Bedford Hotel, just off the main square and opposite Tavistock Parish Church. It’s a very impressive stone building from the outside, a proper old style Coaching House, and inside it has all the charm and characteristics of its sister hotel The Two Bridges, just a short drive away on Dartmoor National Park.
It takes about an hour to reach the The Bedford Hotel from Exeter and we were fortunate to visit at the end of a sunny day so it was still just light and the views over the moors were fantastic, the sunset worth stopping the car to take the obligatory shot!
There is plenty of parking just to the side of the hotel, with easy accessible access to the Reception, but we chose to go in through the beautiful stone entrance at the front. There is an enclosed garden to the side where customers had been enjoying a beer and cups of tea in the afternoon sunshine and there is also a garden at the rear, where the River Tavy trickles by.
The bar/lounge area was a buzz with people, some enjoying a drink in the comfortable chairs, eating at tables next to the grand fireplace and we were joined by a few four legged friendly canines too which gave a very welcoming and relaxing feel to the room. We enjoyed a drink here before going into the Woburn Restaurant for Dinner. We could have lingered for a little longer….
The dinner menu was one where you could eat the lot, which made it a tough choice. There was plenty of fish, meat and non-meat dishes to choose from, something to suit everyone. We nibbled on some lovely warm rolls with unsalted butter, olive butter and delicious Moroccan humus while we chose what we were going to eat. The chefs make the most of Westcountry suppliers and it’s great to see these listed on the menu, with a focus on local produce.
My dining companion (Mr S) chose the Duck Terrine for starters which he enjoyed, particularly liking the tangy chutney, little popadoms and pickled cauliflower. I tucked into a Thai Crab Cake and the kimchi and lime curd added a sour citrus zing and the extra heat of the fresh chilli if you decided to eat those, which I did.
A fan of game and venison in particular, I chose the Dartmoor Venison for my main which was tender and perfectly cooked, just pink in the middle. I really enjoyed the sharpness of the poached blackberries and the croquette (braised haunch of venison) and new for me was date labneh.
Labneh is a strained yoghurt with the consistency of cream cheese used in Middle Eastern dishes and can be used as a dip. It’s easy to make yourself, so I will give that a try back in my home kitchen. There were lots of lovely different flavours on the plate. Mr S, who has enjoyed Cullen Skink on recent trips to Scotland, ordered the Smoked Haddock Risotto which was topped with a perfectly poached egg and delicate parmesan crisps. He enjoyed that and used the remains of the rolls to mop up his plate. He also chose a side of Jail Ale Battered Onion rings which he gobbled up.
Having already peeked at the dessert menu, I had my eye on the Dark Chocolate Marquise; this was really good. The firm chocolate mousse/torte was lovely and rich, then you had the crunchy and chewy texture of the honeycomb and the soft caramelised banana. I couldn’t scrape my plate any cleaner! The Affogato, a dessert served with a hot shot of coffee, was served with griottine cherries (particularly sour) and mascarpone ice cream, was quite different and it wasn’t until afterwards we realised Mr S should have poured the hot coffee over the ice cream.
We both really enjoyed our meal, care had been taken with the presentation and flavour of each dish. The restaurant had a very relaxing atmosphere and staff were very friendly. We may just have to return to try some of the other dishes on the menu when we make another special trip to Tavistock.