Mark Dodson and his wife Sarah took on Devon’s the Masons Arms, a thirteenth-century thatched inn, in 2005, where they began serving perfectly cooked British and French classic dishes, but in the relaxed atmosphere of a local.
They were awarded a Michelin star just one year later, which they have retained since. And as well as consistently ranking amongst the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs, the Masons Arms has been named North Devon’s Best Restaurant and Michelin’s Pub of the Year 2011.
The pub, which offers gorgeous views of the rolling hills of Exmoor, serves a regularly-changing a la carte menu with highlights including foie gras escalope with citrus fruits; venison loin with potato and celeriac gratin; heritage carrots and cavalo nero; and duck breast with plum jam and pearl barley “risotto”.
Desserts include banoffee mille feuille with pecan praline; dark chocolate ganache with yoghurt sorbet and passion fruit syrup; and chestnut soufflé with cinnamon crème Anglaise and mandarin sorbet.
The pub offers an extensive, but affordable, range of largely French wines with many bottles costing well under £50. Also there is a variety of real ale on draught and Champagne by the glass.
Head chef Mark Dodson has some pretty impressive credentials – for twelve years, he was head chef at Michel Roux’s world-famous, three Michelin-star winning restaurant the Waterside Inn, Bray.
A range of masterclasses for private parties are available for £58 per head.
Dodson and his wife Sarah also set up a shop from the pub called the Food Station, which offers a selection of hampers that include chutneys and marmalades made in-house, as well as locally-produced cheeses, ciders and craft ales.