Often you will find hotel restaurant menus either bland, limited or a bit repetitive, but this is definitely not the case with the Brasserie menu in the historic Woburn Restaurant at The Bedford Hotel in Tavistock.
Mike Coombes, the Marketing Manager at The Bedford Hotel kindly invited Julian and myself to an evening at The Woburn Restaurant to sample the Brasserie menu.
The Bedford Hotel is situated right in the heart of Tavistock and is steeped in history. Built on the remains of a Benedictine Abbey, the town of Tavistock, which now boasts some 11,000 residents, grew up around the Abbey which became the richest in the South West.
The town was given its Royal Charter in 1105.
The Abbey’s riches were seized by the Crown and the Abbey itself was destroyed during Henry VIII’s famed dissolution of the monasteries … not to mention a few marriages! His father, Henry VII, had even had the audacity to introduce the first licensing statute for alehouses in 1495.
As in many areas throughout Britain the feudal landlord was to give his name to the principal hostelry in the area. This was just the case in Tavistock with The Bedford Hotel taking its name from the Duke of Bedford who appointed no less an architect than Jeffry Wyatt who was also responsible for the transformation of Windsor Castle in 1824.
The inn, as it was at the time, was first noted in 1719. It’s transformation by Wyatt into The Bedford Hotel was completed in 1822, and a ballroom was added in 1830
For some years owned by the famous Forte dynasty, the Bedford Hotel has now returned to private ownership and once again enjoys its deserved position as Tavistock’s premier hotel.
Julian and I booked a table for two on a Thursday evening in September. Upon arrival we settled into the cosy bar area for our pre-dinner drinks and for Julian to sample the beer for our Dartmoor Real Ale Trail – Moor the Merrier blog (coming soon). Doug the bar man was a very happy smiley and well-informed chappie.
Julian ordered the Jail Ale and I tried a Salcombe Gin and Fentimans tonic. Julian will tell you all about his beer in his own blog. I had wanted to try the Salcombe Gin for a while and I was not disappointed, it has gone up into my top 3 favourite gins. The Bedford Hotel had a good range of gins, two real ales – Dartmoor IPA and Jail Ale and a very comprehensive and reasonably priced wine list.
Whilst enjoying our pre-dinner drinks we perused the menu and the wine list and gave our orders to Doug who then showed us through to the Woburn Restaurant.
The Woburn Restaurant offers contemporary dining in very relaxing, traditional surroundings. I for one was definitely looking forward to the food after the hotel has just scooped a duo of awards from Taste of the West, so will we agree with the Taste of the West judges when they said “The food is beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. The service was faultless with the staff making the judges feel welcome and valued. This is a charming and elegant building with a lovely relaxing ambience.”
Once settled in at our table, Rob the Restaurant Manager bought over The Bedford Bread board, a delightful selection of freshly made bread served with beetroot hummus, homemade butter and pesto.
For starters I finally decided on the Bedford ‘mushrooms on toast’, and Julian chose one of my fav’s too being the Chicken liver parfait, truffle butter, shallot marmalade, pickles and brioche.
The choice of mains was diverse ranging from Fish and chips, to Malaysian chicken curry through to the good ole fashioned beef pie. Everything where possible is sourced locally. I chose the Bedford chicken ‘kiev’, sladesdown chicken, black pepper sausagemeat, ‘mac and cheese’, heritage carrots and garlic butter croquette priced at £14.
Julian ordered the Dartmoor beef and Jail Ale pie, with Cornish new potatoes and this season’s best vegetables at £14. Two of Julian’s favourite things in one dish beef and beer – you can’t go wrong!
Choosing the wine was a little challenging as I prefer white and ordered chicken whilst Julian prefers red and had ordered beef. We decided upon a rather nice bottle of Pinot Noir – Marlborough Pinot Noir The Duchess which was £24 per bottle. The write up said that this wine is elegant, complex, aromatic aromas of fresh red berries, plums and spice – I wouldn’t disagree with that, it was very nice. The wines on the wine list ranged from £17 to £24 per bottle and they had 5 red and 5 white house wines to choose from by the glass.
As Julian’s pie was so big he couldn’t find room for a desert, however I had already spotted a Plymouth Gin junket on the menu (£6.50) – which for any gin lover is a no brainer!! It was served with lime macaroons and cucumber sorbet. The cucumber sorbet was AWESOME, so refreshing and complemented the gin perfectly.
Thanks goes to Rob the restaurant manager, Doug the barman and Amy our waitress for looking after us so well.
Going back to the comments from Taste of the West – well we agree whole-heartedly! If you are looking for good food in the heart of Tavistock that is reasonably priced then look no further.