Review: All change at the Ram's Head Inn at North Dolton
PUBLISHED: 08:15 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 08:15 26 April 2016
The Ram's Head Inn at Dolton has been transformed by its inventive new owners
If you haven’t called in at the Ram’s Head Inn at Dolton for some time, you may have quite a surprise next time you do. And if you’ve never been there at all, now’s the time to make the effort.
The inn, at the heart of this rural North Devon village, has been transformed in recent months by its new owners Simon Hunt and Darren Eastwood.
Since moving to the Devon countryside from regency Bath they’ve thrown themselves into creating a welcoming home-from-home atmosphere at the 17th century former coaching inn.
Simon’s background is in interior design, so it’s no surprise the refurbishment has been done with impeccable taste. In a charming touch he’s even brought pieces of furniture from the family home, such as a beautiful old sideboard and a handsome grandfather clock.
A concrete floor has been dug up, to reveal a centuries-old flagstone floor, worn smooth by the feet of customers long ago. Woodburning stoves throw out a generous warmth on a cold day. Upstairs the inn has nine guest bedrooms, which are all being brought up to date, and the owners have also bought the old village sweet shop next door, now available as a self-catering cottage that can sleep seven.
Both Simon and Darren are trained chefs but in an inspired move have put chef Daniel Tugwell in charge of the kitchen, allowing them to concentrate on making sure customers are happy in the bar and restaurant.
Daniel, who formerly cooked at the Michelin-starred Masons Arms and the acclaimed Yeolden House Hotel, has created an exciting menu, taking pub food classics and giving them a modern twist. There’s a fabulously tasty fish pie and a surprisingly light steamed beef and ale suet pudding. Desserts include a highly unusual (but delicious) take on the traditional trifle. There’s an impressive wine list too, hand picked by Simon and very reasonably priced, plus a choice of well-kept beers.
Simon and Darren say the welcome they’ve had since moving to Dolton with their four dogs and three cats has been very special.
They are now making sure the Ram’s Head offers a similarly enthusaistic welcome to guests on a regular basis, including special evenings with a culinary theme from around the world.