• Inspired Dining

    & Stylish Rooms
  • Somerset!

    on a plate
  • Somerset!

    on a plate
  • Somerset!

    on a plate
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INSPIRED DINING

Inspired by what? Well, a chef can draw inspiration from many things. From a great recipe, a review of some other chef’s achievements, a glimpse of a Master Chef masterpiece or even a tweeted snap of somebody’s dinner!

But our underlying, day-to-day inspiration comes from where we are. People who live here often take it for granted, but we are lucky enough to be reminded by our guests that Somerset has something very special. We start with the enormous advantage that the produce grown, reared or caught on our doorstep is second to none. So when we say that Somerset provides our inspiration, it is no more than a simple statement of fact.

Dine Finely

If we say so ourselves Jools’ skill is in feeding a small number of people with simply wonderful food, in an unhurried manner, and that’s the way we try to make the restaurant run.

With the produce we have available to us the most important quality in a chef is restraint. Let the intrinsic quality work its magic then leave it alone. Bring out the flavours but keep it simple. Our presentation may seem a little stark, not as primped as devotees of Master Chef may expect, but Jools just can’t bring himself to ‘gratuitously garnish’ just for effect.

Slow Food? Well, it’s certainly not fast food!

With the exception of the ice cream everything we serve at The Pilgrims is home-made. Virtually nothing comes ready made out of a packet. Everything is prepared and cooked by Jools with help from Sally. Whatever you choose will be cooked to order which means that you may have to wait a little longer than we are all used to in this frenetic age. But the table is yours for the evening and although we work as quickly as we can, we assume that you would rather have something worth waiting for than “fast food”.

Families are always welcome to dine at The Pilgrims but, in our own experience, children don’t like children’s menus. So we don’t have one. And some people just have smaller appetites. Most of our main courses can be prepared in a smaller portion, for a smaller price.

 

The best from the ‘Appellation of Somerset’ on a plate

We find the word ‘local’ crops up a lot when The Pilgrims is discussed, not necessarily in the traditional pub sense, although many of our regular diners are ‘locals’ who see us as their neighbourhood restaurant. It’s more that we have become a bit of a focal point for good things produced hereabouts, a showcase for and champion of many of the wonderful artisan crafted drinks and foodstuffs from what would be the Appellation of Somerset, if there were any justice. We’re not fanatical about it, but we are more than a bit passionate. If our food is ‘Inspired’ then this is what inspires it.

This means that our menu is something of a moveable feast - changing at least monthly and often daily - with the seasonal availability of fresh ingredients. Almost all of our vegetables are locally and organically grown. Our cheeses are all made within 30 miles, they just happen to be world-class cheeses; milk and cream come from Olive Farm’s Guernsey herd, a mile away for any self- respecting crow; our bacon is from Denhay’s in Bridport; eels are smoked at Brown & Forrest on the Somerset levels; fresh fish comes direct from Bridport; Jon Thorner sources all our meat from local farms; salads are grown by Charles Dowding and most of our vegetables by a local organic co-operative. Jools makes most of our bread from locally milled organic spelt and wheat flours, topping up from Phil at Lievito around the corner. Lovington’s Ice Creams and Cottage Brewing are also in Lovington.

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  • SOMERSET ON A PLATE

    Charles Dowding – The Green Grower

    Here we have to declare an interest. Even if Charles didn’t grow the best salads and vegetables we’ve ever tasted, we would still want to see him every week. He’s just one of the nicest men on the planet. He doesn’t believe it but picking up from him on a Friday is a high point of Jools’ week and both the man and the produce provide inspiration in spades. Opening the box to see what we’ve got is like Christmas. How he finds the time to grow all this and run his courses, give lectures and write his books we have no idea. Charles is much, much more than just a supplier.
  • SOMERSET ON A PLATE

    Samways - The Fishmonger

    Samways have been a vital supplier to us for Donkey’s years. Through their buyers in the fish markets from Brixham to Newlyn they source the very finest fish and seafood, prep it in Bridport and deliver it six days a week. But more than that, they are our eyes at the markets. If a boat comes in with a few large bass, which Jools loves to serve, they snaffle them for us. If their diver happens upon a nice patch of big scallops, they grab them, then grab the phone. Samways are much more than just suppliers.
  • SOMERSET ON A PLATE

    Jon Thorner – The Butcher

    A good butcher is a chef’s best friend, and Jon is the only supplier we inherited when we bought The Pilgrims. At that time he was behind the counter at dawn every day at his butcher’s shop in a converted building on the family farm, and had just bought a couple of freezers. 20 years later and Jon Thorner’s is a local success story with a major Q Guild butchery business.
    In all that time their commitment to quality has never wavered once. Tim, who looks after us day to day makes it his business to get us the finest Somerset reared meat and poultry. And occasionally a personal masterclass on how to do the various ‘pantry trims’ that a chef will do to make the cuts ready for restaurant service. Jon Thorner’s are much more than just suppliers.
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