Review: The Montague Inn
food magazine - January 01, 2011
“Halfway to everywhere in the middle of nowhere” is how The Montague Inn describes itself. Indeed, this 18th century local hiding down the lanes of Somerset is not easy to find, but that’s only part of its appeal. Friendly and unpretentious, owners Sean and Suzy O’Callaghan work behind the bar, chatting with visitors and pulling pints of local cider and ale straight from the cask. Meanwhile, an unabashedly friendly dog policy promises biscuits every time a pooch drags its owner back to the bar. But canines aren’t the only creatures guaranteed a good feed. Humans, too, are remarkably well catered for in the bar’s adjacent restaurant.
With high ceilings and contemporary wooden furniture, the restaurant is surprisingly modern compared to the traditional pub. However, the food remains grounded in flavours and traditions that embody the countryside visible through the restaurant’s rear wall of French windows. Chef John McGeever prepares good, simple British food made with the best local ingredients (his suppliers are proudly listed on the Inn’s website).
After a pint (or two) at the bar, the potted brawn is a good place to start, served on a breadboard with crisp toast and tomato chutney. For mains, the free range duck breast is served pink and juicy, while the fillet of line caught sea bass comes delicately seasoned with a gorgeous sweet pepper and tomato sauce. Desserts stay true to the season, such as warm apple and treacle tart with vanilla ice cream. If you don’t have anywhere to be the next day, finish with some Calvados or local apple brandy and promise yourself you’ll be back. The convivial atmosphere alone makes The Montague Inn worth saving in your sat nav; the food makes it worth staying for dinner.
The Montague Inn, Shepton Montague, Wincanton, Somerset, BA9 8JW. 01749 813213. www.themontagueinn.co.uk
Sample á la carte menu
- Dill & beetroot home cured gravadlax, horseradish & lemon crÃ¨me fraiche, £6.95
- Leek & Dorset blue vinney soufflé, pine nut & raisin salad, £6.95
- Slow baked Somerset belly pork, basil & sage faggot, black pudding potato cake, cider & thyme Sauce, £14.50
- Free range duck breast, potato fondant, red wine jus, £18.50
- Apple and treacle tart with vanilla ice cream, £5.95
- Apple and almond d’artois with calvados sauce, £5.95