Review of the Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa near Taunton, Somerset
by Karen Jones
Karen Jones enjoys a relaxing stay at the stunning Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa in Taunton
Set between the Quantock and Blackdown Hills, The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa is a sight for sore eyes.
After a drive down the M5 to Taunton, this beautiful Regency country house, tucked away in a beautiful part of Somerset, was just the place to enjoy a relaxing stay, fabulous food and some time in the spa.
One of seven hotels in the Eden Hotel Collection owned by Sir Peter Rigby, The Mount Somerset dates to 1805, but is set in stunning Victorian gardens and even boasts its own peacock. In fact, the rich and sumptuous peacock feather is a motif across the hotel, picked up in some of the fabrics and cushions in the hotel.
Grand, yet not formal, this hotel exudes friendliness. We were warmly welcomed at reception and the standards of service did not falter once throughout our stay.
After we settled into our bedroom, which was spacious and beautifully furnished with exquisite fabrics and elegant furniture, we headed to the spa, with its relaxing hydrotherapy pool.
Both my partner and I were treated to the most amazing therapies. He had a men’s Comfort Zone hydra performance facial, which is designed to restore the moisture levels to the skin, while I enjoyed a Comfort Zone tranquility body massage, which used hot oil to soothe, calm, and relieve stress. Both treatments were bliss.
We were relaxed enough to enjoy a leisurely meal in the beautiful Peacock restaurant. Decorated in pale hues of soft grey, gold and blue, it felt quintessentially English and very elegant.
The food was also out of this world; head chef Stephen Walker clearly has talent and gets the best of out his team.
When even the amuse bouche – a tomato soup with balsamic – is stunning, you know you are in for a treat.
I started my meal with Devon duck and foie gras rolled in pain d’epice. This roast loin of local rabbit was wrapped in air dried ham and served with gooseberries. It was delightful. The gooseberries cut through the duck and foie gras, creating a perfectly balanced dish.
My partner also loved his velouté of summer pea soup, which was served with a poached hen’s egg, crème fraîche and a parmesan crisp, and it set the scene for our main courses, which again were tremendous.
My partner’s fillet of Turtons-reared Aberdeen Angus black beef melted in the mouth. Reared in Devon especially for their beef, the meat from this beast is renowned for its tenderness. The dish, which was served with baby carrots, butter fondant, baby leek, shallots, and Madeira jus, was superb.
We also enjoyed the roasted sea bass, with a fabulous crispy coating, and Brixham scallops, served with lightly curried green lentils, saffron potatoes, and cauliflower and sautéed samphire.
Pudding was a divine raspberry soufflé with its own sorbet and warm Madelines and a cheeseboard that featured no less than 15 local cheeses, including Dorset Blue Vinney, Stinking Bishop, and Partridge Blue, plus one of chef’s favourites from his home town, Lincolnshire Poacher.
It’s obvious why this restaurant has won awards for its outstanding cuisine and with the addition of lovely and attentive staff (our waiter Ben and our waitresses Anieta and Zaneta were delightful), it must surely be the perfect venue for a dinner, a weekend away or a wedding.
The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa, Lower Henlade, Taunton, Somerset TA3 5NB
Tel: 01823 442 500