Over the past few months I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this trendy new country house hotel – from it’s eclectic interiors to its ambitious young kitchen team. So, as we wound our way along it’s long drive and the elegant manor house emerged from behind the trees, I knew we were in for a treat. Like the honey coloured Pig at Combe, there’s something a little bit magical about Pachoe House’s period facade. Two well manicured topiary trees sit either side of the entrance and as you step inside you’re greeted by some of the politest staff around.
Fellow Devon Foodie writer Collette had stayed at the hotel over New Year’s and was gifted a complimentary Afternoon Tea voucher that we brought with us on the day. We were excited to see what pastry chef Samuel Brook would bring to the table and I for one was keen to see if Paschoe House lived up to the hype.
For our afternoon tea we were seated in the Morning Room: a light and airy space complete with a grand piano, a statement fireplace, a rather convincing taxidermy fox and eclectic butterfly wallpaper. Next door there’s a cosy bar space which appears to have once been a library, decorated with tasteful olive walls, rows of local spirits and of course the typical stuffed ostrich above the fireplace (as one does).
I recently read a magazine review, in which the author noted a lack of background music when she dined at Paschoe House. They have clearly remedied this because there was plenty of classical music to enjoy in the background and the atmosphere itself was very relaxing.
Traditional Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea at Paschoe House isn’t your typical array of cucumber finger sandwiches or overly-sweet scones. For starters, your pastries and savoury treats are served on a purpose built ‘shelf’ which allows you to view and select which pastry you would like to sample next. This unique form of presentation not only bucks the usual trend of dainty porcelain plates but it also solidified my view of Paschoe House as the younger, slightly trendier cousin to establishments such as Boringdon Hall (which we also love, I should add). It’s refreshingly different – a characteristic which is pretty consistent elsewhere in the hotel.
In terms of the selection itself, Paschoe House is constantly changing its afternoon tea offerings. During our visit we enjoyed savoury treats such as Chicken & Avocado finger sandwiches and sweet pastries, including passionfruit macarons and millionaire shortbread slices. Overall, we were impressed by the quality of the food. The macarons were perfectly made and the quality of the savoury ingredients – such as the salmon and chicken – was undeniable. For the price you pay (£25.50pp) you get rather a lot of choice and you do not feel rushed in the slightest.
Our only issue with the afternoon tea was sadly the scones. Unfortunately, the texture just wasn’t right. Despite the fact that they were warm and clearly fresh from the oven, when we cut into them they instantly disintegrated because they were SO crumbly. The texture was not dissimilar to shortbread and while this did not effect the flavour (or our ability to eat them!) we did feel that it was the one element of the afternoon tea that could have been improved.
After we enjoyed our afternoon tea we were treated to a quick tour of the hotel, during which we got to view some of the hotel’s 14 bespoke bedrooms. The decoration of each room has been overseen by owner Tabitha (27) and each of the specially designed rooms is named after a form of British wildlife.
Chief among the rooms is ‘Stag’, the Paschoe House Bridal Suite. This spacious room contains a roll-top bath, a stunning four poster bed and fabulous views of the grounds. There’s also the aptly named ‘Bat’, a pretty little room with a lofty ceiling and the kind of bathroom that most of us could only dream of one day owning!
When fellow Devon Foodie writer Collette stayed for New Year’s Eve, she stayed in ‘Hedgehog’ – a cosy little room with olive green walls and a large, luxurious bathroom. Apparently, during the buildings renovation work they found an old cigarette tin in Hedgehog’s walls, containing lover letters from a servant of the house to a previous owner. We thought that this was a really lovely story and added to that little sense of magic that seems to permeate throughout the hotel.
We were mighty impressed with this country house hotel. Paschoe House isn’t doing things according to ‘the book’ yet it seems to be right on track. The interiors are unique, the staff are exceptionally polite and the afternoon tea is contemporary and well thought out.
As I mentioned previously, my cowriter Collette stayed at Paschoe House for New Year’s Eve and she felt that the food was certainly on its way to contending with a lot of other hotels in the region. While I haven’t personally tried the lunch or dinner offerings, I was made to feel welcome and enjoyed my afternoon tea so much, that I will certainly be returning to give their dinner a try.
Paschoe House is far from the most expensive hotel in these parts, especially when you consider the little luxuries they have on offer, and so next time you’re looking to book something special I’d certainly recommend you give it a try.