When Dodson left The Waterside Inn and acquired the property in 2005 with his wife Sarah, it only took a year for his kitchen to win a Michelin star – which it has held onto ever since.
The roomy interior of The Masons Arms seems custom-built to straddle the difficult line between luxury and comfort. Dining al fresco is available when weather permits, but diners may find it difficult to choose between bucolic Devon views and the inviting, spacious dining area complete with timber-beamed roof and pale wood accents.
Customers have access to superb ales, but don’t neglect the arm-length wine list, which offers a wide range of wines from all over the world, including a particularly robust range of Burgundies and numerous reasonably priced house wines, like a Stimson Estate Merlot and a spicy pinot noir from Pays D’Oc.
As a graduate of a Roux establishment (The Waterside Inn), Mark Dodson is clearly a master of classical French cuisine, with a down-to-earth edge that situates his menu perfectly in the seasonal rhythms of rural British food, using sauces and jus to set his diners’ hearts palpitating. Customers may find a starter of Salted cod with crushed potatoes on the menu, but also a hunter’s delight like Wood pigeon breasts with beetroot purée, pine kernels and a sweet blueberry jus.