The Acorn Inn was a fantastic homage to Thomas Hardy – with incredible food

“Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…”

In case you were wondering, the above is a quote from one of the greatest novels of all time – Tess Of The D’Urbervilles.

Written by Thomas Hardy (no, not that one) in 1891, it follows Tess Durbeyfield as she is sent on a quest to seek a fortune from her aristocratic ancestors, the d’Urbevilles, with some sexual morals, murder and a job as a milkmaid thrown in for good measure.

Imagine my excitement then, when I arrived at The Acorn, only to find it was Hardy’s local while he was creating this 19th century masterpiece, and is even mentioned in the novel.

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This 16th century coaching inn is everything you could want in a quaint weekend away, with its leaning walls, rustic adornments and wisteria weaving its way around the stone work.

Located in the rural village of Evershot, in Dorset, a visit to The Acorn, known as The Sow & Acorn in the Hardy novel, is like stepping back in time, but with the added modern twist of fantastic food and bedrooms.

We arrived just after breakfast so we dropped our bags of and went to see the sights of Dorchester and Monkey World.

If the weather had been better we could have opted to walk through a park with wild, roaming deer, but the drizzling rain helped make up our minds on what option to take.

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We arrived back at the hotel just before 5pm, where we were shown to the most delightful of rooms, complete with four-poster bed and window seat overlooking the cute cottages in the village.

It truly was beautiful, so we set about getting ourselves ready for our dinner in the pub’s restaurant.

The pub has ten en-suite bedrooms, which are all pet-friendly, with dogs also allowed in the bar area, which has flagstone floors, old beams, low ceilings and a roaring fire to truly make you feel comfortable.

We arrived for dinner at 8pm and the restaurant was already almost full, so we decided to whet our appetites with a Dorset gin & tonic while perusing the menu.

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We were told the specials starter of scallops were quickly running out, and would we like any saving, but there such a beautiful choice on the menu we allowed them to be served to other diners.

We were brought a selection of some of the tastiest bread we had ever eaten, fresh from the bakery opposite, and we had to stop ourselves asking for seconds.

To start, I ordered the twice-baked crab and Cornish Yarg soufflé on pickled samphire, with a saffron and dill veloute and cheese straws (£8.50). My partner chose the open lasagne of confit rabbit, leeks and wild mushrooms with cheese crisps and rosemary jus (£8.25).

We indulged in the beautiful starters and couldn’t believe how much flavour was in them.

The soufflé was light yet densely packed with flavour, and the open lasagne was rich and absolutely to die for.

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As we waited for our mains, we took in the surroundings and were delighted to be in such a beautiful pub with a great atmosphere.

All the diners were deep in conversation and enjoying themselves, and the staff were impeccably polite – they couldn’t do enough for us.

For our main course, I chose the 10oz rump of Dorset ruby beef with roasted cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots, triple-cooked chips and béarnaise sauce (£24), and he went for the trio of pork, which included braised cheek, slow-roasted belly and smoked bacon-wrapped loin, with sage-creamed potatoes, bramley apple sauce and a Madeira reduction (£19).

I must have been served the whole side of a cow, and to say I usually order a rib-eye cut, the rump was melt in the mouth and perfectly cooked to my rare liking.

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The triple-cooked chips dipped in the flavoursome béarnaise were out of this world, and I was eagerly helped with my portion by the boyfriend.

The pork dish was also sublime, and I was allowed to eat the crispy crackling which was a real highlight.

We were stunned by the quality of the meat and the execution of the accompaniments, and couldn’t believe the portion sizes.

By this time we were well and truly stuffed, and decided to have our puddings back in the room so we could put our pyjamas on – much more room for food that way.

Without any hesitation, the staff obliged and brought us a baked vanilla cheesecake with candied orange, marmalade and finished with cranberries, and a medley of ice creams including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, salted caramel and honeycomb.

I wish I could tell you what the puddings were like, but as I was in the bathroom getting ready the boyfriend had taken it upon himself to eat it all for the both of us.

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I was told they were both amazing.

We had such a comfortable stay at The Acorn we slept in over breakfast, with a wake-up call at 11am notifying us of our laziness.

Thankfully, the staff had left out several continental options for breakfast, as we apologised profusely for the lateness.

It was such a splendidly comfortable stay, though, so they only had themselves to blame.

The Acorn

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