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10 Restaurants with Rooms in the UK (Part 3) - Langford Fivehead – Lower Swell Somerset & Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent Description: Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

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Langford Fivehead – Lower Swell Somerset

Less a restaurant with rooms than an upmarket B&B which offers a table d’hôte. Langford Fivehead warrants inclusion for its superb food and gorgeous accommodation. Communal dining isn’t for everyone, but those who book into Peter Steggall and Orlando Murrin’s 15th-century manor know that they’re letting themselves in for. And guests are happy to get to know their fellow overnighters while enjoying Murrin’s stunning seasonal cooking. “Somerset has always had a great tradition of food production,” Murrin tells me. “And we’re lucky there are so many excellent suppliers close by.”

Description: Langford Fivehead – Lower Swell Somerset

Langford Fivehead – Lower Swell Somerset

Langford Fivehead is a medieval building, and the décor is a blend of Dark Ages chic – flagstone floors, hog-sized fireplaces, heavy tapestries – and modern boutique style. My bedroom, “10 July 1645”, has a enormous canopied bed, a honeyed colour scheme and elegant, French-style furniture. My bathroom is spacious and serene, with witty cherub tiles. The combination works because the whole place feels like a personality-filled home.

Description: Sitting room

Sitting room

My fellow guests and I take out seats at 8pm sharp for a pumpkin, leek and blue-cheese risotto. Murrin, a former editor at BBC Good Food, talks us through each course, and he puts up an impassioned defence of British veal before serving us just that – pink and tender as a rose, accompanied by garlicky gratin dauphinois. Steggall gives an engaging mini-lecture on a selection of West Country cheeses before a dessert of pear frangipani tart with tonka-bean ice cream is brought out to finish.

Description: Breakfast

Breakfast

The dishes may not have the gloss of those in a top restaurant, but it doesn’t matter. Murrin’s cooking is masterful, and the sense is of being at a smart house party with friends – albeit one where you are not expected to help with the washing-up.

Lower Swell, Somerset (01460 281159; www.langfordfivehead.co). Doubles from $195 B&B. Dinner (Fri and Sat only) $75 per person without wine.

Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

Description: Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

The views from Rocksalt are fabulous. Who’d have thought the ferry port of Folkestone could look so enticing when framed in floor-to-ceiling windows? Gordon Ramsay protégé Mark Sargeant opened the restaurant last summer, and its combination of Kentish food and Scandinavian-style design – dark-toned leather furniture, warm wood, linear patterns – is as much of a draw for Folkestonians as it is for itinerant foodies.

Description: The dinning room

Restaurant at the Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

Although upmarket, the restaurant serves local food for local people – and at reasonable prices, too. Sargeant’s inventive take on the cuisine of his home country can be seen throughout the extensive menu, and my starter of dressed crab with harissa is bold and confident. The piquant oiliness of the sauce goes very well with the tender crabmeat, and I have soon cleared my plate. My main course, stir-fried whelks with crispy noodles, gives the local favourite an Asian twist, infusing the rubbery flesh with honey and ginger. My dessert of gypsy tart evokes nostalgic memories of school dinners, though its butterscotch filling is as light as a soufflé.

 “The ethos at Rocksalt is seasonality, simplicity and local.” Sargeant tells me. “We source the best local ingredients, allowing the products to speak for themselves with little fuss”

Description: a pre lunch Rocksalt at Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

a pre lunch Rocksalt at Rocksalt – Folkestone Kent

The bedrooms, which are above sister restaurant The Smokehouse, just along the quay, also update the raw materials at their disposal with panache. The four cool but cosy chambers have been hewn from a red-brick Victorian structure in which dabs and bloaters were once smoked. The exposed brickwork that surrounds my antique iron bed is a stylish reminder of the building’s past: a state-of-the-art wet room, oversized lamp and stark, floral-print wallpaper are contemporary elements. And the gentle sounds of lapping water and muffled gull-caw prove as soporific as any nightcap in Rocksalt’s cocktail bar.

4 – 5 Fishmarket, Folkestone Kent (01303 212070; rocksaltfolkestone.co.uk). Doubles from $115 B&B. Dinner about $100 for two without wine 

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