For a quintessential English lunch Mortons House Hotel in the heart of historic Corfe Castle is the place to dine.

With the landmark castle peering over the village below, this 16th century Grade 2 Elizabethan Manor house and restaurant is a beautiful rural spot.

Mortons House is one of the earliest in Corfe and perhaps the finest. Dating back to around 1590, the house was originally known as Dacombs, after William Dacomb. William was a wealthy landowner and the Dacomb family themselves were prominent citizens of the village of Corfe.

Dacombs was extended in 1666, probably with stone taken from the ruined castle. Inherited by John Morton in 1712, the house was then passed to the Bond family through marriage. It has retained its unique period features, with each of its 21 bedrooms having their own charm and appeal.

The characterful Tudor manor house has been privately owned by the Clayton family since October 2000 and they have scooped accolades for their hard work – this award-winning hotel boasts 2AA Fine
Dining Rosettes which they have held since 2002, plus they won Small Hotel of the Year in 2005, finalists 2006 and 2007.

With a pretty approach off East Street, there is something rather special about this venue and it makes for an idyllic spot for Sunday lunch.

On arrival we were greeted at reception with a friendly welcome. The house was apparently once linked by underground tunnels to Corfe Castle. The imposing entrance hall has the original minster stone fireplace and leads to a magnificent oak-panelled drawing room, lined with exotic wooden friezes which
were carved by Indonesian sailors.

We were invited to enjoy a pre dinner drink on the outside terrace – a peaceful haven surrounded by rolling countryside with just the occasional nostalgic sound of a steam train passing by.

We perused the menu (£24.50 per person) which presented an array of mouthwatering dishes – each a tempting slice of the good life.

Head chef Ed Firth takes inspiration from the finest offerings of local producers whether it be local cheeses, meats, or the best Dorset seafood.

They state “Food is our passion” and this was clear to see – both through their level of service and quality of food.

Once seated in the unassuming restaurant, clad with charming antique touches, we began with some delicious, fresh homemade breads – seeded, red pepper and pesto, and tapenade pinwheel bread.
We sipped house white – Alto Bajo Sauvignon Blanc, Chile, ultra refreshing with delicate tropical fruit flavours, ideal with chicken; and house red – The Paddock shiraz, Australia, rich and juicy, both £3.40 per glass.

To start, I chose the Dorset Blue Vinney salad with orange, pickled walnut, baby gem and celery. This was a refreshing, flavoursome dish with lovely colours and generous slices of cheese.

My husband opted for the smoked paprika sardine, complemented perfectly with a tangy tomato and piquillo pepper puree on caper and basil toast with baby spinach and cranberries. Beautiful.
Other options included smoked ham hock, rabbit and foie gras terrine or beetroot soup with goat’s cheese fondue.

For mains, we just had to try their homemade Sunday roasts – and what a treat they were!
I enjoyed the succulent roast chicken which came with bread sauce, crunchy homemade roast potatoes, braised red cabbage and seasonal vegetables, topped with a thyme jus.
Richard devoured the roast sirlion of beef (served pink) paired with a giant Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, horseradish and a red wine jus.
The meats were perfectly cooked and we were both greedily stuffed – a proper family roast, done at its best.

To finish, we had the Dark Chocolate Moelleux with salted caramel ice cream and toasted hazlenuts, and Plum and Vanilla Bavarois with black treacle sorbet and a hazelnut sable.
Freshly brewed tea or coffee is also included.

I sincerely recommend their Sunday roasts – they present a menu full of tradition but with a few creative twists along the way that excite the palate.

www.mortonshouse.co.uk, 01929 480988