Devon: Between two moors

Paschoe House is a favourite destination for lovers of food and peaceful country living. Michael Edwards tells the story of a remarkable and stylish renovation.

Paschoe HousePaschoe House is the Grand Designs epic story that got away from Kevin McCloud and his team.

In 2000 Juan Amador bought Paschoe House, a mock Tudor Gothic country house built in the mix 19th century, with grand plans for the renovation of a hand family home. Sadly, by the end of 2010 Juan had run out of money and moved to London to earn a living. The many books in the Library Bar tell the story of his careers in chemical engineering and banking.

Having grown up in the house but working in London, his daughter Tabitha could not get a teenage dream out of her mind. With Paschoe House empty for six years, she asked her father if she could renovate the property into a luxury boutique hotel. Her father agreed – subject to Tabitha raising the finance, that took four weeks but planning permission took two years.

Paschoe House

In a remarkable transformation the new look Paschoe House opened in August 2017. The country house look with its quirky taxidermy and hunting prints has been given a light contemporary makeover by Tabitha’s vision. To take afternoon tea in the Morning Room with its 13th stone fireplace, light butterfly patterned wallpaper and sumptuous sofas is a lesson in design.

Upstairs, the nine bedrooms, ten if you include the adjoining room of the Jack and Jill Suite, have country themed original artwork and 21st century comforts. Curtains are opened by bedside push button controls and there’s a Nespresso coffeemaker as well as an extensive tea tray.

Bedroom suites

Remembering a cold childhood Tabitha says, “It was cold in winter when I was a child. I used to search for a radiator that was working.” Haunted by those memories, Tabitha has installed underfloor heating to banish the chill of the English country house.

Quite simply Tabitha, who designed every room, has thought of everything to create the ultimate country retreat. There’s a welcome of home-made cookies and chocolates in the room and mini jacketed hot water bottles. Hotel inspectors are impressed. Already the AA has awarded 5 stars for accommodation and the restaurant is on the verge of 3 AA rosettes. Tabitha is yet to celebrate her 30th birthday. Her vision and energy are driving Paschoe House towards a Michelin star and 5* status as a hotel.

There’s a boot room too, with a huge choice of wellies, for a stroll on a few miles of the Two Moors pathway that runs from Devon’s northern and southern coastlines. For a quiet night in there’s a choice of movies and reception will provide popcorn. In summer there is a tennis court and croquet on the lawn. Paschoe House also offers a chauffeur service to take guests around the local sights such as Castle Drago, Britain’s youngest castle, which was built in 1910, and the quaint market town of Chagford. Alternatively, in the country spirit, there are Simulated Shoots, where guests shoot at clay pigeons.

Snow egg Tahitian brule, plum, quince

But it is the food which is the shining star at Pascoe House. Currently, chef Craig Davies is planning to grow 25 fruits, herbs and vegetables every season in the kitchen garden to supply next year’s menu. Such meticulous attention to detail is attracting Michelin’s inspectors.

It is a garden, originally hidden by a landscape, that has been rescued as part of the renovation process.

Craig Davies

Booking in for the 7-course tasting menu is a culinary must. Chef Craig Davies has worked with many of the stars of British kitchens. From a canapé of a tiny cup and saucer of Onion Cappuccino through Lobster and Red Deer to the final decadent Manjari Chocolate – it is a menu of creation and originality, accompanied by a wine flight that pairs a wine with each course. If seven courses is too much the restaurant also offers an A La Carte menu or there is Casual Dining available in the Library Bar and Morning Room. No wonder that those Michelin inspectors are so keen to check on Paschoe House’s rapid progress. 

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Images: Paschoe House, Stephanie Osmond and Martha Collison.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 12:41 pm Around The UK