We try the Sunday roast in a beautiful village pub near Bristol where celebrities mingle with locals

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It also serves a proper ploughman's and is popular with walkers and dog owners

As idyllic country village pubs go, The Compton Inn is pretty much as perfect as it gets.

A stone-built former farmhouse - it has only been a pub since World War II - it has a small front garden facing a red telephone box and Compton Dando’s beautiful church, which dates from the 14th Century.

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Inside, it’s exactly as you might hope. There’s a woodburner, settles, mismatched chairs, a squishy leather sofa and antlers on the wall.

There are dogs lounging on the floor and locals standing around the bar quaffing pints of cider and Otter ale but there are also separate dining areas with families tucking into chef Dale Abbott’s food.

Dale has been at The Compton Inn for five years and was cooking at sister pub The Hunters Rest in Clutton before that.

Both pubs are owned by Paul Thomas but The Compton Inn is run by popular landlady Pat Dyer, who knows her regulars on first-name terms.

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During the week, the menu includes warm crusty rolls, steaks, burgers and fish and chips, but also a number of other classic country pub classics.

There are Somerset faggots with cider and onion gravy, bubble and squeak mash and peas, and a proper ploughman’s with Stilton, Cheddar, half a pork pie, pickled onion, apple chutney, salad and bread.

Staff and drinkers at The Compton Inn had a surprise a few months ago when Keith Lemon and Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson turned up for Sunday lunch (photo: Dale Abbott)Staff and drinkers at The Compton Inn had a surprise a few months ago when Keith Lemon and Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson turned up for Sunday lunch (photo: Dale Abbott)
Staff and drinkers at The Compton Inn had a surprise a few months ago when Keith Lemon and Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson turned up for Sunday lunch (photo: Dale Abbott) | Dale Abbott

When we arrive for Sunday lunch, the pub is packed and all tables are booked. A couple of muddy-booted walkers arrive on the off chance of lunch but they have to wait a while until a free table becomes available.

On a typically busy Sunday, they can serve around 100 roasts, and they also provide a takeaway service for villagers. As I order my pint at the bar, one chap leaves with his slow-roasted pork belly wrapped up inside a carrier bag for the homeward journey.

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There are several villages in the area with no pub at all so people travel a fair distance to The Compton Inn, including a lot of people from Bristol and Keynsham a short drive away.

The pub is also recommended to guests of the posh Pig hotel in nearby Hunstrete so you may even recognise a few famous faces.

A few months ago comedian Leigh Francis (better known as character Keith Lemon) turned up for Sunday lunch with fellow Yorkshireman and Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson, much to the delight of the locals who posed for photos with the pair.

There are four choices for Sunday lunch, all served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, mashed swede, roast parsnips, vegetables and gravy. 

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The roast topside of beef at The Compton InnThe roast topside of beef at The Compton Inn
The roast topside of beef at The Compton Inn | Mark Taylor

The slow-roasted pork belly with crackling is £15.75, the roast chicken breast with stuffing £15.75, the nut roast with onion gravy £14.95 and the roast topside of beef is £15.95.

We go for the beef and there are three thick, rosy pink slices of tender meat neatly folded under the light and puffed up Yorkshire pudding and thick, meaty gravy. 

The roast potatoes are proper jobs, crisp on the outside and fluffy within, the mashed swede and parsnips sweet and earthy and the cauliflower cheese faultless. Best of all, the vegetables come as a medley of precisely cooked cabbage, leeks, carrots, turnips and green beans. No overcooked vegetables here.

To finish, an enormous bowl of apple and blackberry crumble with custard (£8.75) is probably enough for two people. The tart fruit is complemented by the buttery rubble of a topping and thick custard.

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We also try the best-selling pudding, the Baileys creme brûlée (£8.25) which is perfectly made - silky smooth under the burnished, glass-like top - and served with a crisp and floral lavender shortbread.

By now, the pub is buzzing, a second pint of Otter ale is on the table, the rain is hammering on the windows and we really don’t want to leave.

This was the best pub Sunday roast we’ve had all year and I haven’t stopped telling friends about it all week. If you’ve been looking for the perfect Sunday lunch in the countryside a short hop from the city, look no further than The Compton Inn - it's a real find.

The Compton Inn, Court Hill, Compton Dando, Bristol, BS39 4JZ. Tel: 01761 490321.

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