My wife and I booked a 3 night bed and breakfast stay at Penhaven which included a 4 course Gala dinner on the evening of Valentine's day. The Hotel is set in lovely grounds, and the ground floor has recently been refurbished to a high standard. Our room was large, light and comfortable with a well equipped en suite. The log fire in the Bar was particularly welcoming, as were Lorraine Baker, the owner, and her staff, and this made for a very relaxing atmosphere.
As the Hotel is somehat isolated we paid for dinner the first evening. The food was OK, although the chips were dark brown and soggy as if they had been part cooked earlier. Next day's breakfast was excellent, and we spent the day exploring North Devon whilst looking forward to our dinner that evening.
How disappointed we were. The first course soup was bland, tasteless and lacked any seasoning. The fish course of smoked salmon and prawn fishcakes was fine but the accompanying sauce was cold and had been plated earlier allowing a skin to form. The main course lamb was fatty and overcooked, the potato cake burnt, the potatoes, allegedly new potatoes in their skins, were black crinkled balls, and the accompanying vegetables greasy and tasteless. Finally, the dessert of chocolate cake and icecream to share was dumped in the middle of the table with no explanation of what it was and we had to ask for plates on which to eat it.
When asked by a waitress if we had enjoyed our meal we said no and she offered to fetch the Manager. We said we would prefer to discuss it in the morning with the owner.
Next morning, after an excellent, freshly-cooked breakfast we asked to speak to Mrs Baker but were told that she and her husband were away for the weekend, This was surprising as the Hotel was pretty full and the staff on duty very young.
As previously stated the Hotel is rather isolated and we would have had to have eaten, and paid, there again that night, so we decided to return home a day early.
This is the first time I have written a review on Tripadvisor, but being unable to discuss my concerns with the owner I felt I had no alternative,
Finally a word of advice to Lorraine. Forget further refurbishments, hire a new Chef and sort out the kitchen. The Hotel could the be as good as it was under the previous owners as we have fond memories of 2 previous visits when the food was outstanding.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.