A hearty pub lunch is on the menu for Jeff Cooper, when he visits this Abbotskerswell hostelry
Conjure up, if you will, an image of a typical Devon pub. Flagstone floors, dark wooden beams, brasses and pumps reflecting the light shining through tiny windows, the smell of hops and furniture polish... Welcome to Court Farm Inn, located in the thriving village of Abbotskerswell.
It gives a good first impression. The handsome Grade II Listed building was dressed for summer when we arrived, with vines ripening around the windows and frilly hanging baskets in full bloom. Our table was ready for us on arrival and proprietor Debbie King guided us through the extensive menus, while we sipped our pints of well-kept Otter ale.
As well as a specials board that changes daily, there is a regular menu that features pub classics and various dietary needs are catered for. "We have three chefs, Paul King, Steve Webb and Siriporn Escara, our Thai chef," says Debbie. "There is a lunchtime deal of two meals for £9.90, which is very popular," she adds.
This was obvious on the Monday lunchtime we arrived, as there was hardly a table free. Families as well as businessmen were enjoying a pit-stop here. The result, a convivial atmosphere.
To start, I chose the homemade farmhouse pâté. It came with a colourful mixed salad and crisp slices of white and brown bread, providing a contrast in texture to the smooth pâté. My wife's garlic mushrooms were served in a creamy sauce with warm crusty bread, and both dishes would have been enough for lunch on their own.
Poached salmon was my wife's choice of main course; it was fresh and flaky and also met with our ten-month-old daughter's approval. Sliced new potatoes and a selection of vegetables rounded off this wholesome meal. My duck was cooked well – not pink, not overdone. It was served with noodles and vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce and the choice of meat complemented the style of food.
Our shared dessert was the lemon and ginger crunch – an indulgent and flavoursome take on a cheesecake. "All our desserts are homemade, except the profiteroles," explains Debbie.
Plans are afoot to start a takeaway service too. "Our website is under construction at the moment, but we are developing a takeaway menu. Guests can come and enjoy a drink while they wait," adds Debbie.
The chefs are also making the most of the first crop of runner beans and other vegetables from the pub's new kitchen garden. With such generous offerings at reasonable prices, it is no wonder this traditional village pub has a loyal following.
Published 1 September 2013
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