Jeff and Jennie Cooper fall under the spell of this charming 17th century restaurant
Mention the NoBody Inn, and most people I know have either been here, or want to go. And for very good reason - not only does the bar boast a collection of 250 wines and 240 whiskeys, but owner Sue Burdge puts her clientele firmly at the top of her list, providing honest, hearty home- cooked dishes served by staff who are as equally pleased to be there as the guests.
Step into the 17th-century building and you are embraced by its traditional charm - its dark wood, low beams and small paned windows exude a mellow atmosphere, giving us the sense that we had dodged life’s fast pace for a couple of hours.
Our equally charming host Nick Crosley was knowledgable and enthusiastic, and Jeff felt particularly lucky to have been offered the Inn’s famous steak and ale pie as his main course, despite it not being yet on the menu (rest assured, it is now fully available!) Enjoying a pint of Nobody’s by Branscombe Brewery, Jeff was also amused to be asked if he wanted a straight or handle glass.
On to the food, and Jeff chose the panko-crumbed chilli squid to start. The plump rings of meaty seafood were succulent, coated with a dusting of crumb, with a generous handful of leaves and a sweet chilli mayonnaise. My leek and potato soup was pleasantly leek-flavoured, well-seasoned and I enjoyed the doughy bread with its salted crust.
The steak and ale pie was certainly worth trying. As Nick explains: “It’s just steak and ale - no mushrooms or onions to take away from the flavour or texture. We add a gallon of ale to the meat and that’s it.” Jeff can still recall the melting meat’s big flavour, but what we were also taken with was the perfect pastry - thin, sweet and crisp, and so evenly cut it must have been measured. A pie masterpiece! The portions are generous and this was served with crunchy, seasonal vegetables and a mustard mash.
The airy potato filling of my homity pie was delicately flavoured, and luckily for me, also came encased in the ‘perfect pastry’. Coleslaw, sweet chutney and a large side salad added texture, while the portion of sweet potato fries added another level of flavour.
I’m not sure how we managed a dessert, but that’s what it’s like with good food - there’s always room, or at least enthusiasm, to try more. I was wowed by our banana and chocolate brownie’s flavour, the fruit adding moisture and stickiness, the scoop of Taverner’s vanilla ice cream cooling the palate.
I hardly have room left to write to urge you to pay a visit - but hopefully our experience speaks for itself. Enjoy!
Note: This is a sample of the evening menu.
Published 10 April 2015
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