You can’t miss The Bear & Blacksmith pub on the main road as you drive through the pretty village of Chillington. Actually, for can’t miss, read don’t miss because behind the unassuming pub’s plain exterior is food that really packs a punch.
The Bear & Blacksmith bills itself as an ultra-local pub. And a walk through the garden reveals the walled veg patch which is just feet from the kitchen door. It doesn’t get fresher than this.
Chicken and pork come from its own farm, beef comes from a neighbour, and it’s all processed in its own butchery. Shellfish is from Salcombe and fresh fish is landed by the Plymouth day boats. Chef and landlord Malcolm Church lets the food speak for itself. A former fisherman who still likes to get out to sea when he can, Malcolm knows how to bring out the best in fish. Great produce, simply cooked yet packed with bold flavours.
To start, I had shell-on king prawns with garlic butter. They were massive, piping hot, buttery and delicious. Served with a simple salad garnish (Malcolm should sell bottles of the dressing – it was superb), they were prawn perfection. Chunky French bread mopped up the juices. My other half had “delicious” scallops and chorizo with a pea purée, and said how pretty it looked on the plate.
I then chose roasted catch of the day. What emerged from the kitchen was a fat, juicy, perfectly-cooked plaice, with the skin scored in a diamond pattern. It came with a pea purée, some tiny new potatoes and courgettes fresh from the patch, and who was I to argue with the addition of some fat, fresh prawns?
My husband, something of a steak aficionado, looked like he was going to cry at the beauty of his tender ribeye. The steak knife seemed redundant as it yielded to the touch.
There’s a modesty about The Bear & Blacksmith but this is amazing food – fresh and delicious. The staff are really lovely too. There’s just one problem. Proper pub grub left me with no room for pudding. I could kick myself because lemon cake with lemon curd and lemon curd ice cream would be my perfect choice.
Taken from the daily specials menu