Championing everything local is at the heart of The Bear and Blacksmith. Landlords Malcolm and Claire are doing wonderful things at this award-winning pub in Chillington. They run a nearby smallholding where Claire lovingly tends to her vegetables grown in a polytunnel and her flock of chickens whose freshly laid eggs are available to buy. They also rear pigs and sheep, most of which are cooked and served up in the pub with the same love and care. The rest are sold to locals – by way of a meat box – and to nearby restaurants.
Farmer and chef Malcolm works his magic in the fields and in the kitchen. By butchering his own meat in the recently modernised barn, he’s saving food miles by keeping the field-to-fork process as close to the pub as possible. The seedlings from the smallholding make their way to the allotment, which is behind the pub. During the summer months, you can sip a refreshing pint of local ale in the beer garden while admiring the growing herbs and vegetables. What they can’t supply from the farm is sourced nearby.
The delicious relishes, chutneys and bread are all homemade. Fresh fish comes from nearby Beesands and some of the best handpicked crab meat is featured on the menu, as well as beef from Slapton. You can’t get more local than this!
Whether you stop by for a drink with the locals at the bar, or stay for lunch or dinner, you’ll be sure of a warm welcome. We visited for dinner and my husband enjoyed a very good pint of local ale while we looked at the menu. The specials board is definitely worth checking.
For starters, I had the crispy poached egg with chicory salad and tomato chutney. The egg was crunchy on the outside, while the yolk was perfectly runny. The fragrant tomato chutney was delicious – I could eat a whole jar of that! Andrew had the beetroot and paneer spring rolls with chilli jam. This dish had a good crunch and the hot, steamy vegetables were peppered up with the spicy jam.
For mains, we both chose lamb (a leg steak), served with dauphinoise potatoes, crispy kale and redcurrant jus. The lamb was pink in the middle, with plenty of tender meat that was full of flavour and textures. And knowing it came from the farm just three miles away added to the experience.
As we were feeling a little full, we ordered a warm chocolate brownie with ice cream to share, but I have to admit to eating most of it myself!
We’ll be heading back in the summer to see what’s growing in the allotment and to sample more tasty food from the farm.