Sue Stoneman enjoys the warmth of this charming village inn
25 June 2019
You’ve probably seen the signpost to Rattery when driving along the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth. If you take this turning, after a few miles of typical twisty-turny Devon lanes, you will find The Church House Inn, surprisingly, right next to the church. The original building, dating back to the 12th century, would have been the home for the stonemasons who were building the church.
Inside it has all the character of an old village inn, a large wooden bar, oak beams, brass ornaments and inglenook fireplaces. Diners can choose to eat in the cosy area of the main bar or in the oak-framed restaurant with large glass doors overlooking the garden. The warm welcome we received as we walked through the door melted away the stresses of the day.
Having heard good things about The Church House Inn, we were looking forward to our dinner and the menu had lots to tempt us. For starters, I had the ham hock terrine with homemade piccalilli and toasted sourdough. The piccalilli was crunchy and piquant and went very well with the terrine. Andrew, my fellow diner, had the Sharpham Brie and red onion tartlet, which was served warm and accompanied by a simple salad, drizzled with a sweet balsamic dressing. The pastry was lovely and crisp, and the filling, delicious.
For mains, I chose the chicken supreme: a large juicy breast with a perfectly cooked fondant potato, asparagus and a cider sauce. It had all the flavours of a good old-fashioned roast dinner on one appetising plate. Andrew went for the fish pie, which arrived piping hot. Large meaty chunks of monkfish, salmon and smoked mackerel were topped with smooth cheesy mash, and came with crisp, buttery green vegetables on the side. We both tucked into our dishes and enjoyed every mouthful.
Feeling pretty full, we nearly didn’t have dessert but when we saw the menu, it had all our favourites. I chose the strawberry roulade, which was a light, chewy meringue filled with crème pâtissière and fresh strawberries. Andrew went for the vanilla panna cotta and he was so glad he did. This was a really pretty dish full of colour with fresh fruit and a crisp shortbread biscuit. He said it was the best panna cotta he ever had, beautifully smooth, rich and creamy.
This was a really delightful meal in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The chef makes good use of local produce and a lot of thought has gone into creating and presenting each dish. It’s great tasting food too. We’ll definitely be back.
Sue loves: the great tasting pub food, relaxing atmosphere and friendly staff
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