The Church House Inn in Stokeinteignhead dates from the 13th century and is located in the heart of the pretty village, opposite the award-winning village shop, complete with an enclosed beer garden – quintessentially Devon.
On the evening we dined there, we were in the company of a healthy number of visitors, and from my window seat I could see the glow of the evening sun warming the village and the flowering window boxes in the cottages opposite.
It was jam night (starting at 7.30pm every Tuesday); the music was a pleasant addition to the ambience and made me wish I were a better singer! The bar area, closer to the stage, was full of locals.
The main menu features traditional pub favourites, alongside a specials board that showcases seasonal local meat and seafood. So local, in fact, that The Church House sources some of its meat from the fields visible from the pub!
I had the battered brie as a starter; I also ordered some warm bread (salt and pepper baguette) as a side dish, as I like to have something to spread it on. There were two large pieces of this creamy cheese, plus a side salad. Well seasoned, it had a pleasing melted texture. My husband chose the terrine to start, together with a pint of Otter Drift beer. This draught beer is unique to The Church House and is golden, light and hoppy.
My main course was Teignmouth plaice with truffle butter, served with a choice of potatoes, salad or vegetables. My husband ordered the grilled Dartmoor trout with bacon, sage and lemon butter, served with chips and a salad. These dishes featuring local fish were both reasonably priced and tasty. There were four fillets of the trout and the bacon and sage added a powerful flavour, complemented by a rich, buttery sauce. The chips were crunchy and plentiful. Lobster was also on the specials board; I saw one ordered by another table and it looked delicious, languishing in plenty of garlic butter.
We then sampled the desserts. My Eton mess was full of summery flavours and my husband’s lemon tart was sharp, yet rich.
This buzzy village pub, run by experienced and welcoming landlord Anthony Fusco, serves traditional, locally sourced food in picture box surroundings – a true taste of Devon. Having been inspired, it is time for me to look up prices for some singing lessons and plan my return on another Tuesday evening!