Tucked away in a quiet corner in Abbotskerswell, the Court Farm Inn serves good grub in a proper pub. The courtyard entrance invites you into an old world of curiosities with wooden-beamed ceilings, horse brasses and dark wooden benches.
This 17th century Devon longhouse is just a two-mile hop from Newton Abbot and was once, as its name suggests, a working farm. The animals and the outbuildings have since disappeared, but the emphasis on local farm produce remains at the heart of its menu.
We opted for light starters of a sweet roasted red pepper soup, mixed olives and baked breads, with a fine balsamic and olive oil dip.
I had the fish pie to follow. The creamy mash was crisp on top, oozing with seafood flavours, containing smoked haddock, salmon, cod and prawns. It was served with seasonal vegetables, the highlights of which were the al dente asparagus and young pea shoots.
My partner Andrew went for the rack of lamb and dauphinoise potatoes. He was impressed – the just-off-pink lamb was succulent, with a satisfying jus.
For dessert, we chose crème brûlée and profiteroles – both exceeded the reputation that precedes these popular dishes.
The emphasis is on serving up simple food, using top quality ingredients, cooked well. It’s clearly loved by locals, and has a loyal following, not least for its famous Sunday lunch, but for its friendly and welcoming service too.