On the edge of Dartmoor, The Ship Inn at Ugborough feels like it’s situated a world away from the coast. But it’s actually only 20 minutes from the nearest beach, via a winding country road that offers an alternative, more scenic route all the way to Plymouth.
Local heresy suggests that it was named The Ship Inn because it was used by press gangs who would ‘hijack’ the locals into a life onboard their boat, and this was as far as they would go inland.
Step inside this country pub and restaurant and its low wood-beamed ceiling and thick cob walls, adorned with paintings of local landscapes and wildlife, give a homely, comfortable ambience.
It works its magic on our three- and six-year-olds, who are well-behaved as they sip their fruit juice through (we’re pleased to see) paper straws. We order fish and chips from the children’s menu, a task made easier thanks to the attentive staff who are clearly used to welcoming families with young children.
Ordering for the adults is more difficult. The main menu offers a great choice of traditional pub meals, all prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, while the specials board is full of fish dishes that do not disappoint a dedicated seafood lover such as myself. I’d like to try them all.
I opt for the classic smoked salmon and prawn cocktail to start, followed by the hake fillet served with the sweetest of queen scallops, with a crab bisque, spinach and sliced new potatoes on the side. The fish is sourced from Plymouth Fish Market and tastes like it’s fresh off the boat. The crisp, dry Pinot Grigio complemented both dishes.
Andrew chose the satisfyingly creamy scallops and chorizo gratin starter, followed by (a generous portion of) the honey-glazed belly pork with cavolo nero, apple mash and a cider jus for his main.
We had little room for dessert but I was intrigued to see Devon junket on the menu, something I had to admit I’d never actually tried before. I soon remedied that and discovered a simple, yet satisfying, round-off to a wholesome meal. Andrew and the kids shared the Salcombe ice cream – with three scoops in one portion, everyone was happy.