Smartly informal place with exceptional wines, real ales, first rate food and a good mix of customers
The good pub guide review
This special place is a hit with readers year after year. It draws a lovely mix of both drinkers and diners, and the atmosphere is gently civilised yet informally friendly. The pub is on the edge of Exmoor, so there are plenty of sporting prints on salmon pink walls, antlers and other hunting trophies, stuffed birds and a couple of salmon rods. By the bar counter are bare boards, tables partly separated by stable-style timbering and masonry dividers, and (on the right) a carpeted area with a woodburning stove in a big fireplace; daily papers and maybe unobjectionable background music. The marvellous drinks choice includes two or three beers tapped from the cask (such as Dartmoor Legend and Exmoor Ram), farm cider, many sherries and some unusual spirits ' but it's the stunning wine list that draws the most attention. Mr Groves reckons he could put 1,000 different wines up on the bar and will open any of them (for a price) for just a glass. He's there every night and will happily chat to tables of restaurant customers about any wines they might be interested in. Big windows look on to the quiet town centre; there are a couple of metal tables on the pavement and a small suntrap courtyard at the back with a few picnic-sets.
The good pub guide food review
The excellent food uses produce from their own farm: sandwiches, Cornish scallops with asparagus, bacon and shallot sauce, seared mackerel fillet with cucumber ribbons, chilli and lime, chestnut risotto with truffle oil, brill fillet with tiger prawns, new potatoes and pak choi, roast guinea fowl with wild garlic gnocchi, wild mushrooms, celeriac, tenderstem broccoli and white wine velouté, chargrilled rib-eye steak with and fries, and puddings such as stem ginger pannacotta with poached rhubarb and apricot sorbet and sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and clotted cream ice-cream.