Stacey Sheppard travelled cross-county to sample the food at this cosy country pub – and it was worth the journey
1 November 2012
My husband and I had a fair distance to travel for our meal at the Wheelwright Inn in Colyford, East Devon, so we were hoping for something a little special. Reassured by the numerous food awards the pub has picked up over the past few years and the comments on the website about an audience of diners prepared to travel miles to eat there, we set off on our 100-mile round trip.
The pub has a lovely welcoming feel to it from the outside, and indoors the friendly team of staff continue the theme. The menu has a very impressive selection of dishes and the list for each course is divided into two sections: pub classics and seasonal.
It was a tough decision but I eventually settled on the smoked haddock and day boat catch fishcake served with brown crab mayonnaise, whilst my husband opted for the Lyme Bay caught crab on toasted sourdough. Both starters came served on a piece of slate and looked exceptionally appetising. The crispy coating of my fishcake hid a flavoursome filling which was packed full of fresh fish and tasted out of this world. My husband was equally impressed with his crab.
For the main course I decided on the Branscombe fish pie made with cod, salmon and smoked haddock and served with seasonal vegetables. I have experienced many a sloppy fish pie with a noticeable lack of fish, but this one was different. Definitely more fish than potato, the pie was satisfyingly sturdy and exceeded my expectations.
My husband had no hesitation in choosing the Gatcombe Farm pork belly served with a white bean cassoulet and seasonal vegetables. The crackling was cooked to perfection and sat atop some seriously succulent slices of pork belly.
We were almost defeated after two fantastic courses but we battled on to sample the desserts. A selection of local cheeses tempted my husband and my attention had been caught by the dark chocolate parfait that was served with cherry compote, sea salt and caramel popcorn and cherry ice cream. It was an unusual combination but the flavours complemented one another so well that if I'd had any appetite left I could have eaten another helping!
We left the Wheelwright Inn wishing it was our local and we can see why people are willing to travel from afar to experience what this friendly little pub has to offer. We will certainly be stopping by again.
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