At Westcountry Weekender we love eating out across the South West. From festival food vans to pubs and restaurants we’re committed to expanding our waistlines to bring you news and reviews from across the region. So, when we were invited to take a look at the newly refurbished Coombe Cellars in Combeinteignhead and to try dishes from their new menu we bravely stepped up to the plate.
The Coombe Cellars
Nestled halfway between Newton Abbot and Shaldon, the Coombe Cellars sits on the banks of the Teign Estuary, commanding waterside views in most directions. Growing up in Newton Abbot, I have fond memories of summer evenings at the Coombe Cellars, watching water skiers on the ramp and the train snaking its way across the opposite side of the estuary towards Teignmouth. It is one of those pubs that seems made for long drawn out sunny evenings and lazy Saturday afternoons staring at the water.
A warm Devon welcome
February, as you’re probably well aware, isn’t a month best known for its long balmy evenings. Generally, it’s pretty cold, gloomy…and as far as evenings go: dark. So, when we were invited to come along to see the refurbishment and re-launched menu it was to be my first experience of the pub without the benefit of sunlit estuary views. But within moments that was forgotten. At night the estuary becomes a peaceful backdrop to the pub, dotted with boat lights and the glow from nearby houses and allows the pub itself to take centre stage and offer a warm welcome.
The new look gastropub
There had been a complete revamp of the restaurant and bar area since our last visit, with a newly surfaced outdoor deck area too – for when spring does eventually roll around! As we took our seats in the bar area we were able to enjoy the cosy fireside (of which I counted three throughout the pub) and check out the new cocktail and mocktail menu. There was even a rather enticing gin bar!
Canapé starters (how every meal should start!)
We were greeted with a platter of canapé sized starters so we could try a selection from across the menu. There was a good mix of vegetarian and meat options, with the duck liver & port parfait with gooseberry & prosecco compote and toasted ciabatta being a popular choice on our table. However, it was the lobster & king prawn pot in a Devon crab crème fraiche that was my personal favourite. It was beautifully delicate and moreish and paired perfectly with the toasted ciabatta.
Main meals in the dining room
For our main courses, we moved into the refurbished dining room. Deep blue walls with lilac accents that complement the wooden beams provide the backdrop for more formal dining. Here, our table enjoyed the roast rack of lamb, the chicken, leek & crème fraiche pie and battered halloumi. For myself, I picked the roasted pork belly and seared scallops with potato dauphinoise, butternut squash puree, green beans, toasted almonds, crackling and a red wine jus. The dish was superb; tender pork with crunchy crackling strips and a hearty portion of potato, accompanied by the butternut squash puree and beautiful cooked green beans.
Desserts – the finale
Our meal was finished off with our choice of desserts. There was a tropical fruit rift on an Eton Mess which two of us had and it was a lovely light end to the meal, whilst still feeling indulgently creamy and rich. But the dessert scene-stealer was undoubtedly the melting chocolate and peanut bomb. A crisp chocolate orb melted before our eyes as hot salted caramel sauce was poured over it to reveal the sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter cream inside.
Desserts marked the indulgent end to a fabulous evening. Throughout the service was great and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. As we slowly weaved our way back to Exeter we were a car of four very contented diners!
Dining at Coombe Cellars
The Coombe Cellars is open 7 days a week, with food served daily from 12pm.
You can view menus on the Coombe Cellars website.
The Coombe Cellars kindly invited us to dine with them for their complimentary media preview evening. As always, all our reviews and write-ups are honest opinions and all views are our own.
Nick Short Photography: www.nickshortphotography.com/
Nick Frampton & Liam Goldstein, Westcountry Weekender