Been away for weekend in Devon. Some places are favourites – we all have them – and I just wanted to tell you about these three, for you to try, as well as to attempt to work out why we enjoy them so much!
The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe in The Moor.
Yes, this is the Uncle Tom Cobbley and all Widecombe that you all will have heard about. It is such a wonderful old place. Run for a few years now by Richard and Vicki, it’s an institution both locally and for visitors alike. Why? Food is spectacularly solid English. You won’t need a big dinner after lunch here! And the beers are served straight from the barrel. Tapped while you are watching. And it is an art. All the beers have different personalities. So, you have to know your beer. And they do!
The Ring o Bells, Chagford, Dartmoor
We had (and have had) many a splendid lunch here. Yesterday we shared scallops as a starter ( just done, not slimy, not rubbery…proper skilled chefs…?) then small plates – great for lunch – fish and chips, and ham egg and chips. Both small, tasty and perfectly formed. All beers local, as was the cider.
The Crooked Billet, Little Marlow, Bucks
On the way back to the south east, we phoned to book in for Sunday lunch at our local. Always a joy. Pint of Brakspears Bitter. Bottle of Cote Du Rhone. Janie had Roast Beef with all the bits. I had a brilliant old fashioned salad – turkey with a great mixed set of leaves, coleslaw and chips! Yes, CHIPS! Lovely, sort of retro, and such a delight on a warm Sunday. First day of June, my Birthday month ( and 6 in the family – we love it, but the non-June babies have to just grit their teeth!)
Why do these places appeal? All have no music. All have eaters and drinkers. And all have had the same people running them for some time. And all have very low staff turnover – we see the same people all the time.
Pubs may be under huge pressure and only us middle aged fogeys love them. But they can and often are the lynch pin of the community they serve. And serve it they all do. Long may it continue?