This is a real find. Tipton St John is in East Devon, on the road between Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary. The pictures below give you a feel for the place – and the style
(from their web-site – www.goldenliontipton.co.uk )
We were there for lunch the day before a big birthday lunch (see later!). We didn’t want to go to mad, saving ourselves for Gidleigh Park the next day. But a bit mad – well, you judge.
The chef patron is French – and you can see the influence on everything they do. The level of fish on the menu is more extensive than you would expect in an English pub. One speciality is Fish Soup. Plenty for a lunch time treat. It is heartily beyond the famous Bouillabaisse, Loads of stock, but it is more stew that soup, in a very good way. There is a spiciness (which suits hot summer and damper autumn well) and real depth. A hunk of bread and you are well catered for. Croutons and a garlicky aioli like sauce add to the dish. There were a few mussels involved, and langoustines as above – but I went for the Moules Frite. Yes, done n the traditional way – shallots rather than onion, celery, single cream, loads of garlic. And plenty of mopping up bread to satisfy the gourmand in me.
We were very full, and very satisfied. We had noticed a nearby diner ordering the fish soup followed by fish and chips. He managed to eat it all – but we assume he had to have a siesta afterwards!
Seek out The Golden Lion of Tipton St John. They are on the River Otter, and serve local Otter ales too. The pub can really help a village to stay alive, I think. Tipton St John also has a village shop. The pub makes more visitors come to the place – so the use it or lose it mentality I mentioned in the last blog is aided and abetted by a thriving pub restaurant. It is well worth the finding.