There’s nothing better than a warm and inviting gastro pub on a crisp winters day… Except perhaps, a warm and inviting dog friendly pub! When planning our recent trip to Devon we came across the Millbrook Inn in South Pool on the Top 50 Gastro Pub Awards List. The Millbrook Inn describe themselves as a “proper village pub with top notch food” and with so many awards under their belts, as well as being listed as one of the Times Best 50 Places to Eat by the Sea, we just couldn’t resist a visit. Of course, we took Betsy the Chihuahua along for the ride.
The Millbrook Inn is situated at the heart of the small, attractive village of South Pool, at the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary in Devon. They take advantage of the beautiful location, with an outdoor dining area backing right on to the South Pool Creek. Had it been a warmer day, we certainly would have located ourselves here. However, we chose to do the sensible thing and consequently were shown to a corner table in the rear room of the pub, after receiving a warm dog friendly welcome from the staff. Betsy wasn’t offered any water or treats, but the staff gave her plenty of attention, and that was enough for her as we had come prepared.
We were there pretty early and were the first lunch guests of the day – Being only a very small pub it filled up pretty quickly after our arrival, so we’d certainly advise booking if you are going out of your way to visit. We did take some time to order, simply because we couldn’t decide, but eventually chose to share a charcuterie platter to start. This consisted of dry cured topside, brisket, ox tongue, jamon from Andalucia, a chunk of artisan bread, cornichons and pickled onions. It went down an absolute treat, and it was quite lovely to taste some slightly different meats than usual (oh, and the pickled onions were to die for)!
For the mains, we opted for potted South Devon crab and a poussin and pigeon pot au feu (£12). The crab was nice, but not excellent. It lacked in seasoning, but portion wise it was good for £8. There wasn’t any chicken available for the poussin and pigeon stew that day, but luckily we love pigeon and the larger helping was extremely welcome! About three or four minutes after the mains had arrived, a waitress brought out a sauce to accompany the meat – We asked what it was, but she had no idea so headed back to the kitchen to find out, returning with the knowledge that it was sauce gribiche (a mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce). The sauce made all the difference to the dish, but once again, a touch more seasoning wouldn’t have gone amiss.
We decided to share a plate of three West Country and French cheeses for dessert, which were served with quince, grapes and oat cakes. They were all delicious… Well, you can’t really go wrong with cheese now, can you?! The oat cakes were exceptionally good and we were given more when asked. Three cheeses for £6 was a great price as there was plenty for two.
All in all, the Millbrook Inn was a lovely place to visit – If anything let it down it was the staff and their lack of knowledge about the food. During our meal, we heard a table of European guests ask what venison was and the waiter gave them an incorrect answer! That should not really be expected in a place that prides itself on good food.
Despite an enjoyable visit, we have eaten in better gastro pubs and feel that the passion just wasn’t quite there on the day of our visit. The menu was very creative however and we imagine that there are some real gems to try if you go on the right day.
We give the Millbrook Inn 7/10 – Dogs are loved, but the food was not as exceptional as we were expecting.
Date Of Visit: 19th February 2013
Dog Friendly UK Rating: 7 /10
Points to note:
The Millbrook are the only pub in the South hams with a scored entry in The Good Food Guide 2012 - One of only 7 pubs in Devon.
They have a vast gin selection – Over 25 types.
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