Special Dispatch: The Ship Inn, The Barbican, Plymouth.


The Barbican is foodie’s wet dream. Crammed on to a relatively small portion of land, lies a gastronomic plenty with so much choice your head is likely to pop just thinking about it. Pubs, seafood, Mexican, Chinese, Greek.  And it was here we found ourself in the pouring rain, looking for a dry and reasonably priced establishment after a kiddy filled day at the National Marine Aquarium.

So with all that choice, why end up in a chain pub? Because damn it, I wanted fish and chips and ale. And more importantly I wanted my instant gratification.

St Austell Brewery produce some killer ales. Tribute, Yellow Cloud and Proper Job are three that you might have heard of. So by that logic, the food must be good?

My gut instinct about The Ship Inn was a good one, and happily I was right as the award winning fish and chips they serve is well deserved.

Good of fish and chips is hard to come by which always surprises me as its so popular. Ask any fryer and they’ll tell you that its in the batter, some will say its the quality if the fish. But good battered fish is dependent on a number of things.  If you do want to know how to cook perfect battered cod, then have a look at this Guardian article, as quite frankly I am hardly the expert.  I just like eating the stuff.

The thing that drew me to this pub was the outside area.  It was raining, it was frankly foul weather yet it still enticed me to want to sit under the large pagoda like roof that they have set up next to the restaurants.  The slightly unnatural collection of food eating establishments in this part of Plymouth does make me wonder if there are other restaurants in the rest of the city?

The interior is light and done in neutral pastels with lots of wooden furniture.  A large bar spans one wall and there is lots of oddments and general pub paraphernalia related to local history and regional interest.  It is a gastro pub, but its not carpeted which gives it a bit of a ‘spit and sawdust’ feel to it.  But not so much that it is uninviting.   If Sir Norman Foster designed the interior of a pub, and in the brief it said ‘it has to be a spit and sawdust pub’ I can imagine it would look something like the interior of The Ship Inn.

Service was brilliant, very attentive (if not a little over attentive as we had at least three separate people come and ask if our meal was alright?), and the ale was perfect.

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Author: Chris

He may look very complicated, but he is in fact very simple. He runs on sausages and beer. Co-founder of Eating Exeter. Librarian at Exeter College.

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