If you’ve never been to Christow then I am hoping that I will give you a really good reason to visit; it isn’t a big place, it lies 12 miles from Exeter and the perfect place to visit as a base-camp for exploring the nearby countryside with Dartmoor being a stone’s throw away.
I love pubs. Especially village pubs. And to see a pub open for business makes me hopeful that not all pubs will close when our economy collapses in fire and ruin. But a pub that manages to sell excellent food and still provide a place to have a pint is an excellent addition to any village.
The Teign Valley seems like another part of the country compared to the graceful soft hills of East Devon. It has it’s own beauty which often goes under the radar as tourists head straight for Dartmoor and often neglect the bits around the side. The rugged hills, rocky outcrops and winding roads give it a very English feel . This a part of the world where you should expect to get snowed in if the weather turns cold.
And if the weather did turn cold, then The Artichoke Inn will warm you up with their two open hearth fires with the decor and the community bookshelf at the top end of the pub, you’ll get a homely feeling as well as a warm spot by the fire.
It is a small yet popular village with a strong community spirit. The Artichoke Inn is not just a pub for the village, but it is a destination too and one that I would recommend -especially as summer is upon us, the nights are getting longer and there is beer that needs drinking!
We were invited along to see for ourselves what owner Samuel Key is has created since he took over the pub three years ago.
The menu can be described as a traditional pub menu. They follow the principle of doing something simple but doing it well. Classics include Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce and Clotted Cream, 14 Day Aged Steak and Soup Of The Day. As a menu, it is safe but comforting.
Naturally with any good pub, this menu changes with seasons and availability so for the latest menu, check on their website here.
I kicked off my meal with Crispy BBQ Chicken Wings (£6.00) and Tori went for Garlic Mushrooms (£6.00)
There were so many chicken wings…
For me the things that stood out about this dish was quantity – there were at least six wings brought out, all dripping with a gooey BBQ sauce with a good helping of fresh salad. It was definitely one that needs tackling with a serviette!
Tori enjoyed her garlic mushrooms and loved the sourdough bread that came with it. It was a generously sized portion, the mushrooms were not overly garlicky which sometimes detracts from the delicate taste of the funghi.
Our mains were a forgone conclusion. I am a massive fan of Creedy Carver who produce some of the finest free-range duck available in the UK and who are also, conveniently, based in Crediton.
I went for the Creedy Carver Confit Duck Leg with Chorizo and Mixed Bean Cassoulet (£14.50) and Tori plumped for the 14 Day Aged Ribeye Steak with Handcut Chips, Onion Rings and Garlic Butter (£16.50)
The steak was cooked medium rare, it had a great taste and had a lovely melting texture. This was a good steak, well cooked with nice garnishes and a fresh salad.
My duck was succulent in all the right places and had a rich taste to it especially with the crispy skin which adds to the experience. The cassoulet had a complex yet enjoyable palette to it which was emphasised by the bean and chorizo combination. Very satisfying and not too spicy!
We nearly didn’t go for a dessert as we were so full! But I couldn’t resist a Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce and Clotted Cream (£6.00) and likewise Tori was taken by the idea of finishing off with Chocolate Brownie with Raspberries (£6.00)
The brownie and raspberry ice cream combination made very happy noises from the other side of the table. There were high compliments paid to the Brownie (Tori is quite the brownie nerd) and the raspberry gelato that accompanied it.
I loved the salted caramel and cream that came with the pudding. I decided at this point to forget the concept of calories and to start again in the morning.
We left the The Artichoke Inn in full swing. It was a Saturday night and the live act was really going for it. This is one of the best things about a village pub, it brings neighbours together who feel equally at home in a homely comfortable environment as they do in their own abodes.
The food was excellent value, it was tasty and worth a visit. There is life beyond Haldon Hill and some excellent pubs too, The Artichoke Inn being one of them.