The famous Treby Arms in Devon has a new owner, a fresh look and a relaxed fusion Italian menu that promises a family friendly, easy and affordable dining experience alongside the traditional village pub.
The Treby Arms in Sparkwell dates back to 1855 when pioneering engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel built it to serve the workers building up a thirst constructing the Royal Albert Bridge and the railway line linking Devon and Cornwall.
It had been closed for a number of years before reopening in a blaze of glory in 2011 and picking up two AA rosettes and a Michelin star in 2015 for its adventurous fine dining food.
Now new owner, Jamie Stevenson, promises a more relaxed air at ‘Elements at The Treby Arms’ with all the ingredients that have made a success of his boutique hotel with restaurant, ‘Elements’, and Italian restaurant ‘La Bocca’ in Bude. They have picked up five-star reviews on Trip Advisor for their combinations of fresh and tasty Italian food, great service and relaxed, easy atmosphere.
Dad of two Jamie says, “Italian food is perfect for families who want an affordable meal in an easy-going setting. The newly styled ‘Elements at The Treby Arms’ restaurant will offer the combination of fresh, sustainable, local ingredients with the Italian know-how of chef Leo from Naples.”
“If you go out with your family the most important ingredient is that children feel relaxed and happy and that’s the key to having a nice meal out,” says Jamie.
“We make it child-friendly by giving them nice things to do that make it fun to go out. It’s also really important for it to be affordable, so a family of two adults and two children can eat out for about £60-65.
Parents want an easy life and I don’t take my kids to places where they are going to get bored. And children today are more discerning when it comes to food too. They’re not just happy with sausage and chips. Everything on our children’s menu is made to order – like the Hot Baked Macaroni Cheese and the Pasta Bolognaise. We also do a kid’s size version of all our traditional thin crust pizzas too. And there are lots of lovely desserts on the menu as well.”
Other successful ideas will migrate from Jamie’s Bude businesses to ‘Elements at The Treby Arms’.
“We enjoy welcoming big groups for birthdays and celebrations and Christmas,” he says. “We also offer cocktails and happy hours and great term-time lunch deals of two courses for £12, Monday to Friday. We also do a lot of sharing platters which people seem to enjoy. It all makes for a great relaxed atmosphere.”
There will be subtle changes in the downstairs bar area of ‘Elements at The Treby Arms’ – a fresh colour, some new lights and cushions – but it will still feel like the traditional village pub.
Jamie’s Treby takeover will give the inn a post-Michelin future after losing its star rating last year.
“A lot of people know the Treby and have a perception of how it is,” he says. “It is known for fine dining and as a celebration venue. It has been successful, and I now mean to turn the place around and bring something new to the area. I’ll be bringing in a team from ‘Elements’, as well as retaining and employing a number of loyal local staff members. We have a tried and tested formula there and I’m sure it will work here.
We need to change the perception from an upmarket gastropub to something fresh and affordable and great for families.
We are a Westcountry business and it’s all about sustainability. Our whole ethos is about quality food, friendliness and a great experience. I and all my staff have a real passion. We love what we do,” he says. “We’re looking forward to connecting with the community here and welcoming people. I’m pretty confident that once they’ve been here they’ll be back again.”