The Lord Nelson is one of the many pubs that I remember from my childhood growing up near Topsham in the eighties and nineties. There used to be, at one point in history, forty two separate pubs in Topsham. Over the years this number has declined to a handful; the legendary ‘Topsham Ten’ is much less than it used to be.
One of the remaining pubs on the ten is The Lord Nelson, Inn named after Admiral Horatio Nelson who was fatally shot at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is visible from the road as you pass through the town and very close to a bus stop where you can hop on a 57 bus or a local service.
The naval connection is apt for Topsham, given it’s history as one of the busiest ports in England with a strong sea-faring, boat building tradition. The town is proud of it’s history, it is a place filled with streets of nooks and crannies and some fantastic pubs and restaurants.
The Lord Nelson Inn is now home to the The Goose and Gander Kitchen which is headed by Chef Charlie Dingley and his partner Carlie Glew.
The menu is a hearty, well-thought out offering with gastropub favourites as well as some classic British cuisine. There are also desserts – not just ‘made from a packet’ or ‘straight out the freezer’ type things – desserts that make you want to dive in and forget the calories.
The Lord Nelson is COVID Safe. The car park has been converted into a large outdoor eating area where Goose and Gander set up a street food BBQ and Live Music occasionally. They also serve Yellowhammer…
As soon as we locked our eyes on the menu, we knew we’d have to save some space for the sweets. So we went for a light starter to share. Pork Belly Bites with a honey and soy glaze (£6) were meaty morsels, rich in flavour, soft in the right places; they were mouthfuls of joy. Had we had the space, I am certain we would have just ordered plate after plate of these little meaty bombs.
Given my penchant for burgers, it was only fitting that we tackle one of the their epic creations. I went off-piste and chose one of the specials, a Lamb Kofta Burger with Tzatiki to dip and Skin-on Fries (£15) – Tori went for the Longhorn Beefburger stuffed with Cheddar & Bacon Jam (£14).
Crumbly, juicy patties smashed between soft buns with lots of character. They were served on wood platters which meant the juices dribbled across the table, but this is the sign of a good burger. Sourced locally, the meat in both the beef and the lamb burger was flavourful and rich, a perfect consistency for a burger – an excellent balance between ‘not too dense’, and ‘not too crumbly.’
When it came to dessert, we did something that we had never done before. We took the recommendation of fellow diners who had thoroughly enjoyed their desserts. A conversation ensued across the restaurant with a couple who were just getting up to leave – they had loved their meal and mentioned how much they enjoyed the Salted Caramel Chocolate Pot with Granola Crumble (£6.50) and of the specials that day Rhubarb Crème brûlée with lemon and vanilla shortbread (£6.50)
We had sneakily timed our visit to The Lord Nelson with our anniversary. When Charlie came out with a personalised presented platter with our desserts, it was a complete suprise! It was such a lovely touch which we will certainly remember.
Diving into the Crème brûlée was, for us, a textbook example of how it should be done. A shiny crackable surface with a creamy delightful rich custard hiding underneath with rhubarb from a hyper-local source. To convey this, I had to take a video to convey our crackable this was!
The Cholocate Pot was a smooth and chocolately, with a caramel underbelly that melted together beautifully with the granola. I tried to make it last, but even the smallest spoonfuls lead to the inevitable feeling of sadness once it had been finished.
The Goose & Gander Kitchen, partnering with The Lord Nelson Inn is an excellent combination. Throughout our evening, the service and the atmosphere was friendly yet efficient. A good selection of local and not-so-local ales are available, it is light and appealing compared to it’s dark wood carpeted past.
A no nonsense menu for light bites or something more substantial awaits diners, coupled with excellent value and flavorful, well cooked food. I chatted with Charlie and Carlie after the meal. The passion for creating great food was evident, along with the idea for smoked eggs… I eagerly await to see them 😉
Visit the website and have a closer look at the menu
Address: High Street, Topsham, EX3 0DU
Phone: 01392 660374