Since I began writing this blog just over a year ago, it has never ceased to amaze me just how many foodie gems Devon has to offer when you make the decision to stray from the beaten path. Take The Elizabethan Inn, for example. We had heard a few good things about establishment prior to paying them a visit last week, but we would never have thought to wind our way around the surrounding countryside in order to get there had it not been for an invite to come and see their newly refurbished dining room.
The Elizabethan Inn (fondly known by locals as The Lizzie) is located just outside Newton Abbot and Teignmouth, in the small village of Luton. It’s owners, Anne Gibbs and Head Chef Nick Powel, are committed to offering a family friendly atmosphere, complete with all the hallmarks of a traditional British pub and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was simply a quaint country affair from its outside appearance.
As you first step inside, you are greeted by a traditional, dark wood bar area, with wooden beams and a cosy fireplace. This part of the restaurant was surprisingly busy when we arrived (on a Wednesday lunchtime nonetheless) and we soon learned that the Inn has done a good job of maintaining a loyal local following.
But this cosy hub is only one part of The Lizzie’s aesthetic. Keep walking through the bar area and you’ll find yourself in a wonderfully light and welcoming new extension, that has been sympathetically finished with wooden beams and a large feature fireplace. The room has a real Country Living vibe to it and we looked forward to seeing if the menu lived up to the new decor.
Before we paid The Lizzie a visit, we did a little bit of research into their foodie ethos and were pleased to find that they are commitment to supporting the local economy and protecting environment. They aim to source 80% of their ingredients from within a 30 mile radius of the inn; including many farms from within Luton itself. The menu is self-described as offering ‘traditional classics’ with an extra touch of class – taking the traditional British pub grub and giving it a much needed contemporary twist.
We left it up to chef Nick to decide what to serve us for lunch, as we were keen to sample dishes that he felt showcased The Elizabethan best. I began my meal with Crediton Aylesbury Duck & Hoisin Fritter with a Spiced Plum Relish. Not so much a pub classic, but delicious nonetheless. These little fritters were crispy and full of melt-in-the-mouth duck. The accompanying cucumber salad and rich plum chutney went perfectly with the fritters and paired with the hoisin sauce I was really sold on this as a starter.
We also enjoyed a Salad of Poached Salmon with Griddled English Asparagus & Wild Garlic. The salmon was both delicate and flaky, the asparagus was very well cooked and the wild garlic was a lovely subtle addition to the dish. It would have been nice if the skin had been a little crispier, but nonetheless this was a strong start to lunch.
Usually I would hate not knowing but I was going to be eating for lunch, but on this occasion I enjoyed waiting to find out what I was going to be served because a quick glance of The Elizabethan’s menu confirmed that there wasn’t going to be anything I wouldn’t want to eat!
The first plate that came out to the table was an absolute favourite of mine: Slow Roasted Belly Pork served on Colcannon (Mash with Cabbage) with Caramelised Apple & Luton’s Reddaway’s Cider Sauce. I’m a firm believer that apple and pork are made to go together, so I thought that the caramelised apple slices and the cider sauce were delicious. Equally, the pork was very well done (we both agreed on this) and the colcannon provided a nice additional texture to the plate that I don’t feel could have been achieved with roast or new potatoes. My only minor gripe was that the crackling was a tad too hard (which was a real shame). However, I wouldn’t hesitate to order this dish again.
We also got to try Paupiettes of Lemon Sole with a Sauce of Saffron, Cream & White Wine with Prawns. This dish was very nicely presented and it went down well with my dining partner. I’m not a huge fan of saffron, but the lemon sole was well cooked and the prawns were plump and tasty. Brought together with that creamy sauce, my dining partner thought it was a really nicely done plate of food (with very generous portions too!)
Both of these dishes came off the Daily Specials menu and were served with plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables. If you’re thinking of ordering them yourself, it’s worth noting that they are priced around £17 each, which is fairly pricey for an inn. However, I maintain that they are worth the price for the quality of the ingredients and if your wallet doesn’t stretch that far, The Lizzie has plenty of very affordable dishes on the menu too!
By the time dessert rolled by we were pretty full. But as always, the promise of something sweet to finish off lunch was too tempting to resist. I really enjoyed the The poached rhubarb was lovely and the pistachio quenelle was brimming with flavour.
We also got to try six (yes, six!) scoops of homemade ice-cream. My dining partner really raved about these and said she thought it was one of the best aspects of her meal. There was a honeycomb flavour, a very tasty raspberry ripple, a traditional vanilla and a very rich scoop of chocolate that went down well all round. We loved the fact that they go the extra mile and make their own ice-cream on site and we were impressed by how intense all of the flavours were!
It’s fair to say that The Elizabethan Inn has a little something for everyone. On one hand, you can sit back in the informal bar area and enjoy a value for money, great quality meal with family and friends (and the dog, should you wish!). Equally, the newly refurbished dining room is perfect for enjoying a slightly classier evening or lunchtime meal. The standard of the food was consistently very good throughout our visit and there was enough variation on the menu to ensure that all tastes are catered for. If you’re on the lookout for somewhere new to try, give The Lizzie a go because it really is a quality foodie destination.