Gastro pubs have been on the rise since the early 1990s and have changed our ideas of what pub food should taste like. Instead of a mass-produced pie and some limp chips, you can now expect to dine out on organic produce and well thought-out dishes. South Devon is home to an increasing number of gastro pubs that rely on local farmers and fishermen to supply the freshest ingredients available. And there’s more to the West Country than just meat and vegetables; nurseries are growing exotic herbs and Devon has even got its own chilli farm.
One of the bonuses of gastro pubs is that they can involve the whole family. Unlike many fine-dining restaurants, gastro pubs tend to welcome kids and some will even allow guide dogs, such as The White Hart Bar and Restaurant at Dartington Hall. This gastro pub uses flagstones, a roaring fire and oak beams to create a typical warm Devon welcome. On the menu you’ll find dishes such as curried mussels with leeks, grilled sardines with a chickpea salad and confit of Crediton duck leg. The White Hart’s consistently high standards have earned it awards from the AA and Les Routiers.
A Place to Stay
If you’re looking for a gastro pub with accommodation, check out places like the Cary Arms Inn and Restaurant in Torquay. The Cary Arms boasts the “freshest Brixham crab sandwiches” amongst its dishes and offers luxury accommodation with sea views and access to the onsite spa. If you’re thinking about a weekend away, then the Cary Arms also offers a special ‘Gastro Getaway’ offer. Other gastro pubs, such as the Norton Park Hotel in Dartmouth, have opted for more traditional meals but cooked in style. Book a room or a table here and you can expect to dine on battered local cod with chips and peas, or pull out all the stops and go for one of the house special ‘Norty Burgers.’