The Cornwood Inn near to Ivybridge
Food review for the Cornwood Inn, The Square, Cornwood, near to Ivybridge on Dartmoor. Telephone 01752 837225
This is the heart of the village at Cornwood. Nip into the pub car park and you will know by the writing on the garage door that riders and horses are welcome to visit and that horses are invited to eat for free.
It's the Cornwood Inn on the southern side of Dartmoor, and the 3 signs at the front of house cover most eventualities.
Each Summer they offer Saturday breakfast with 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausages, baked beans, tomato, hash browns, potato, toast, fried bread and mushrooms for only £4.95 and that includes a cup of tea or coffee ! A second sign tells us that if you are a pensioner, then from Monday to Friday at lunchtimes, you can indulge in the Pensioner's Menu of 2 courses for just a modest £5.95 between the hours of 12 noon and 3p.m. You lucky
old things you (me) ! A third board reassures the drinkers amongst us that this is a traditional village inn and that here you will find real ales, fine wines, top branded spirits, food and a warm friendly atmosphere. Pat and I have found ourselves in the area at lunchtime, so naturally we need to check all this out for ourselves.
Inside the bar is spotlessly clean, full of horsebrasses, decorative plates and pistols on the wall, tables to suit all parties and 2 bars at 90 degrees looking out at the customers. We check out the specials board that offers King Prawns sauted in garlic butter £7.95, Chef's summer sizzler menu, also mentioned on one of the outside boards, 3 courses for 2 people at the bargain price of £25. 'See menu for details'. Fillet Steak with chips and peas is on offer as is Grilled Whole Lemon Sole with garlic butter, chips and peas at £11.95. Curried King Prawns served with rice and a Nann is also on at £11.95.
The lady behind the bar is courteous enough, but no more than that. She gives us a menu and makes no mention of the specials board as she serves us drinks. She makes no conversation. A chap is also around the bar. He doesn't talk to us either. But this is more than made up for by the second lady on the scene, who Pat and I both guess is the landlady. She is cheerful and keen to know that we are being served. She's the land-
lady that all country pubs should have.
As you can see from the photos, this is a typical English village pub, with glasses gleaming, optics full and ready to go. It's got all the ornaments, beer mats and stags heads on view. The one thing that thankfully is no longer in place is the horrible smokey pong that went when the new non smoking laws arrived. So we customers can now sit in comfort without fear of driving home with our clothes stinking of the smoke of many ashtrays. And I say thank Goodness for that.
There were quite a few customers in the pub most of them eating. A party of 6 young working Mums, several couples in the benches area, and a family of four behind us in a sort of sitting room area. I managed to speak to the man on his way out later and he told me that his family had all thoroughly enjoyed their meals. Pat and I have been chatting about cheesey chips, something that her daughter Jess has a passion for, and as it is something that is new to me, we decide to share a bowlful along with a chickenburger in a bap each. The burger was OK.
At just £3.25 is was cheap and cheerful of course. Nothing special, and served with the bleakest pinch of lettuce, one slice of cucumber, a quarter of tomato, no more than 8 strands of cress and a sprinkle of dried parsley on top and around. (What's that all about ?) But thankfully it was made all the more tasty by the addition of mayonnaise (packet) and the cheesey chips piled on top.
At the end of our stay we said goodbye to the barstaff, and the lady who we correctly guessed as the landlady came over to talk to us as I take a photo of the organ by the (spotless) ladies loo. I ask her if they have musical evenings ? "Oh no, the organ's broken, I'm sorry to say". "Oh well" I say, "at least you have this piano here....." but no that needs tuning and is not used either. That's a shame, because I can imagine this pub would be full to the brim if they offer their customers a Friday night is Music night type evening, with some talented person on the piano taking requests and tinkling the ivories. If they do decide to give it a go, I promise to come and join in. Would I go back to the Cornwood Inn again? Yes I would. The boards outside tell me that they offer a choice of 3 meats for their Traditional Sunday Roast Lunch. At £5.95 + £6.95. I'm sure this pub has a regular band of locals who enjoy it.
19th November 2011: Please note that the landlady Barbara has since rung me to say that the piano has now been tuned and that they have some new faces behind the bar and new menu choices, and that she would love me
to call in again. Barbara, I will give it a whirl. I know how keen you are to please your customers.