Never heard of the Palk Arms ? Well here it is !
First of all - apologies to the Palk Arms for pinching this photo off their website.
I did this because when we arrived for Sunday Lunch here a week ago, you would not have
left a dog out in the rain, let alone a hungry photographer and husband looking for lunch.
One step through the door and the warmth from the woodburner greets you, along with nods and smiles from
folks who are obviously regulars. That's a so called "cool wall" of photos you can see, a dartboard with
it's blackboard still showing the last darts match scores '2 and 22 still to get', there's a malt shovel pinned to
the granite wall above the hearth and nicest of all things, a very pretty barmaid at the bar. Meet Jasmine...
......who was as charming and welcoming as this photo shows. "What can I get you to drink?"
We explain that we've booked for lunch, but we don't know the form. "Well" she says
"You can sit wherever you like, but we put reserved signs on 3 of the tables in the back room for you, so
as you are first to arrive, you can take your pick". We head off in the right direction, through a dining room,
with Toby Jugs, past a sitting room with an even larger woodburner, wherethrough you can travel out
into the garden in better weather. The chairs are not from a matching suite, but at all looks so
comfortable I'm regretting not bringing the Sunday papers with us.
As you can see from the sign outside the pub, all meals cost from £6 to £8. I love this down to earth approach.
it says "This is what we've got. Take it or leave it". I am so much happier going into a pub with only 2 things
on the menu. And today that's just what there is. Sunday lunch is either Roast Lamb or Roast Beef.
£8 or £8. Perfect for us, "We'll take one of each please".
.... and here is my dinner, the beef, served with horseradish sauce. Rob took the lamb with mint sauce.
All plated up and carried in by a couple of friendly young chaps, one of whom I later learn, had cooked it all.
I must be honest and tell you there wasn't much difference to look at between the beef and the lamb...
Both colourful. I'd say that the meal was 'homely cooking' that is to say, anyone looking for a slice of pink would
be disappointed. But all served on hot plates, with a full gravyboat of gravy made from the meat juices.
The Yorkshire pudding and potatoes were well above average, the cauliflower cheese was very good,
the cabbage was cooked perfectly, not too little, not overcooked, the carrots were a joy,
and we both had completely empty plates at the end. So well done Tom.
Here's a photo of Tom. Taken very quickly as he served dinners to 2 elderly ladies who quite obviously come on
a very regular basis. And here's me, eager to make a start on my meal. Oh no, it's that comfy cardigan again !!
We didn't need puddings, but Rob's a sucker for Apple Crumble. I declined, but caved in when Rob
offered me a spoonful to taste. Sadly the view out over a huge chunk of countryside was shrouded
in wet fog. There were very popular bird feeders hanging just outside the windows, so we had something
to study, but I can imagine that this back room will be well worth visiting when the view is visible.
I managed to get a word with Ivan and Jane, mine hosts, as we were about to leave.
They've been the making of this pub in Hennock.
From memory the Palk Arms used to be a very well frequented pub when we came to Dartmoor in the early '80's, after which it didn't shine until Ivan and Jane took over the reins about 18 months ago, and injected their enthusiasm for village life.
Now the pub has some good real ales, they welcome children until 8.30pm, allow in dogs on leads, run a regular quiz, alternating each week with a meat draw.
They make the most of special dates such as Burns Night, Valentine's Day and Ivan tells me that if they come up with a new idea, he and Jane always run it past the regulars before any changes are put in place. That's what we need isn't it fellow pub lovers ? Sunday lunch is limited to just 25 orders, so make sure you book, take the Sunday papers along with you, BUT study a decent map to find the place before you set out if you don't have sat nav.
As they say in racing circles. "This is one to watch". Do seek this pub out and tell them I sent you.
Visit the Palk Arms website for more information