We decide to go take a break from the office and go out for lunch .....
Everywhere looks grey on Dartmoor in the winter when the sun refuses to shine. At this time of year
the vegetation has died right down on the Moor, and everyone's spirit start to droop.
But hey look at these two bar staff ready to meet us at
The Kestor Inn at Manaton. Young Tanya is as sunny as an August day out in Blackpool and Di, above
has one of the warmest smiles in the business. Just what we need on a couple of hours out of the office.
Our pals Wendy and Maurice Cox have recently bought the Kestor after running the Bullers Arms
in Chagford for the past 5 years and it really is about time we nipped over to wish them well
with it all. We hear that the chef here is doing good things, so let's give it a try.
Just throught the door is a small retail outlet for locals and holidaymakers, selling fresh milk, tins, eggs
etc, as Wendy knows that if you are down on a camping holiday, it can be a long journey until you have
the makings for a pot of tea. We settle down in the large wood panelled bar with a drink and then
decide to take a table in the dining room which has a view out. This is a newly decorated room with
about a dozen tables and I immediately think weddings, as I am at the early stages of adding wedding
information to my own Dartmoor Accommodation website. I ask Wendy if they can cater for a wedding
reception and she tells me that she would be delighted to. They held a golden wedding celebration here
as soon as they took the pub over, and all went very well for a party of around 40 guests.
We opt for two choices off the specials board. Rob chooses the fish pie which comes with perfectly
cooked vegetables, not too under and not to overcooked - to my mind the test of a really good cook.
I need a spot of comfort food, so go for the lasagne with garlic bread, which was full of flavour.
The salad was good too. Take a look at all the components.
Just what we needed. something to warm and cheer us. The chef has an array of the usual favourite English dishes. Homemade soup of the day served with crusty bread and butter is £5.10.
Wholemeal hoagie served with a salad garnish, Ham, Cheese, Tuna or Egg Mayonnaise, Roast beef
or Roast pork when available at £5.10. Smoked Salmon at £6.65 and a Ploughman's lunch is £6.10.
Traditional beer-battered fish and chips served with mushy peas, lemon wedge and homemade tartare
sauce is £8.10. Homecooked honeyroast ham, egg and chips for £7.10. Deep-fried wholetail breaded
scampi served with chips, peas, salad garnish and lemon wedge at £9.15. Chef's pie of the day served
with either mash or new potatoes and vegetables is just £7.70. With a vegetarian option of Courgette,
mint & garden pea risotto with Parmesan shavings which comes in at £7.70.
The evening menu shows some good steak choices including a venison leg steak on a mushroom
pudding with thyme roast potatoes served with a rich port and red wine sauce plus in season
vegetable. £13.25. I like the sound of that. There is a pool room, but we decide to give it a miss.
I ask Wendy if she is planning to offer what we really enjoy from her days at the Bullers, namely
the Carvery lunch, and she says she will think about it for the future, but that we should try
the Sunday Lunch here anyway as it is every bit as good as the meals that we have just enjoyed.
This is a typical Dartmoor village pub and we wish Wendy and Maurice well with it. They are already
stuck into community matters, and Wendy offers to send me by e-mail a recent photo of the hunt
setting off from the pub. Here it is. Is that young David Jordan I see in the saddle ? I think so.
As with any food review I write, I ask if I would like to go back again - the Kestor Inn, I say, YES.
Kestor Inn, Manaton, Devon, TQ13 9UF, Website here.