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Ring of Bells North Bovey
Anyone who knows me, or has read my profile will know that I love fine food. My partner and I love eating out, so I thought I'd do a little review every time we do, so that readers can see what the places are like - warts and all.
Now I must admit to liking quite 'cheffy' food, which alot of my friends might call 'poncey', but to me that's what fine dining is all about. we're pretty good cooks at home, so when I go out I like to have food that I just wouldn't produce in the kitchen, and a really good bottle of wine to go with it.
We do occasionally go out to a pub-grub kinda place, and I'll review those too.
The Ring of Bells, North Bovey, Dartmoor
The Ring Of Bells North Bovey
The Ring of Bells Pub is situated in the picturesque village of North Bovey, close to Moretonhampstead, Dartmoor. The pub changed hands in 2008 and was refurbished. It is an old thatched building, dates remain vague, but some say the pub goes back to the 1200s; certainly a sign outside claims that its a 13th century pub.
The decor inside is what you'd expect to see from an old English pub, narrow corridoors, small rooms, lots of oak, very low ceilings and whitewashed walls. As with many coutry pubs, this one is dog friendly, so expect a few labradors, terriers and gundogs lolling about.
Because the rooms are ancient, they are quite small, so tables are close together and you have to work hard not to overhear your neighbour's conversation. However, Dartmoor folk are a friendly lot, so you'll likely as not have made friends with everyone in the room before you leave. Just be careful you don't step in the dog's bowl.
Mine Host, simon Saunders and his staff were friendly and courteous, without being pushy, and the service was swift, but not rushed. The menu offered good choices of local food, not too mucked about with.
For starters we decided to share a plate of deep fried whitebait, with lemon wedges and tartare sauce, for £5.95. No-one batted an eyelid that we were sharing a starter, and the food was good; the little fish were golden, crisp and crunchy, and came with a salad garnish and some decent granary bread and butter. The tartare sauce was firm and tangy.
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For the main course I chose Lincombe Farm Lamb Leg Steak with Sweet Potato Mash and Saute Green Vegetables for £11.95.
Again we didn't have to wait too long, despite the pub being full (this was school half-term week). The lamb was beautifully browned on the outside, pink in the middle and tender, with a delicious gravy. The sweet potato mash was buttery and the green veg (french beans, leeks and wilted spinach) were crisp. If I was being really, really picky, there was just too much mash for me, but then I recognise that many people like a gurt-big plateful of food when they go out. Also, the whole meal was served in a bowl, which looked very attractive, but I would have liked a plate and a steak knife, as I found the lamb a little difficult to cut.
Terri ordered Creedy Carver Duck in Anise and port sauce with braised red cabbage and green beans, for £12.95. The duck was pink and tender and nicely complemented by the sauce. Terri who doesn't really like red cabbage was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this. She felt the sauce complemented the cabbage well. Again, if we were really picky, the skin on the duck could have been a bit crisper; it was just on the flabby side.
For pudding I chose Plum Tarte Tatin with Clotted Cream, for £5.00. What can I say - I died and went to heaven! Lovely sharp plums and just the right amount of chewiness to the pastry, with thick, buttery clotted cream on the side. Fantastic!
Terri chose Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Compote and White Chocolate and Lime Ice cream, for £5.50. Another really good dessert. We were both surprised that the tart was hot - I don't know why we should have, but we'd both assumed it would be cold. Anyhow, it was rich and chocolatey with tangy sharp raspberries, plus fragrant ice cream. Mmmm really good, but I think my Plum Tarte Tatin won!
Whenever we go out, we don't choose a wine to go with the food, we'd rather choose a wine that we think we'd like. Anyone who's read any of my hubs knows that I'd plump for a Bordeaux every time. Not every wine list has one, which is probably good as I should spread my wings and try other wines, Plus, Bordeaux is soooo damned expensive!
Wine buffs always tell you that you should never pick the second wine on the list, as this is the duff one that the establishment is trying to get rid of. They put it second, because lots of people won't pick the first on the list for fear of being thought of as cheapskates!
So what did we do? Picked the second wine on the list, Don Placero Rioja 2008 (Spanish). It was described as being violet in colour, full-bodied, fruity and mellow. In fact it was all of these, a deep rich red, full of berry flavours, but not too dry and tannic. A lovely rounded mouthful. Yummy! If this was the minger on the menu, the others must be fantastic. I can't remember exactly how much it cost, but reckon it was around £14.00 - and well worth it!
All in all, we had a great meal; good food, good wine, good atmosphere and all for around 56 quid. Can't be bad.
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