An ancient interior of dark beams and cosy nooks, flickering candles and an astonishing bar list are the supporting cast to exceptional pub food in the countryside at The NoBody Inn, discovers Jo Rees
Far from there being ‘nobody inn’, this hidden away country pub has been a dining destination for those in the know since the 17th century (probably) and certainly when Nick Borst-Smith ran it in the 90s and early noughties. Then when it was taken over by Sue Burdge a decade ago, she achieved the difficult feat of developing the well-loved inn yet further, and introduced new features such as smart bedrooms and its own house gin. Last year it was awarded Good Hotel Guide Inn of the Year.
It’s always been the liquid libations that have made The NoBody Inn particularly special though (it won Best Bar List at the 2017 Trencherman’s Awards). Its whisky collection of over 260 brands, strong spirits selection and quality wine cellar numbering 250 varieties (including many by the glass) are pretty unrivalled in any pub in the South West.
VISIT for the full experience. In addition to its authentic country inn setting and alcoholic frolics, the pub grub is exceptional.
Unpretentious, classic and seasonal, local ingredients are put to appropriate work in a pleasingly small (not too small, but it’s clear that nothing has been whipped out of the freezer) menu. Be seduced by meltingly good ox cheek which has been braised for eight hours, thrill to the complex notes of the house hotsmoked salmon and delight in juicy local duck breast shot with notes of star anise.
DON’T VISIT for dinner in splendid isolation. Well, not on the weekend anyway, when the lively ambience and cosy architecture means you’re likely to be in quite close quarters with other diners. It’s great if you’re feeling the spirit of the place and enjoy feeding off the cheerful community vibe.
WE LIKED the house gin. Heavy on orange notes and served with a slice of the fresh fruit and a dash of Fever-Tree tonic, it’s a zesty kick-off to any evening at the inn.
INSIDER’S TIP Doddiscombsleigh is rural and bucolic and not that easy to find, but it’s actually only three miles from Exeter Racecourse, so don’t be deterred from your mission.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter House hot-smoked salmon with black garlic and caper puree
Main Braised ox cheek in Mena Dhu Stout sauce with horseradish mash and buttered kale
Pud Crème brûlée
3 courses from £20
The cult of being idle was extolled for bringing 'happiness and joy'. Kinda fitting for an evening stuffing your face at relaxed dining pub The Lazy Toad