It’s unusual to stumble upon a jolly, thriving dining pub in the thick of the meandering north Devon countryside. The Pyne Arms, however, specialises in surprises, discovers Rosanna Rothery
A menu of warming, hearty standards belies the passion that’s been poured into every part of this pub, which hums with the chatter of happy visitors.
From front of house friendliness to new takes on familiar dishes, owners Ellis and Amie Parnell succeed in exceeding expectations.
VISIT for good pub food with a twist. Pork schnitzel is simple enough, but when crispy coated pork and golden duck egg team up with zingy homemade piccalilli, it’s blissful.
Similarly, chocolate mousse is elevated from the standard slip-down-the-throat sugary hit when white-atop-dark chocolate harbours a crumbly surprise in its intense depths.
DON’T VISIT for “fine dining”. Yes there’s a smart dining room as an alternative to the bar, but essentially this is a praiseworthy but unpretentious eating out experience.
WE LIKED (no, loved) the artfully constructed beetroot roulade: layers of potato and beets given the dauphinoise treatment with cream, garlic, thyme and rosemary.
Add that to breaded Vulscombe goat’s cheese, crispy broccoli fritters, homegrown veg and herby red wine gravy, and we can declare it the best veggie dish we’ve had all year.
INSIDER’S TIP Imbibe a Mena Dhu Cornish Stout on the courtyard terrace and catch forty winks in a characterful bedroom before exploring the rolling countryside on the doorstep.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter East Down onion soup, vintage cheddar toastie
Main Braised Heal Farm ox cheek, dauphinoise potato, celariac, beer braised onion, carrots, beef jus
Pud Lemon cheesecake, honeycomb ice cream
Three courses from £24.40