In amongst the glorious countryside of the South Hams is this 16th-century gem of a gastropub, The Millbrook Inn. South Pool village is a little off the beaten track but when you reach it, it’s somewhat idyllic. With South Pool Creek running alongside it, this undeniably charming venue, with all its nooks and crannies, is an enticing retreat where Charlie, the owner, warmly greeted us.
He took us through the menu, which dazzles with seasonal, French-inspired pub classics, and varies daily depending on what carefully chosen fish, meat and vegetables are available in the kitchen. Nearby landowners supply a range of game, including roe deer, pigeon and rose veal, which allows the French chef, Jean-Philippe Bidart, to create superlative dishes that highlight his hands-on approach. The inn even butchers its own meat and holds impromptu nose-to-tail demonstrations.
Behind the bar is a great range of ales including Otter and Salcombe, along with local cider, gin and a carefully selected range of wine. The dining tables are centred around the bar, and it’s a cosy affair thanks to the open fire and candlelit tables.
Our starters of sublime mackerel fillet ceviche with sesame seed-wrapped tuna accompanied by a fennel and rocket salad, along with guinea fowl and belly pork terrine paired with tangy spiced plum and onion chutney, dressed salad and rustic bread kicked things off. The following pan-fried Bath chaps (pig’s cheeks) and tenderloin pork served with potato rosti, braised Savoy and red wine jus was luscious. Meanwhile, my partner was captivated by the meltingly tender lamb rump and cutlet on wholegrain mustard mash and accompanied by vegetables and rosemary sauce.
The chef’s skills shone bright when it came to the chocolate delice on mixed nut and chocolate soil, accompanied by sharp raspberry sorbet. The handmade chocolate fondant, spiced pineapple and homemade Bounty bar alongside zingy lemon and lime sorbet was just as inspiring and looked beautiful. The chalkboard outside proudly reads, ‘English pub food collides with French auberge cuisine in a reassuringly pubby way, showcasing an array of wonderful seasonal produce from the surrounding area’ and, after a fantastic culinary adventure, we couldn’t agree more.