CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Patrick’s Pub Trawls

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 December 2014

This is an establishment that turns out to be much more than the name might suggest

This is an establishment that turns out to be much more than the name might suggest


In his regular series of columns for Devon Life, PATRICK McCAIG of The Otter Brewery takes us on a trawl of some of his favourite pubs

The Lifton Hall Hotel - a new hall of fame!The Lifton Hall Hotel - a new hall of fame!

The Lifton Hall Hotel, Lifton

The first signs of autumn weather appear as spots on the windscreen, a sure sign that I’m nearly in Cornwall. I have yet to reach the border as I drive that lovely road which saddles the north side of Dartmoor (A386) through Bridestowe and on to Lewdown. I chuckle with worrying volume as I pass the home of Jethro and his friend Denzill Penberthy. These kind of things remind me how lucky we are to live in Devon and feed my desire to find yet another gem of a hostelry in our county. The glint of an Ambrosia stainless steel silo reminds me of the old strapline “Devon knows how they make it so creamy” and I find myself repeating it over and over again testing my best Devon accent with various intonations. I chuckle more and realise that I’m happy in my work and looking forward to discovering a little more about one of the pubs that lie in the heart of Lifton, the last outpost before Cornwall.

Run by Richard and Robert, this is an establishment that turns out to be much more than the name might suggest. A clue to Lifton Hall’s charm could be found in the CVs of its proprietors. It is true to say that a ‘local’ establishment should cater for all sorts but the rub is that many landlords are unable to deal with such a challenge. These boys’ experience certainly flies the flag of hospitality. Their former lives have covered most quarters of the trade from large-scale contract catering to the running of a successful waterside establishment on Plymouth’s Barbican. Richard was, and still is, a qualified nurse and Robert drove a mobile library around Clapham and Wandsworth. What comes out of this experience is character and confidence, unique traits that run through the veins and around the bar and kitchens of Lifton Hall.

The entrance is as you’d expect from a “hall” but not ostentatious. Once inside, the bar is functional (be sure to duck in places) and suggests to me a place of fun stocked with a good choice of wines and local beers. Posters advertise their film nights with fish and chips rather than the more traditional ice creams. I’m imagining a different style of usherette here!

But what really caught my eye were their themed food nights. Typically these would have been Italian, French or Indian, but no, we’re at Lifton Hall, let’s go Icelandic, Fijian or Hungarian! Brilliant - original, confident and tasty. We hit the end of the Hungarian festival and were not disappointed. A smoothish Hungarian paté studded with pistachio nuts served with warm, doughy homemade bread and a sticky fig and date chutney on the side. For pudding we had Robert’s strudel with homemade chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The best bit was that all our food tasted genuinely Hungarian.

The everyday evening and lunchtime menus are more traditional but nonetheless, inventive and have clearly been put together with a great deal of imagination. I was positively surprised in every quarter at the Lifton Hall Hotel. In fact, we struggled to leave as we were so engaged with Richard and Robert’s anecdotes. If that was typical of chilled bar chat, I’d definitely sign up to be a local!


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Fri, 10:27

Devon Life’s readers and followers have been voting for their favourite food & drink stars and we can now reveal our winners who were honoured at our glamorous ceremony at Sandy Park on November 15

Read more
Wed, 08:31

Public Houses are a cornerstone of life here in Britain, dating back as far as the Roman invasion in 43 AD. Devon is no different and its humble establishments are steeped in history and nostalgia. We’ve taken a look at 11 of the county’s most historical pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A traditional Christmas pudding recipe, served with clotted cream and a brandy Crème Anglaise with a dash of cognac

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Whether you have strawberry or raspberry jam on your scones, or prefer Earl Grey to English breakfast tea, we’ve found 12 of the best tearooms that Devon has to offer

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

We’ve spoken to award-winning chef Michael Caines MBE to find out more about Lympstone Manor’s wine celebration evenings and when their new vineyard will produce its first bottle of wine

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Check out Michael Caines’ column in the latest issue of Devon Life where you can read more about what this recipe will be perfect with

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of Devon’s Tea Room / Coffee Shop of the Year. Sponsored by Radio Exe

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of Devon’s Best Sunday Roast. Sponsored by

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of the Pub of the Year award. Sponsored by WBW Solicitors

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner for the Restaurant of the Year award. Sponsored by Westchem

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner for the Local Producer of the Year award. Sponsored by Exeter Chiefs

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner for the Independent Retailer of the Year award. Sponsored by NFU Mutual

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search