CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Patrick’s Pub Trawls: Patrick McCaig visits The Passage House Inn, Topsham

PUBLISHED: 14:43 22 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:43 22 April 2015

The Passage House Inn, Topsham

The Passage House Inn, Topsham

Archant

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 Passage House Inn - still is the “pubiest” pub in TopshamThe Passage House Inn - still is the “pubiest” pub in Topsham

The Passage House Inn ranks highly in Topsham’s “Ten”. The Topsham Ten used to be a challenge amongst the fun-loving drinking community to see their way around this beautiful village via its ten hostelries. Things are a little different these days but I’d still be open to the challenge if pushed!

On a slightly more historical tack, Topsham was once the second busiest port in England and The Passage House (once The Ferry Inn) is understood to date back to 1721. The famous small Dutch bricks that were used as paying ballast on the ships that returned to Holland with cargoes of wool and cloth are evident throughout.

The building (the name had changed to The Passage House by 1822) also owned ferry rights across the River Exe. These rights remained with the pub when Heavitree Brewery took ownership in 1928. Mike Stevens (the current ferryman) makes the “passage” when the tide is right and facilitates the perfect crossover point for keen cyclists needing a pit stop between Dawlish and Exeter.

It’s good to see a young crew at the helm of The Passage House. Carly Parsons heads up this team with her 21-year old-head chef Luke Moor (formerly from another one of Topsham’s Ten). There is a vibrancy in this recently refitted pub and it casts its net wide to attract a good local crowd in addition to the many visitors to Topsham. Next to us was a 40th birthday party and the laughter from the children was lovely to hear. This is a real country pub with a beautiful view of the River Exe. The tide laps the sea wall at the end of the garden.

Carly and Luke are serious about their call to support local. Nearby Lympstone Fish provide the catch of the day and there are plans afoot to deliver fish directly by boat. Good Game, based in Topsham, supply their meat. These boys are the definition of true artisans, using only salt and the natural Exe estuary air to cure their charcuterie. Having scanned the specials, which appear across a long line of slates on the wall, we opted for fish (as you must) and discovered that age is no barrier to the genius in the kitchen.

The fast flowing River Exe sits in the middle of a Special Site of Scientific Interest (just like our brewery does) so this is a landscape the local fisherman want to look after. The fresh Lympstone mussels are served in three different ways: as traditional moules marinière, in a Thai style or with a tomato and herb sauce. I had a fabulous bouillabaisse and washed it down with a dry draft cider from Lyme Bay. We also enjoyed a well kept pint of Otter Amber, a great seasonal beer from St Austell and finished with a classic sticky sticky toffee pudding and fresh coffee.

Carly’s enthusiasm struck me as special. She’s very proud and deservedly so of the new décor in The Passage House. In my view it was and still is the “pubbiest” pub in Topsham. I remember though it being too dark, compact. Not now. The refreshing alternative is a clever cross between modern and weathered. It picks up the colours of the River Exe and feels gently nautical. The whole pub seems to have opened its revitalised arms to locals and visitors alike. Long may it continue.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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 Out & About

Tue, 11:06

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Dust off your walking shoes and head to South Devon – here are 6 reasons why the area is so good for a stroll writes Victoria Rogers

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There is something quite life-enriching about being by the water and in Devon there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, writes Fran McElhone. Including surfing, wild swimming, water skiing and more, here are 10 great ways to enjoy Devon’s water

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and plenty of the county’s most distinctive sections of coastline, it’s no wonder that the South Hams district is home to some of Devon’s prettiest places. We pick out 10 of the best towns and villages the area has to offer

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Devon is as beautiful underwater as it is above. Chrissy Harris highlights the best places to discover our county’s hidden depths… Here are 6 great places for crabbing, rockpooling and diving

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