REVIEW: The Elizabethan near Newton Abbot
PUBLISHED: 10:03 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:03 27 February 2018
Kate Haskell reveals a tucked away spot where she loves to dine…and suggests you will love it there too
There is a secret that many locals in a little pocket of South Devon have known about and appreciated for years and now, reluctantly, I am letting you in on it. I do this because finding a really good local pub that serves outstanding food at good prices and with great service can be, at times, a little tricky.
The Elizabethan - in the tiny hamlet of Luton, near Newton Abbot - is not a pub you will find on your own as you are unlikely to stumble across it; but once you have then its destination will be permanently in your sat nav.
Nick and Anne Powell took over the pub back in 2001 and set about creating a menu that celebrates good, honest, Devon food.
And it doesn’t come more honest than vegetables from the field next door to the pub, together with ice cream, jams, chutneys, bread and even gin all made by Nick and his team.
Some pubs, gastro pubs, fine dining pubs, whatever you want to call them, sometimes try too hard to be cutting edge but Nick knows what works well for his customer base: “I get frustrated with the celebrity hype around cooking”, he says.
“My feeling is that we are in a country pub half way between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth Golf Club, in a farming hamlet, so taking into account the demographics and bringing that all together I like to think we have created something unique.
“Rather than buying award-winning sausages from a local butcher that most people have tried we will buy local pork and make our own. We could buy in the bread but instead we make our own.”
It’s Nick and Anne’s attention to detail that has built and maintained a loyal customer base and in turn that has led to the opportunity to build an extension to the pub in recent months. This is a real labour of love, a bit of a risk perhaps, but now a real asset to the business enabling more tables but also bigger parties.
Features such as slate window sills and oak beams compliment not just the older part of the pub but also the surrounding countryside.
Finding the manpower for this, now bigger, business can be tricky at times Nick tells me as he shows me around: “Finding chefs that don’t want to have their own restaurant and more importantly have the right skills can be very tricky but I am fortunate to have had our head chef with us from just about day one and we then train up others coming into the trade.”
Despite having just completed a big project, standing still is not an option for this husband and wife team as Anne explains: “Each year we have goals to make more and more of our own food. We did buy local ice cream and sorbet but now we make our own.
“We create our own pies, jams, chutneys, mayonnaise and parfaits. We want to be as self-sufficient as possible because we know we can do it. Homemade is a word that is over-used and not always accurate.
“We try to be different and make the menu unique to us. Our gin, for example, you cannot get anywhere else; of course, there is a generic recipe but we vary the ingredients and it is how you put them together which makes them unique.
“We are also both so passionate about good hospitality, having a great location where people feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.”
With Anne and their young daughter Chloe by his side it is clear that this is a good team and a true family affair and for Nick it is the delight of every day being different that helps him get out of bed in the morning after a long shift in the kitchen the night before: “Every day is different - you never really know how many people will walk through the door wanting to eat.
“I just haven’t quite grasped the concept of what we’ve achieved here yet. I am proud of it but I am so busy just getting on with it.”