On a deceivingly balmy autumnal Thursday…
That’s how all things start now, weather wise. Thirty two minutes after hauling long forgotten wellies onto your feet, fishing the “big coat” down from the attic & telling your loved ones how much you love them. To step out into a blustery morning that usually only hardened “old boy” trawler men can handle. Thirty two lots of sixty seconds is all it takes for you to be sweltering under a safari-esq sun. Screaming why, why am I wearing two pairs of socks!
…with our first born son left in the loving care of my parents, we ran to the car with shouts of “freedom!” to a lunch date. Yes, on a Thursday too, aren’t we fancy.
The Lamb at Longdown is headed by chef Dolton Lodge & can be found 3.7 miles from Exeter Central station (thanks magical phone map). It sit’s within the Devonshire countryside, described as “semi-rural” which is true to some. Certainly to the locals that drop off freshly shot game, pulled & cut root vegetables. Something that Dolton is proud to champion. But, still very rural to others that might have stepped straight into a taxi from Exeter, watched concrete business parks and chain restaurants turn into leafy golden green surroundings. Fields littered with ramblers & pheasants calling with rich Devon accents. Devonishly-tweedy.
The Lamb at Longdown is the kind of mythical pub you stumble across when you need it most. It has log fires, comfy sofas, local amber ales, plummy spiced red wines, enchanting whisky selection, great local coffee… it has it all. The menu is what you’d want, restrained and seasonal. Showing confidence and knowledge. It’s small selection of pub classics fish and chips, short rib burger… show exactly the same attention to detail as the a la carte. But with touch of nostalgia, the “burger sauce” element that sings of a misspent youth eating a certain big burger from a massive chain, brought on a toothy grin. It’s reasonably priced, has a fixed menu option & has interesting puddings – hallelujah! Sadly, I didn’t get to try their “chocolate and malt” offering.
We settled down with our menu, I drank a small ale and my beautiful partner in crime had a large glass of red. We ordered the scotch egg & scallops to start, classics. Both perfect, delicious. Then moved onto mains of Lamb & monkfish. Cooked with care, plated with passion and paired with seasonal flavours. Full of texture and generosity.
Miso butter. sourdough.Scotch egg, piccalilli. Scallops, roe tuile, butternut squash.Monkfish, curried spices, chard, crispy mussels.Lamb, hassle back potatoes, lamb bon bon, lamb jus.
Delicious food, great service, knowledgeable team, provenance by the bucket load – oh and if you get there before the local poacher/farmer/neighbour with an allotment, you might not be able to order everything. Brilliant.