FROM OUTSIDE IT looked like a ‘bog standard’ pub on Dartmoor. The kind of pub in which you would expect to find weary walkers and cyclists, all dressed in appropriate outdoor gear splattered with mud. The sort of place where the customers wear walking boots and thick woolly socks that reach halfway up their calves. An old-fashioned country pub with a roaring open fire. You know the kind of place, quaintly decorated with folks objects such as horse brasses, copper bed pans, Toby jugs and so on. A pub where you would find sandwiches and chips as the only solid fare. However, despite looking like the kind of hostelry just described, The Dartmoor Inn Merrivale is quite a different ‘kettle of fish’.
On stepping through its entrance door, the first thing you will notice is a large wooden butcher’s slap piled with raw steaks of various kinds and cuts: sirloin, rumps, chateaubriand, rib eyes, huge tomahawks, and other tasty chunks of meat. Behind this in what was formerly a fire place, there is a sophisticated charcoal grill for cooking these meaty offerings. A chef coats the meat with sprinkling of salt, oil, and herbs before grilling it.
The pub’s decor is far from traditional. It is simply decorated in a contemporary style with a few good artworks on the walls. The pub is owned by a local organic farm, which also has shops in Marlborough, Totnes, Tavistock, and London (in Selfridges Food Hall).
For our midday meal, we ordered a Ploughman’s Lunch contains amongst other things excellent cheddar and locally made ham, and a plate of superb barely cooked roast beef. The food could not be faulted. The staff were enthusiastic about food and were very attentive.
The Dartmoor Inn has reasonably priced rooms for overnight stays. We hope to return, spend the night, and sample the excellent looking steaks on offer.
Just as it is unfair to judge a book by its cover, one should not rate a pub by its external appearance.