Sunday lunch. A great British tradition. A time to get together with friends, family and loved ones whilst catching up on the week’s news. My friends and I did just that last weekend at The Coombe Cellars, Combeinteignhead.
We headed down the A380 from Exeter on a very cold and blustery Sunday. The Coombe Cellars is situated approximately a 30-minute drive from the city of Exeter and is nestled on the River Teign Estuary on the edge of the small picturesque town of Combeinteignhead.
The Coombe Cellars is a premium pub, bar and restaurant with its very own garden and courtyard. Perfect for alfresco dining in the summer with outstanding views out over the estuary and the rolling Devon hills beyond. Unfortunately for us, it was far too cold to spend any time outside. It was a race from the car to the warmth of the fires inside, dodging the winter showers as we ran!
On arrival, we were greeted by the manager on duty. We alerted him of our booking and were given the option to go straight to our table or have a drink in the bar beforehand. We opted for the latter and made our way to the bar. The bar seemed well stocked with beers and spirits a plenty. Wines chilling in the fridge, I asked for the wine list. Our obliging server asked us what we liked and took the time to explain each of the wines to us. My friend Naomi choosing a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and myself a Chilean Chenin Blanc. I asked if there were any local wines on offer. Our server replied with a ‘no’ although was aware of Sharpham Vineyard which is probably the most local vineyard to Coombe Cellars. My other friend, Gemma decided on a non-alcoholic Seedlip and tonic.
We sat in the cosy bar area enjoying our drinks catching up on each other’s news. A new job for Naomi and an exciting photo shoot for Gemma and her British made jewellery brand, Cabinet. With time flying as we excitedly caught up, our waitress asked if we were ready to move through to the restaurant. We were and followed her through to our table with a view.
The restaurant has panoramic views of the estuary and most tables have an outstanding waterside vista. What a treat. Despite the howling winds and wintery showers outside we still managed to get a sense of alfresco dining that we all long for! The restaurant itself is decorated with a delightful colour palette of soft pinks and teals. To me, it almost had an art deco feel with a rather beautiful wall art, banquette seating and plush velvet soft furnishings.
But first, our starters. We opted for the salt and pepper squid with aioli, the special scallops dish with chorizo and avocado and the pan-fried mushrooms from the new vegan menu.
Each dish was presented beautifully. Naomi’s vegan pan-fried mushrooms being the top dish in our opinion. The flavours of soy, lime and ginger worked well here. My squid was crispy and dipped in the garlic aioli was tasty but nothing particularly special. Gemma’s scallops were cooked to perfection and were very pretty to look at with the green of the avocado and the paprika red of the chorizo.
My fig and dolcelatte nut roast was tasty with both the fig and blue cheese flavours shining through. The vegetables were all well cooked and a little different from the normal which was great. Both Naomi and Gemma agreed with me on this. They also commented that the meat was delicious but the beef was a little on the well-done side for Naomi’s taste. However, it didn’t distract too much from her overall enjoyment. The cauliflower cheese was sublime and well worth ordering. What made it particularly good was the addition of mozzarella which created a delightfully gooey cheese sauce and a lovely crunch to the edges of the dish.The Coombe Cellars, Combeinteignhead. The new interior design creates a sense of calm and cosiness with the soft colour palette and furnishings. On top of that, the service was impeccable from start to finish despite it being a busy lunchtime. Our waitress couldn’t have been more obliging. Answering our questions about the provenance of the food and the ingredients used to create the dishes.
My only criticism would be the multiple menus presented to us. I think it’s marvellous that The Coombe Cellars have a full vegan menu and I salute them for that but overall, there were far too many pieces of paper on the table to look at and choose from. Maybe this is something that could be looked at in the future? Personally, I prefer a smaller menu choice.
You will find The Coombe Cellars at Combeinteignhead, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4RT. They are open 11 am – 11 pm Monday to Saturday and 11 am – 10 pm on Sundays.
To make a booking call 01626 872423.