Places To Eat – The Coombe Cellars, Combeinteignhead

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!

Once inside we were immediately impressed with the quality of the decor. The Coombe Cellars has recently undergone a major refurbishment inside and out. The refurbished interior has created warm and cosy nooks to enjoy a coffee, lounge areas for pre-dinner drinks and a spacious restaurant with panoramic views out onto the Teign Estuary. I loved the way the whole bar and restaurant flowed. It was easy to manoeuvre with plenty of room for disabled access. The bar and restaurant areas are all on one level so no problems for anyone who might be a little unsteady underfoot.

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.

Menus in hand we had difficulty choosing. There was a lot of choice. Too much perhaps? A regular menu complete with starters, steaks, fish dishes and roasts. The specials menu and the new vegan menu. It was a little overwhelming to say the least. I often find that when I am presented with that much choice I can’t make a decision. It also makes me wonder how fresh the ingredients might be? The three of us went back and forth a little as we made our choices but seeing the Sunday roasts coming out around us we decided on trying them for ourselves.

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.

Next up, the main event. We all ordered roasts, each of us choosing something a little different. Naomi opted for the roast beef with all the trimmings, Gemma ordered roast pork and I had the vegetarian fig and dolcelatte nut roast. Each roast is served with buttered greens, roasted root vegetables, roast potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding. There is an option to add on cauliflower cheese for a small additional supplement. We ordered two between the three of us.

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.

With barely any room left for dessert, we decided on sharing a creme brûlée and a rather decadent melting chocolate and peanut bomb. Both very different in style but equally delicious. The vanilla flavour in the brûlée came through although we were slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a crunch in the burnt sugar topping. A simple, light dessert that rounded off lunch nicely. The chocolate and peanut bomb couldn’t have been more different from the brûlée. No simplicity here. This rich chocolate dessert was a real crowd pleaser. The chocolate sphere melting upon contact with the warm chocolate sauce to reveal a small chocolate and peanut cake inside. It was completely delicious but so, so rich. Thank goodness we decided on sharing.

All in all my friends and I enjoyed our visit to 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.

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