The Crows Nest Inn, Darite Nr Liskeard

We all know the form, Country Pub serving evening meals, usually come in two varieties…the wannabe celebrity chef with nouveaux cuisine portions in inverse proportion to the price or the traditional drinkers local offering Bake Bros. bargain of the week. As vegetarians, the jokes about nouveaux portions & pre prepared bought in meals can be particularly apt.

So it was with a little anxiety that we booked for a meal mid week….a real test  of the menu. The Landlady on the phone assured us that the  vegetarian dish of the day was just that, a dish of the day.

We arrived at 8pm, a gaggle of locals drinking at the bar opposite the entrance porch, always a good sign. Long common room with tables to either end, quirky selection of music…definitely not a muzak venue. Genuine olde world pub with no faux set dressing, the real McCoy………..including 17C facilities – outside loos. I’m told the ladies are carpeted! I counted twelve other diners apart from ourselves, not bad for a midweek night. Got drinks at bar and Landlady automatically put on the dining tab. St Austell Brewery tied house, but Tribute Ale is a more than passable beverage.

Small niggle, no menu at the table and a while before we were brought a menu. The menu on A4 printed sheet makes for ease of change! The menu is clear that every meal is cooked fresh to order, so there might be a slight delay. Am I gonna be on a second pint before the starter?

Interesting selection of starters…no garlic mushrooms, definite plus. Testing their flexibility, could we have the shared Mediterranean platter with cheese instead of cooked meats….”sure, but can’t confirm rennet free status of cheese”. Excellent presentation, hot breads, sun dried tomatoes, olives, humus, the best balsamic vinegar & bit of greenery, and plenty of cheese…..ample to graze on. Second  pint.

For the main course we had the option of a larger alternative veg starter (stuffed mushrooms or baked camembert) or the vegetarian dish the day, an aubergine bake with a cheese, spinach, mushroom filling topped with an aubergine & tomato sauce. Fresh buttered new potatoes, red cabbage & broccoli. No nouveaux portions here, but nor stack em high. Tasty and just right amount. Although we said we didn’t want a dessert we asked to see the menu, goodly selection. I asked for coffee…a two mug cafatier…ah real coffee, none of the usual anodyne ‘barista’ nonsense.

Thing that really bugs me in restaurants and some gastro pubs is the attempt to hassle you out (had floors mopped around us in one overpriced restaurant, no tip there)….and the Crows Nest Inn? ended up joining in conversations at the bar, a real welcoming local. Be back soon.

The Landlady Abi told us they have no difficulty providing for vegans, but could she have a couple of days notice, please. The ‘normal’ meat and fish menu was full & from what we saw being served up to the other diners, a splendid selection, nicely presented.

To book a table call Abi Frowde or Tim Bewshea on 01579 345930

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