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36


restaurant review The BEAR and BLACKSMITH


S


u and I have visited this very best example of what a good village pub should be many


times, both professionally and personally, with its outstanding food, friendly and welcoming team and a lively, buzzy atmosphere. However, the moment we


walked in we sensed something was extra special that night and so it was – Malcolm and Claire had just learnt The Bear and Blacksmith in Chillington had been awarded Gold in the Dining Pub category of the Taste of the West Awards 2018/19. A level of recognition so richly deserved by all the team who have worked tirelessly to create everyone’s ideal ‘local’. The supremely talented brigade


in the kitchen headed by Malcolm whose formidable reputation for excellence is long established in the area; partner Claire – seafood supremo and pastry chef par excellence (do try her home made biscotti with coffee!); Jenny whose talents with vegetarian, vegan and Asian cuisine know no bounds; and trainee sous, Lou. With a smile from ear to ear, Lou cannot disguise she is loving every moment of her train- ing alongside Malcolm who rec- ognised a talent worth nurturing


BY AMANDA BLOOMER


– as we discovered when enjoying dishes Lou had prepared for us. Su had that post-Christmas indul-


gence ‘keep it simple’ mindset so one of Jenny’s vegetarian starters was perfect that evening – recom-


“The Bear and


Blacksmith kitchen achieves that happy balance between rustic and refined”


mended by Claire, the mini-loaf combining aubergine, polenta and nuts was, Su declared, ‘exactly what I wanted’. As was my own starter – Beesands scallops pan fried with


garlic, gently lapped by perfectly smooth pea puree waves. I find these bivalves hard to resist and have eaten many more than I care to remember but Malcolm’s always deliver that something extra, in flavour, texture and juiciness. I then opted for warming winter


game, Su for fish. My glorious pheasant supreme had spent a leisurely time gently marinading sous-vide in thyme, fresh orange, confit garlic and goose fat before being pan fried in luxurious quantities of butter – trust me, you could tell! Surround- ed by Hasselback potatoes, wilted kale and braised redcabbage sticky with orange and apple, this was a deceptively simple dish which


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