I had heard a lot of good things about the food in The Black Horse Inn, Torrington, so on a beautiful Bank Holiday Monday in August what better way to spend the day than a walk over Torrington Common and down by the river, followed by a big feed in The Black Horse Inn.
The pub itself dates back to the 16th Century. Apparently it was a coaching inn during the Civil War. I love old country pubs like this – traditional oak beams and the characteristic uneven floor! The pub also offers accommodation with three en-suite rooms including a family room.
As it was a Bank Holiday I made sure I booked for lunch – certainly the dining room was fairly busy, but I’m sure lunch on the hop wouldn’t have been an issue either. They confirmed that they can cater for gluten free diets, so off we trotted.
When we arrived we were shown into the dining area of the restaurant to a window seat overlooking the main town square. There was a fair amount of choice on the menu, and a ‘specials’ board for both lunch and evening, although very little would have been gluten free (apart from jacket potatoes) and as such nothing was labelled as gluten free. So we went and had a chat to the barmaid (I think it was the owner) about what could be done to cater for me. She was lovely and very helpful and went and consulted the chef, who was very happy to cook one of the evening specials (either steak or bass fillet) for me for lunch.
Everyone else ummmmed and ahhhhed over the choices. The food was very traditional wholesome British fayre and certainly the food being delivered to other tables all looked well cooked and hearty.
I decided upon the steak with roast potatoes (as the chips were fried in the same oil as other breaded products and thus not gluten free). I was asked how I wanted it cooked and it was perfect when it arrived. My only problem was that to create my meal there was a lot of too-ing and fro-ing to the kitchen to check with the chef. Life would have been a lot easier for all concerned if the pub had a separate menu that I could choose from with minimum fuss and bother. I always feel that the poor serving staff and the chef must roll their eyes at the constant questions – especially if they are busy.
Hubby ordered the bass fillet, which again was an evening special. It was cooked with spring onion, soy, garlic and ginger. He said it was absolutely delicious. It came with chips and a generous side salad.
My mum had the quiche with salad and chips – again (because we are the dietary family from hell) they checked with the kitchen that the quiche came without cucumbers and peppers as my mum is allergic to both. The server couldn’t have been more accommodating and helpful. It was a large helping and my mum was glad she asked for the senior serving, which is smaller than the normal portion.
My son pontificated forever, eventually deciding on the mega burger. It came with pulled chicken and all the gubbins. Being the veg-adverse teenager he is, he asked for it without anything green or red! I did manage to persuade him to try the onion rings that came with it, because you never know he may like them! As it turned out he did – he said they were nice and crispy. The burger was substantial, especially with the chips and salad (although he only actually ate the lettuce and left the rest of the healthy stuff!).
The meal of the day, however, was my daughter’s scampi. Everyone, except me obviously, tried it and they all commented on how fresh the scampi was. It looked it too from my point of view! Again the portion size was hearty and I was sure that none of us would have to eat for at least another week…..until they saw the dessert board that is! It was huge with a vast selection, but alas apart from some of the ice cream, none of it was suitable for me – but I was stuffed anyway, so that wasn’t a huge issue.
The Dorset pear cake came recommended, so hubby had that. He said it was nice – not stand out amazing though. My son (where do teenagers put it!) ordered the white chocolate cheesecake. He said although it had a nice flavour, it was a little claggy and not as good as the one at The Riverside Hotel, Boscastle (to read my review click here). That didn’t stop him finishing it though obviously.
My daughter, after yamming all the scampi, ordered the waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce. She said the waffle was a little hard, but that didn’t stop her from eating the lot!
As can be seen from the pictures all the desserts were beautifully presented.
I would highly recommend The Black Horse Inn, Torrington – all the main dishes were well cooked and all looked as good as they tasted. The desserts were a little bit of a let down, but still very good. However, what made the lunch was the exemplary service. Despite being busy, nothing was too much trouble. All the staff were friendly and accommodating. My one criticism though would be to sort out a gluten free menu to make it easier on everyone, front of house and the kitchen.
Opening hours: Lunch between 12 and 2pm, dinner between 7pm and 9pm (but they do shut the kitchen at 8:30 if it’s quiet).
Gluten free friendly: Accommodating and helpful, but would be easier with a separate menu.
Child friendly: Children and babies are very welcome.
Disabled access: Access to the toilets is difficult.
Dog friendly: Dogs are welcome.