I think we're all aware of Combe House, the beautiful…
Naturally, you’d wonder why an inn would be called Church House Inn, you wouldn’t have thought inns and churches were compatible. Various reasons abound on how Church Houses they came about. The one at Rattery apparently, was built for the workmen as accommodation prior to starting work on the church. I have heard also that church houses were built because in olden days, celebrations took place in the church, along with the consumption of alcohol, not an entirely compatible recipe for a controllable congregation.
The Church House at Rattery is positioned uniquely, on a knoll, with the church just opposite. It’s a memorable situation, the surroundings unspoilt and verdant. The church is actually just a few paces across the car park, the land dropping off rapidly outside the churchyard, exposing yet more countryside.
There’s a beer garden at the side and recently, an oak-framed conservatory has been added to provide more restaurant seating and is a worthy, tasteful addition to this historic inn. The Church House Inn dates back to the 1400s although the site probably had a building well before that date.
With regard to the food, which is why we visited the Church House Inn, their culinary offering was excellent. For starters we opted for Tiger Prawn Tempura and Breaded Sharpham Brie. You can’t really go wrong with our English cheeses, actually I think our cheeses are superior to our French counterpart’s offering these days, and Sharpham’s cheeses are in the top rank. For mains, we sampled Slow Roasted Pork Belly with cider sauce, mustard mash and seasonal greens – all excellent. Fish Stew was also chosen – things can go badly wrong with this type of dish, but I have to report that it was totally delicious, it had the additional ½ lobster added (only an extra tenner), and it was an extremely memorable dish. The rouille and sour dough being brilliant – top marks, most definitely a return visit job. We struggled with ordering pudding, the previous courses being so generous, but opted for that staple, Chocolate Brownie (below), which was delicious, and the cheese board which was great. All in all, Church House is a really excellent choice for dining, friendly staff, great ambience and lovely bar/dining area and beer garden. Best of all, totally excellent food that was a treat to sample. Top marks!
Note: Crux Craft Fair at Rattery is open on Friday 25th Nov (4-7pm), Sat and Sun 26 & 27th Nov (10am-5pm). A great craft event, with teas, coffees, lunches available, all vegetarian. You could finish the day with dinner at Church House Inn – Editor.