Naturally, you’d wonder why an inn would be called Church…
We visited the Five Bells in August on one of those lovely summer evenings where you could enjoy a drink in the garden before retiring indoors to eat. It’s situated in sleepy Clyst Hydon and you are very grateful for the satnav here as it’s a little off the beaten track. The garden’s lovely, with fields and trees all around.
Devon has many fine eateries that’s certain, the standard of food delivered to the table these days can be impressive, although there are still many pubs/inns aspiring to the ‘gastro’ dining label, which fail dismally, delivering overpriced and pretentious food that can disappoint on many levels. I think I’m right in saying that none of us mind paying the extra for proper high quality, but when the food is just mediocre, it can ruin your experience.
A cursory glance at the menu can be quite revealing, sometimes you get the feeling that it’s contrived to tick the usual ‘gastro’ boxes, and there’s a level of lip service being paid to make things appear what they’re possibly not.
Happily, the only conclusion to be drawn after dining at the Five Bells was that a true master resides in the kitchen. Not only did each course taste utterly fantastic, but the visual presentation was approaching what you could consider to be ‘art’ on a plate! One of the very best meals we’ve ever had in Devon – utterly superb – I have no reservations in awarding a Devonshire magazine Fine-Dining Gold award to the Five Bells Inn.
The Five Bells Inn changed hands just under a year ago with Gary and Graciela now being the owners. Chef Ian Webber, (formerly Head Chef of the two Michelin starred Gidleigh Park for 6 years) still resides and his flair has helped the pub earn (and retain for the last 3 years) a rare Michelin Bib Gourmand.
So, if you fancy a peaceful drive out to an old thatched inn set amongst lovely Devonshire countryside, you can enjoy true gourmet food at the Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon, East Devon.