Culm Valley Inn

Culmstock , Cullompton, EX15 3JJ

10 reviews

25 Gastropub Devon

Culm Valley Inn

SquareMeal Review of Culm Valley Inn

Don’t be put off by the care-worn appearance of Richard Hartley’s highly individual inn, a former branch-line railway hotel. Once through the paint-peeling front door, it’s not exactly smart but deep pink-washed walls, glowing coal fires, soft candlelight & a huge welcome have the desired effect. The laid-back chef-patron makes this place tick with effortless style, serving top-notch microbrewery beers & unusual wines from small specialist growers (all available by the bottle or glass). Chalkboards list 'stunning' pub food: Ladram Bay crab, weekend fish specials such as whole brill with basil cream sauce, Ruby Red Devon beef, local wild boar & a 'beautifully presented' tapas selection. Dishes are generally available in three sizes & at prices to suit all pockets. In addition, the kitchen cures and smoke its own hams & makes sausages. The setting, beside the River Culm deep in the Blackdown Hills, is glorious. Cash only.

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6.5

Food & Drink: 6.9

Service: 6.4

Atmosphere: 8.0

Value: 6.2

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Kim P. 10 November 2012

My friends and I went to the Culm Valley Inn for lunch. Never again. The food took ages to come, I had to go and find out what had happened to it. The food was overpriced for what it was. The service was absolutely terrible and the coffee was cold. One member of staff was so miserable and unwelcoming, I certainly would not go back there, it was a shame as its in a lovely spot and I didn't mind all the dogs milling around but can see that it would put some people off.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Alan W. 20 September 2012

It does make me laugh how people can go in a dirty messy old country pub and find it quaint, – no it is what it is and this pub is dirty and messy. Cats jump on the table you are going to eat on, dogs eat foods off plates and the whole place is a mess. If thats how you like to live at home then enjoy as for me it does not matter how good the food is if thats the surroundings you have to eat in.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Lemonjuice 17 May 2012

My partner, myself and few friends went here last saturday night for a birthday meal. We loved the decor and feel of the pub. It was a bit tatty but full of atmosphere and as much an old fashioned pub as a restaurant. It was reasonably busy and only one waitress ran around the tables. The food was a little slow arriving but we could see through the serving hatch into the kitchen, that the chef was working hard to get the food out. It was all delicious! A fantastic Balinese squid, very authentic tasting! , a lovely fish stew, steak, perfectly tender etc and very tasty puddings, especially a Portuguese almond tart! The pub dogs were wandering around our table but the chef came out and shooed them back to the bar. We were treated to some very good piano playing including Happy Birthday for the birthday girl, which completed the laid back atmosphere. It is the kind of place you feel like lingering around after your meal All in all it was a lovely evening and I would recommend anyone to give it a go as long as you are not expecting fine dining and silver service!

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

sarah s. 08 May 2011

I recently visited this pub with a group of friends. We had our table booked in advance for 12:30, had ordered within 10 minutes, and did not receive our sunday lunch until 3:30. There was no explanation or apology offered by the staff or landlord for this delay. The food was ok when we finally got it, but we got the impression that we were less important than the locals who arrived later and were served sooner. I'm from Devon myself and we have so many great pubs but this unfortunately isn't one of them. I won't visit again, if you do maybe take a packed lunch to keep you going!

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 1.0

Jan R. 03 May 2011

first and last visit for me i'm afraid. i asked for a vodka and diet coke , i got cheap vodka and the coke came out of a 2 litre plastic bottle. the menu was very restricted for me as i don't eat meat , so opted for lemon sole. oh dear , disaster ! when it was placed in front of me i noticed that the top was a bit pink , i thought it was because i'd asked for the head to be taken off. when i went to cut into it a load of pink slime came oozing out !!! this i was told was the eggs , like caviar . i asked for fish , not caviar or roe. not too keen on the dogs wandering around the dining area and begging at the tables either. and the highlight had to be being faced with the cat licking it's bits while i was trying to eat the only edible thing on the plate that was the veg !!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Richard S. 20 February 2011

Found this inn 2 years ago having got lost taking a detour. It was warm and inviting with a log fire burning so we decided to have a meal. The steak was superb and my partner enjoyed bream. Since this first encounter we have been back many times and enjoyed every meal. I'm fussy with fish and never order it when eating out but I make an exception here as i find it eceptional. The service is always good. I hope to be going back for many years to come.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Ann L. 07 October 2010

I went to the Culm Valley Inn today for lunch with some girlfriends. We had a selection of dishes (all seafood) from the extensive menu. My scallops in a sweet chilli sauce were delicious. However, so were the choices of my friends. Such was my envy of their beautiful food that I took my husband back there this evening. Again, the food was stunning and, despite the restaurant being extremely busy, our dishes were all served with a friendly smile from both our host, Richard, and his ladies. I can't quite put my finger on Richard's formula for success; whether it's the excellent ingredients, the quality of the dishes, the freshness or the good service. But, whatever it is, it works, and works extremely well! Can't wait for our next visit. Would it be rude to go there three times in two days??

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Rob C. 26 May 2010

My wife and I stayed here on 24/05/10 quite by chance in order to break a journey, when we arrived at 6pm we were greeted by the pub dogs and the landlord all of whom were welcoming and amusing,we had a smashing supper followed by a chat with locals at the bar and further amusement and genuine bonhomie from the host. The selection and condition of the beers was excellent. We spent a restful night upstairs in a bedroom that is best described as spotlessly clean but perhaps not at the cutting edge with facilities accross the hall but again it was honest and very good value.The breakfast was excellent with little touches that went beyond what one could reasonably expect for the price. On our return home I looked at the reviews on this site and was at first a bit surprised at some of the comments however on reflection I can see that it could be a bit of a ‘marmite’ kind of place,we would not hessitate to give it our recommendation,but we enjoy the hard to define qualities that are to be found by the bucket load at The Culm Valley. There is a beer festival this comming weekend and as we left the landlord was preparing a whole pig to be made into sausages for the festivities, oh how we would love to be there!

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Sandie G. 22 May 2010

This is a slightly scruffy rambling pub with lots of smallish rooms filled with an eclectic mix of stuff and locals. We had made a significant detour to eat here (Friday lunchtime 21 May 2010) encouraged by the glowing reports in the Good Pub Guide but were very disappointed by the quality of the food. We both chose fish: Turbot and Monkfish at £16 each, both of which were overcooked. The Monkfish came with a red pepper and saffron sauce, which I expected to be cream based, but instead it was rather like, and tasted like, a thinish ketchup, served separately in a little dish. The Monkfish still had its membrane attached which was cooked until crisp and while not unpleasant I feel it's a lazy way to treat this usually delicious fish. The accompanying vegetables were pedestrian – purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage and a few thin asparagus served plain, so the whole dish was rather dry, as was my husband's Turbot. The ‘new’ potatoes were unappetizing with very thick skins and lots of black bits/eyes (I like potato skins but I do like them cleaned first). The tapas starter was poor (£12 shared), consisting of a couple of slices of basic chorizo and salami, a couple of slices of flabby tortilla, some odd asparagus pickle and a couple of not very generously filled fishy tarts; the green and black olives were OK. We went without a pudding as half the list was unavailable although we had arrived early. Service was slow and elusive despite not very many people there and more flies than I feel comfortable with. The staff were pleasant enough but their insistance on not taking ANY plastic whatsoever is a bit off-putting; the Good Pub Guide had mentioned this but we had forgotten by the time we'd arrived so, without a cheque book, we had to be careful with our choices. Menu pricing on the chalkboard not very clear – everything in round pounds, i.e. 7/11 denoting small size at £7 and large plate at £11 or 12/16/24 for small, medium and large plates in the case of the Tapas. The lack of any printed menus was an irritant as everyone had to crowd into a small space to make their choice from a rather difficult to read board. On the plus side, it had some interesting wines by the glass and it is very dog friendly, also there's the bonus of a pleasant footpath across the road. All in all though not anything to write home about. We are really surprised this has been voted Devon dining pub of the year and whilst we accept all chefs have their off days we certainly wouldn't want to go back.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Matt M. 14 April 2010

bags of character – bit of an overused phrase but i‘ve struggled to find pubs like this in the mid devon area so full marks to them. they don't make ‘em like this anymore – long may they continue

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