It was my husband’s birthday so we headed out for lunch. My dentist (thanks, Kieran!) recommended trying The Lazy Toad for its excellent food. It’s located in an incredibly peaceful village, Brampford Speke just outside Exeter just a short way along the A377 Crediton road. It looks like it would be a wonderful spot for a weekend summer lunch – plenty of brightly painted outdoor tables and no passing traffic.
Inside is all slate floors, oak beams, pine tables, a couple of giant lazy toads, a cheeky dog and a wood burner.
First of all we ordered a snack of homemade paprika pork scratchings to nibble with a pint of Lazy Toad in front of the fire. Bliss. This was an incredibly generous portion of salty, lardy, unhealthy and incredibly tasty nibbles that we devoured.
I opted for no main course (er, but remember that half a kilo of pork scratchings...) and just had a starter of Potted Crab with Sourdough and a Crab Cappuccino (£7.95). The cup of crab bisque was soothing and tasty. The ramekin of crab was cleverly seasoned with a hint of tarragon, fresh and perfect for lunch.
Neil went all out for the Calves Liver with Mash and Pancetta (£10.50). His portion, sorry, the portion was enormous. Just his idea of a perfect birthday treat. He enjoyed every last morsel.
For pudding I chose Mulled Wine Poached Pears with Meringue and Creme Anglaise. I was a bit perplexed to find it brought to the table with no meringue, and a chocolate brownie instead! The kitchen swiftly apologised and explained that some, but not all, of the menus had a mis-print. They quickly brought me out a meringue as well. Result! Pictured below is the rather good Cinnamon Spiced Pannacotta with Shortbread and Rum Soaked Figs. The cinnamon worked brilliantly.
I really liked the atmosphere of this pub. It’s a gastro-pub but without any kind of pretentious attitude or prices. The food is great, the staff easy-going and friendly. Apparently, and unsurprisingly, it gets very busy at weekends and you need to book, but for a mid-week lunchtime treat when you want a kind of archetypal Devon pub with gorgeous grub rather than frozen fodder, this is your place. They even have a wonky fairground mirror outside the ladies loo, which gave us both a giggle.