The Five Bells, Clyst Hydon

Seriously good foodie pub with thatched Devon charm

Winding through the Devon lanes, enveloped in a profusion of lush greenery, makes driving to The Five Bells certainly a bit of an adventure.

The village of Clyst Hydon is only ten miles from Exeter, but arriving here feels like stepping straight into a childhood memory. The 16th century, thatched inn is picture perfect with stepping stones leading to a beautiful, large beer garden – for a moment youthful excitement makes you long to be banished here with a bottle of ginger beer. But head on into the pub and you’re met with a deceptively light-filled airy space. It feels old, with stone floors and wooden beams, but it’s also modern in comfort and layout.

The pub was saved from closure, renovated and taken over by the team behind the highly successful Jack In The Green in Rockbeare. The Jack’s trademark hospitality and attention to detail is recreated here, along with excellent food. It’s quite a coup for a pub to have ex-Gidleigh Park head chef Ian Webber in the kitchen – but it’s a perfect match. Ian has taken the skill and perfectionism of his fine dining background but given the menus a down to earth, comfort food appeal. There’s a jacob’s ladder cut of beef braised in Otter ale with wild garlic mash, heritage carrots and horseradish; and intense mushroom and vermouth flavours accompany perfectly cooked fillets of john dory. The cauliflower soup is a revelation: creamy, full of depth and with a sharp floral hint of lemon thyme – it’s a great combination.

Desserts are made with real flair and the rhubarb and apple trifle is an absolute winner. The wine list is another highlight and includes friendly comments from key staff members describing their recommendations.

Most definitely a foodie venue, The Five Bells is also conscious of its community and has tables kept aside for people popping in, light bites and set lunch menus, and the age range of the customers on a busy midweek evening shows it has broad appeal. The Five Bells is undoubtedly one of Devon’s hidden treasures – but probably not for long.

Sample menu

Starter

Barbecue mackerel with tomato, radish and french bean salad, tarragon and yoghurt, £6.50

Main

Fillets of john dory with Brixham crab, Cornish new potatoes and smoked cod’s roe, £14.50

Pud

Dark chocolate mousse with coffee and cardamom, £6.50

Insider’s tips

This 16th Century Grade II Listed thatched Devon inn is only ten miles from Exeter and is surrounded by lovely walks through Devon countryside. The Five Bells has nearly an acre of beer garden with mature trees and panoramic views and there’s plans for a small kitchen garden planted for summer 2014. There’s an open air swimming pool next door which patrons can use. Local Berry Farm Cider is produced 1/4 mile away. The pub also has a games room showing live BT Sport.

Restaurants nearby

The Jack in the Green is an institution – anyone who knows anything about good food has heard about this unusual pub in the heart of Devon

Book a table now

Clyst Hydon, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 2NT

01884 277288

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday bar open 11am-3pm and 6pm-11pm. Food served 12pm-2pm and 6pm-9pm. Friday bar open 11am-3pm and 6pm-11pm. Food served 12pm-2pm and 6pm-11pm. Saturday bar open 11am-3pm and 6pm-11pm. Food served 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-9pm. Sunday bar open 12pm-10.30pm. Food: 12pm-9pm

Chef: Ian Webber

Owner: Paul Parnell

  • Kids welcome
  • Dogs welcome
  • Wifi
  • Disabled access
  • Outside catering
  • Parking available
  • Private dining available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gluten free options
  • Beer garden
  • Wedding venue
  • Exclusive use
  • Online booking

Awards

Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2015

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