The Jack in the Green

Award winning gastropub a stone’s throw from Exeter

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. It’s won countless awards over the last 24 years and the success has clearly rubbed off on the team, as there’s a happy confidence which permeates the whole enterprise.

It’s a surprising building, a clever mix of pub and restaurant: comfy armchairs fill the relaxed bar area where you peruse the menu with a pre-dinner drink (from local ales and cider to fine wines by the glass) then, as you’re escorted to your table, the Jack opens up – tardis-like – to reveal several spacious eating areas. It’s a versatile space and the Jack can also host wedding receptions, conferences, large parties and breakfast meetings.

Owner Paul Parnell has been at the Jack for more than two decades, while head chef Matthew Mason has headed up the kitchen for 20 years. Matt came to the Jack from Gidleigh Park and won the pub two AA rosettes a year later. This solid background may explain the apparent ease with which the Jack produces stunning food, but there’s nothing boringly predictable here.

Every dish is seasonal and as local as possible: the beef and pork travel no distance at all, and the chicken and duck are both free range. Pheasant, partridge, snipe, pigeon, venison and woodcock also feature on the specials board when they’re at their best.

The menu is fresh and exciting: a knickerbocker glory starter combines fennel jelly with cool, smooth goat’s cheese and a sharp apple puree, creating a funfair of flavours. A main of sole is served with a striking lemon sauce and sweet, soft grapes, while the venison is intense with a hint of chocolate. There’s perfection everywhere, from the vegetable sides, which include romanesco broccoli and heritage carrots, to the exquisite touches such as a single coriander leaf which takes the experience further in a magical way.

Sample menu

Starter

Chicken liver brûlée pickled beetroot, aged balsamic and berries, £6.95

Main

Lavender glazed Creedy Carver duck breast with gooseberry and apple, £19.50

Pud

Dark chocolate ganache, pistachio meringue, marinated strawberries and black olive crumble, £7.25

Insider’s tips

The kitchen caters for a wide range of special dietary requirements from gluten free to vegan and dairy free. Food is served all day on a Sunday until 9pm. Proud supporter of the Rugby Association’s Wooden Spoon charity that helps local disadvantaged children.

Restaurants nearby

The Five Bells pub and restaurant at Clyst Hydon, Devon

This thatched Devon pub oozes charm, comfort and fantastic cooking from Ian webber, ex-head chef of Gidleigh Park

Southernhay House hotel and restaurant, Exeter, Devon

There's a sense of foodie fun, complemented by the slightly bohemian feel which pervades the whole building in the centre of Exeter

Beef ragu

This is a really simple and delicious dish which takes advantage of slow cooking the beef to bring out the rich flavours in the ragu

Rockbeare, near Exeter, Devon, EX5 2EE

01404 822240

Opening hours

Lunch: Open Monday to Saturday from 10am-3pm. Food served 11.30am-2pm. Open Sunday from 10am-10.30pm. Food served 12pm-9pm. Dinner: Monday to Friday from 5.30pm-11pm, dinner served 6pm-9pm (until 9.30pm on Fridays). Saturday from 6pm-11pm, dinner served 6pm-10pm. Sunday from 10am-10pm, food served 12pm-9pm

Chef: Matthew Mason

Owner: Paul Parnell

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

Awards

One of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants. 26th in the Top 50 UK Gastropubs (January 2015). 2 AA Rosettes. Michelin Bib Gourmand for Outstanding Value for Money. Trencherman’s Guide 2014. Recommended by Alastair Sawdays and Hardens.

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