I don’t normally do ‘lucky dip dining’ as I call it. Find a place, look at the menu and go in. Don’t research, don’t investigate or go online and have a look at reviews or anything. Just have a go. It can sometimes be fun to see what happens but sometimes it can lead to trouble.
But on the knowledge that I had been here back in 1999 for a friend’s 18th party and couldn’t remember anything negative about the experience, I thought ‘well heck it can’t be that bad…’
The Nutwell Lodge sits on the A376 on the way to Exmouth. We’d just been down to our nearest weird little coastal town on the spur of the moment and faced with a sunny day to ourselves, why the hell not… Generally we go to Exmouth and have a walk followed by some inexpensive grub at The Bath House but given the last time the service was so horrific, I didn’t feel like running the gauntlet again. Initially we’d decided to have a go at The Saddlers Arms over in Lympstone but we were faced with a sign that said ‘Cash Only’.
Quickly moving on I decided to try The Nutwell Lodge; but knowing it was a bit grim and given the last time it’d been looking quite dated even back in 1999 (that I can remember), I was interested to see what it was looking like in the heady days of the 21st century.
The Nutwell Lodge is a family trough-feed-your-face-let-your-kids-scream kind of place. Its cheap, there are kids everywhere and to those sorts of people that moan about kids screaming here is a piece of advice. DON’T GO TO THE SORTS OF PLACES THAT MARKET THEMSELVES AT FAMILIES. Sorry I know that was in capital letters, but come on. I don’t have kids, but I know if I go to a place that has a playground at the back, you’re coming in to the child friendly zone.
A quick scoot through Trip Advisor gives The Nutwell Lodge a very mixed set of reviews, but thankfully not clustering towards the very bad side of things. There are a lot of Excellents as well as a lot of Terribles, and from what we saw today I would be happy to say that it was Very Good.
But be warned if you go here during season/peak times, it might be a different experience.
There are two entrances, the Pub Entrance and the Restaurant Entrance. This is bad if, like me you are easily confused. If you go in the Pub Entrance you can get to the Restaurant but you need to go to the Restaurant Entrance so that you can be seated. Once you are seated you are asked if you want drinks, you say “no can we have a look at the menu first” and they say that they’ll be back in two minutes. Our waiter did come back in two minutes, which was a positive start given in some restaurants they have a strange tendency of forgetting you until 10 minutes later when you’ve decided what you’re going to drink and order.
I had originally opted for a Burger not being the world’s biggest carvery fan, but our waiter James told us that there was currently a 45 minute wait on normal food (which is odd as they really didn’t seem that busy…) but we could just go up to the carvery as there wasn’t a queue. He popped back with our carvery tickets and boom, off we went..
I can’t even start to imagine what a Large carvery would look like, most probably with more meat? not sure. But I had some lovely beef and very nice ham and lots of veg including perfectly cooked carrots which is a rarity for a carvery. I didn’t go for whatever local ales they might have had. In fact the overwhelming need for food overrode this and I ended up having a San Miguel (which was £3.65??) which complemented everything nicely.
The Nutwell Lodge comes under the Great British Carvery brand which is part of Orchid Pubs. Orchid pubs runs a number of sub-brands but is owned by Mitchells & Butler. This mega-conglomerate owns such brands as Harvester (The Malt House anyone?) and Toby Carvery (Norovirus anyone?? lol), and get this…Vintage Inns too is a Mitchells and Butler owned company; they happen to run The St George and Dragon which is the next pub up the A376. All a little incestuous.
The service was without fault, friendly and attentive and the food for the most part was worth the £5.95 per head. Whole thing came to £18.80 for two adults who went away stuffed and happy.
Nutwell Lodge Hotel
|Mon – Sat||8am – 11pm|
|Sun||8am – 10.30pm|