I have dined at the Rivers Arms in Cheselbourne on several occasions since it reopened in January and the food has always been excellent. On this occasion my partner and I were lucky enough to get seats in the popular cosy bar area.

Other seating is available in the main dining area, which is the large conservatory on the front of the building. The staff are also happy to serve food in the upstairs lounge, and if we get more of the recent glorious weather, the elevated decking area, accessible from the lounge, will also prove popular with diners.

The bar menu is available all day and includes lighter meals such as ploughman’s, baguettes, toasted sandwiches and tortilla melts along with baked brie, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, and dahl with toasted tortilla. Chips are conspicuous by their absence!

We decided to choose from the specials board, and my partner, who is a vegetarian, was delighted to see a good vegetarian selection.

Generous portions

She chose the ‘haloumi veggie curry’ which proved to be an excellent choice – after one mouthful her first word was ‘Wow’! I decided to try the turkey goulash, which was very good indeed with a rich, tasty sauce and perfectly cooked rice.

The other specials included roast beef, Mexican pork chilli, Thai red curry, spaghetti bolognaise, sausage & mash, cauliflower & broccoli cheese and dahl rice with green vegetables & yoghurt. Mushroom soup was also available but we decided, wisely as it turns out – for the portions were generous, that three courses would be too much.

From the extensive dessert menu we chose lemon tart and bread-and-butter pudding, with ice cream. Both were delicious, and obviously home-made.

My pint of Old Golden Hen brewed by Morland was excellent, and it was followed by a very good pinot grigio which, at £5 for a large glass was good value. An excellent and unusual selection of soft drinks was available, too.

Our visit was both enjoyable and memorable. The ambience was very welcoming and the service friendly and attentive. For good-value homemade food at very reasonable prices (our mains were just £8 each), the Rivers Arms is well worth a visit.

Jerry Bird

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