We like a bit of comfort food these days. The roast dinner, the hot pudding and custard, the pint of well-kept ale in front of a real fire – these iconic experiences are treasured all the more as we’ve been deprived of them for so long.
So we’ve had plenty of people asking us where our favourite pub grub can be obtained. If you’re wondering, there’s no one answer, but there is a shortlist – and it’s not that short. The Island has a number of very reliable pub dining venues, and we find there’s something to please everyone. One place that has always suited us is the Pointer Inn in Newchurch. Since our last visit, it’s changed management and weathered a pandemic, so we thought it was time to see if that classic Pointer vibe was still going.
Walking into the low-beamed inn, locals at the bar were gently murmuring into their pints, a few dogs were sitting loyally under bar stools, and the whole place had the delightful ambience of the archetypical English country pub. A cheery barman confirmed our reservation and pointed us to our table in the cosy restaurant area. Our tip – the cute round window table is the best seat in the house.
For starter, a wholesome chorizo and parmesan scotch egg was the standout dish. No tiny quail’s egg, either, this was a full sized scotch egg, perfectly liquid in the very centre and served with a generous splodge of well-matched homemade smoky tomato relish. Alongside, we had pan-seared scallops, a simple and satisfying presentation of the tender mollusc delicacy which came with an intriguing creamed leek sauce. Both of these starters did well – substantial and satisfying dishes.
The Pointer Inn beefburger, even with the optional extras of cheese and bacon, felt like outstanding value at only £11.70. It was a straightforward affair, decorated with a cheeky chunk of gherkin on the top, but otherwise playing a very straight bat with the brioche bun, lightly-dressed salad and handful of chips. The true test was, as ever, the meat, and yes, it was good. Fresh, hot and juicy: this was a burger that did justice to the exquisite pint of Fuller’s HSB that Matt was sipping on.
Scotch egg £6.50
Belly pork £11.95
Extra cheese and bacon £1.75
Rolo cheesecake £6.50
Belly pork, that other standard bit of reassuringly robust food, came with an unusual presentation. With a sail of crackling that was plenty for two to share, the vast chunk of tender meat was itself totally enrobed in an unusual rich, brown cider sauce, decorated with a balsamic reduction that made the whole thing look like a giant Quality Street. Fresh sugarsnap peas and red cabbage added vivid colours, giving this excellent dish an attractive look that matched its very enjoyable taste.
Finally, a Rolo cheesecake flaunted its homemade credentials. Unlike some ‘homemade’ cheesecakes that are suspiciously jelly-like, this one was decadently soft and sweet, with the eponymous Rolos scattered over it. Fully in the spirit of the reassuringly easygoing menu that we had enjoyed all evening, this was a great way to finish.
The Pointer gets the thumbs-up from us for comfort food: familiar dishes given new life and interest with some creative interpretations. What’s more, the new management has kept the great responsive and friendly service and atmospheric interior. Perhaps most impressive is the very keen prices. In the current climate it’s expected that things might cost a little more, but somehow the Pointer has managed to avoid this. At just over £20 each, a comparable meal of this standard would be hard to find.
- Substantial and satisfying dishes
- Responsive and friendly service
- Very keen prices