This is an old review. See the new one here. Despite the rural reputation of the Island, it is quite short on traditional country...

This is an old review. See the new one here.

Despite the rural reputation of the Island, it is quite short on traditional country pubs, with most eateries being in towns. This perhaps reflects the fact that there is not any need to stop on a journey for a refreshment break, as the longest journey you could make without passing through a town would be little more than 10 miles anyway. The Pointer Inn is one of the few rural inns on the eastern side of the Island, set in the picturesque village of Newchurch.

The Pointer Inn, (c)Dave2638 via Flickr

Matt and Cat had the pleasure of a very fine Christmas lunch at the Pointer after an invigorating walk over the downs. The food was up-market, tending in style towards the gastro-pub genre (and price), but showed its admirable pub-grub roots when served with well-kept real ales in comfortable and homely surroundings, and in mighty portions that left even Matt defeated.

The restaurant is a small room which can accommodate only a couple of dozen diners if they are all on long tables; and fewer than that if sitting separately. So booking is absolutely essential at this popular pub at all times – your disorganised reviewers have been turned away on a wet Wednesday night in January, so one can imagine what it is like in the summer. The benefit of this is a very intimate setting, where sounds from the public bar of a real village pub form a backdrop to personalised and very friendly service from the same staff who are serving behind the bar next door. But don’t try squeezing in if you’ve got a buggy, or a massive dog.

The food, it must be said, is sublime. Matt enjoyed half a shoulder of roast lamb, which was a huge and flavoursome feast, freshly roasted and deliciously tender inside with crispy outside. Cat chose the traditional roast turkey, and got a vast plateful of succulent, freshly cut slices of white meat. Other items on the menu looked enticing and unusual, with even a veggie option that was worthy of consideration. The accompanying fresh steamed vegetables and the newly roasted potatoes and parsnips were more than enough. No generic gravy here – rich and cleverly devised sauces complemented the food, which was beautifully served. Sadly, Matt and Cat can report nothing on the tempting-looking desserts as, even after the long march across the downs, their appetites – and possibly wallets – were not up to facing the final challenge. Maybe next time – because there certainly will be a next time.

The bill was higher than they’d normally pay, but for a feed of this quality, and quantity, it was more than reasonable. They were happy to leave a tip for the very good service, too.

A splendid and charming venue for a really special meal, providing good value for money and an unusually high standard of food.

UPDATE: Matt and Cat took a large party to the Pointer to celebrate a notable occasion, and enjoyed another impressive feast. Matt this time had the exquisite beef Wellington – one of the finest beef dishes he’s ever had. It is worth pointing out, however, just how large the portions are. This time it was even more noticeable – a starter of grilled camembert, for example, included an entire 250g camembert cheese – this cheese alone containing a daunting 177% of the guideline daily amount of saturated fat, and 62% of the GDA for salt – and that was just the starter. Delicious, but more than a meal in itself. The half-shoulder of lamb which Matt enjoyed last time was ordered by a young lady who was unaware of its scale. Cat said of her expression when the meal arrived with a solid thud on the table, “she didn’t look delighted, she looked terrified!”. It’s rare for Matt and Cat to complain about oversupply of food – too often the problem is the opposite. However, it could be said that the Pointer Inn exceeds all expectations and limits of human consumption with its unfeasibly large portions. Matt and Cat’s advice to would-be diners visiting the Pointer is to forego their lunch and plan to fast for a couple of days afterwards.

This is an old review. See the new one here.