Tally Ho is the best pub in South Devon

Pictured here from left to right are Mike Joiner, Kelly Joiner, chef Paul Howard and Bob Southwell, chairman of South Devon CAMRA

It’s official! We have the best pub in South Devon. The Tally Ho has won the South Devon CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Pub of the Year 2022.

CAMRA judged the Tally Ho on the quality of its beer, food, hospitality and atmosphere, and the award is a fitting tribute to landlords Kelly and Mike Joiner, who took on the tenancy four years ago, and chef Paul Howard. Kelly said, “We feel proud to have received overall pub of the year because it reaffirms the hard work we have put in since we took it over in 2018, and the award is by people who understand the hospitality industry. The Tally Ho is very much a traditional Devon pub used not only by the villagers but by people from all of the surrounding villages plus Totnes, Newton Abbot and the Torbay area. It is as much an award for the people who support and have used us for many years as it is for us, because without their support the pub would not be a success. The pandemic and knock-on lockdowns did affect all pub businesses and the current energy crisis and inflation are still having an effect on the pub trade, but we are determined to come out the other side and still be here offering a great service to our customers for a long time to come.”

Our 14th century inn faced being turned into a private house after it was closed down in 2011, but the local community and those with fond memories of the pub clubbed together to buy the Tally, reopening it as a pub again in 2014. And in 2018, we were very fortunate to have Kelly and Mike Joiner take over the tenancy after selling their pub in New Zealand and moving to the South Hams. Congratulations to them and all the staff who provide such a warm welcome, excellent food and, of course, a fine selection of real ale. We’re very lucky to have you!

Big welcome to the Joiners

The next chapter in our pub’s history has started with the signing of a long term tenancy agreement with Kelly and Mike Joiner, who are now installed in the Tally Ho with their son, Isaac.

We are extremely fortunate that such good tenants have found us – Kelly and Mike were hunting for a community pub to run on their return from New Zealand, when they came across our advert. And they come fully prepared: they’re used to hard work, long hours and the challenge of running a rural community venue, having owned a successful bar and restaurant in a small village called Peel Forest in South Canterbury, with a strong community bias, which locals would travel miles to get to.

They’re bringing this energy and enthusiasm to Devon with a firm commitment to maintain the Tally’s reputation for good food and drink, and also with innovative ideas for entertainment and community involvement to draw in more custom. We can look forward to regular live music shows, featuring many of the very talented singer songwriters that are around Devon and the west country, along with live theatre in the pub and other events along the way.

Working with Tally chef Paul, they have devised a new winter menu that offers both good value and gourmet food, and have already created two Christmas function menus. You can find out more on the Tally Ho website and Facebook, both now run by Kelly and Mike. So please come along and introduce yourself – you’ll be given a very warm welcome from this very friendly couple and can find out more about their plans.

Quest for bronze ends in the Tally

Early drinkers at the Tally Ho last Friday evening agreed to keep the noise down, while a film crew from the news channel NewsAsia Singapore shot the final sequence of a documentary featuring Mr Tan Kee Wee, who years ago inherited bronze antiques from his father – his quest was to discover whether they were from the Shang and Zhou dynasty or were admirable fakes.

The search led him to Berry Pomeroy and the studio-foundry of bronze artist, Andrew Lacey, an expert in archaeometallurgy (study of metal produced by people in ancient times). The final scenes of the UK part of this documentary, Bronzes: A forgotten treasure, due to be screened in Singapore in November, were shot in the Tally.

Dawn Tan, the documentary film host, and Kee Wee reflected on what they have discovered on their journey over drinks. (Dawn is a well known documentary maker and news reader in Singapore – a bit of an Anna Ford, possibly?) They and the film crew were hugely enthusiastic about the Tally, their welcome and the surrounding area. Pictured here from left to right are Simon, Pete, Dawn, producer Nivitra and Kee Wee.

Panic, a winner and Sunday BBQ’s

How many people does it take to light a BBQ? Panic reigned briefly when Tally volunteers manned the Sunday BBQ recently as it wouldn’t light – until it was discovered the gas had run out! (Pictured right to left: Kate Rudman, Andrew Mogford, Kendal Tredinnick and James Dunn).

Announced that evening was the worthy winner of July’s Come Dine with Us competition. Tally customers filled out voting slips and Jo Ash’s Beetroot and Puy Lentil Veggie Burger tickled the taste buds of most voters, winning Jo a meal for two at the Tally. Many thanks to Jo, Kendal Tredinnick, Anna Ash and Susie Dorman for being such good sports, and for Kate Rudman for coming up with the idea. And of course, well done to chef Paul for cooking up their tasty offerings.

That’s it for now for Come Dine with Us, but don’t forget Tenner Tuesdays are still running, and the Kitchen Table will return on August 19th – they’ve developed quite a following amongst Tally customers, as their food – both meat and vegetarian – is imaginative and delicious. (They also do catering for parties if you want to check them out). Their last visit was enhanced by a passing steam train, the Royal Duchy, en route from Par to Bristol. Sad you missed it? There are a couple more steam trains passing in September – check them out on our What’s on page.

The Knives and Forks are out in Littlehempston!

Four great reasons to visit the Tally in July. Four local ladies are going head to head in Littlehempston’s version of Come Dine with Me to add a bit of spice and zest to the menu at the Tally Ho. Every week throughout July, one of their signature dishes will appear on the Specials Board and customers can sample the dishes and give them a rating.

Chef Paul has already selected his favourite four from the many recipes submitted and the chosen chefs will show him how to recreate their dishes. The winner with the most points will receive a meal for two at the Tally!

The competition was launched amongst much good-humoured rivalry at the Tally Ho Pop Up bar at Littlehempston Fete. The first week in July stars Kendal Tredinnick (second left in the photo) who offers an unusual butternut squash dish, followed by Anna Ash (second from the right) who wows with a seafood recipe. Third week, Josephine Ash (far right) is in competition with Kendal to win over the taste buds of vegetarians with an imaginative veggie burger, and the final week is a Touch of Thai with Susie Dorman. Organiser Kate Rudman (far left) wished all the women good luck and suggested they get their knives sharpened!

So tickle your taste buds and Come Dine with Us – book your table by ringing 01803 862316 or use our contact form.

Praise for Beer Fest Ales

All agreed that the Beer and Cider Festival in mid June was a great success despite the grey weather. Lots of visitors came along to enjoy a wide variety of local ales and ciders – the beer buffs from CAMRA gave a definite thumbs up to the selection of 16 beers and the 6 local ciders certainly packed a punch. A merry band of volunteers manned the bar and BBQ throughout the weekend. Pictured here serving drinks are chairman Bob Clifford, Sam and Luke, while Adrian cooks the burgers.

The weather was warm enough (just) to sit out in the Beer Garden and enjoy the smooth jazz of the Fraser Weekes Trio – Fraser’s a local legend on jazz guitar. Singing from locals Liz Jeffery and friends added to the laid-back atmosphere.

Ian, our manager, was delighted to report that takings over the weekend exceeded what was normally taken in a whole week. And visitors from Manchester (pictured here) who were staying in Torbay declared the Tally one of the best country pubs they’d visited in Devon. Well done everyone for all the hard work!

Runner up as South Devon’s Pub of the Year 2018

We’ve done it again! We are hugely proud to report that the South Devon branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) has voted the Tally Ho as runner up in this year’s Pub of the Year competition.

Bob Southwell, chairman of South Devon CAMRA presented the certificate to Tally manager, Ian Bowers, on Saturday April 7th, surrounded by CAMRA members and Tally supporters. This is the third time we have won the award, which given the Tally has now been open just four years is a great achievement and a credit to all involved – our hard-working staff, the committee behind them, our brilliant bunch of volunteers and the Tally Ho’s owners (over 180 to date).

Pubs are judged not only on the quality of beer – we have some excellent local beers on tap – but also on qualities such as atmosphere, the welcome given, quality of food, the cross section of clientele, value for money and the contribution to the local community.

Only pubs that are included in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide are eligible for the Pub of the Year competition. So this Award also confirms the Tally Ho will be included in the next edition of the guide.

Tally chairman, Rob Clifford said, “We are all absolutely delighted to win this award and it just shows what can be done with a small community pub that produces local beer and good food. We are very grateful to all the CAMRA members who voted for us and CAMRA’s continued support.”

Tally Rocks despite the Snow

The recent snow brought Littlehempston and the Tally to a halt, but not for long. The pub was cut off all Thursday and manager, Ian, reported seeing nobody for 24 hours – rather relaxing, he confessed. But his peace was soon disturbed, when committee member Anna Ash put out the call: “Let’s keep the pub open! Ian will be serving drinks, so if you fancy putting on your snow shoes and popping round to the pub we could have some fun. Kids welcome! There’s no gas – but we can keep food hot on the electric stoves in the kitchen, so if anyone would like to make a soup or a stew and bring it along to fundraise for the new roof – that would be very welcome.” Locals appeared through the snow with home-cooked food, and £60 was raised for the roof fund from the sales of home-made soup, stews and bread. Comments afterwards included: “Thank you Anna, for organising the pub being open last night and for everyone who helped out and made such wonderful food. It was such a lovely, cosy, feel good evening. ” “Littlehempston rocks, thank you, thank you, great night!” “The Rally round the Tally spirit still lives on.” Can’t wait for the next snow-fall!

Welcome to Paul, our new chef

We have a new chef! Paul Howard hails from Prescot near Liverpool and has worked as a chef for over 30 years. He started his career in an Italian restaurant up north where he worked for many years before moving to chef at a 3 star hotel in Jersey, where he met and married the hotel manageress, Alison, who hails from Yorkshire. After a stint in the Lake District, where son Thomas was born (now age 13), the couple moved to the Torbay area. Son Oliver, age 9, was born in Torquay. Locally, Paul has worked at the Floating Bridge in Dartmouth and for over 10 years at the Stoke Lodge Hotel in Stoke Fleming. Paul reckons that seafood is probably his favourite type of dish to prepare – and Liverpool is his football team.

Paul loves working at the Tally and welcomes the community aspect. A new menu is in the pipeline and some exciting dishes are already appearing on the Specials Board. The Valentines Day menu proved a big hit with everybody who squeezed in at the pub. But don’t worry – old favourites won’t disappear. There’s a new addition to the end of the menu: “If you have enjoyed a dish in the past and can’t see it on the menu, please ask – chef Paul may be able to oblige!”

CAMRA likes the Tally’s food too

There’s a very favourable review in this quarter’s BEER magazine from CAMRA. In an article on community pubs, food writer Susan Nowak praised the selection of ales and range of food. She pointed out that as Littlehempston was so small, the Tally needed to be a “destination pub” drawing in customers from a wide area. Which is exactly what the management committee and Ian and Kim are working on at the moment.

Have a look at the article on our Press cuttings page.