WILL WE’LL BE THERE!YOU?
A little slice of foodie heaven HTOOITP!
SPRING RECIPES F
CRU MB SMA G.CO M
& G N U O Y HUNHOGTTERST Y DEVON’s
S I E F LI SWEET! COOKINTGS CROISSAN @ RIVER
MARRIED TO THE LOB
L@ U A H E H T G ASSESSIN AM FISH BRIXH
What happened when the crustacean was late for work?
She lobster job!
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RK GIDLEIGH PA NUMBER EIGHT THE THE T GINGER JNAIRGHINN PEANUT
ROM TH REGION’s E BEsT CHEFs
CRUMBS DEVO N NO.22 SprinG 2018
8 1 s 0 2 FE T FOOD EXETER
Ts N I P D E T F A R C D N HA
RoCK L BSTER
T U N A s a E T E W As S D (and just as HA...R to CRACK)
This issue we the
Oh, we dO LIKe TO Be BesIde The SeA… This issue of Crumbs we’re all about celebrating the best of what Devon’s coastline has to offer – hence the luscious lobster posing so prettily on our cover. What majestic creatures they are, and – if caught responsibly – mighty fine tasting, too. Certainly the king of shellfish, in our eyes. Read all about them on page 8. We stay close to the shore for a visit to Brixham Fish Market alongside our friends from Rockfish. How lucky for us to be treated to an early morning tour of the market, and the opportunity to gain a real insight into the workings of the South West’s fishing industry. With the UK’s post-Brexit fishing plans still very much up in the air, we hope that every effort is made to protect an industry that’s such a rich part of our island heritage. Not only is it important to ensure that our fish stocks continue to be sustainable, it’s also vital we maintain the livelihoods of those employed by the industry.
Also this issue, we take a look at the work being done in Devon to recruit more people into the restaurant trade – both front of house and in the kitchen. It’s truly inspiring to hear about so many initiatives designed to give aspiring young chefs a leg up the restaurant ladder. We’ve also travelled across the county to find our pick of perfect spring breaks – with a focus on food, naturally. Head to page 44 to find out where we’re planning to eat and sleep in the coming months. And if you fancy trying somewhere new to dine, check out our reviews, starting on page 58. Finally, with spring in the air (at last!) and festival season upon us, we’re heading back where Crumbs Devon started: Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink. It promises to be an action-packed weekend of food and frolics. Do come and say hello. We won’t bite – unless you offer us a slider, of course, in which case we’ll scoff it!
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08 HERO INGREDIENT Why lobsters are lush 11 TRIO Chip shops to check out 13 OPENINGS ETC The latest foodie findings 15 ASK THE EXPERT A beer-making masterclass with Salcombe Brewery
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SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE
22 Rack of spring lamb, by Jim Fisher 24 Roasted haddock with chorizo and butterbean stew, by Annie McKenzie 26 Passionfruit, mango, coconut and lime, by Chris Simpson 28 Kale and shiitake soup, by Michael Hyams
NEW & NOTABLE RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS, BARS
58 The Ginger Peanut 60 Gidleigh Park 62 The Night Jar Inn 64 Number Eight 66 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Oli and Tom from the Exploding Bakery
AMAZING REGIONAL RECIPES
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MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800; www.mediaclash.co.uk © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we channelled our inner Paul Hollywood and tried baking brioche. And, yes, our bottoms got a bit soggy!
34 CRUMBS COOKS WITH ...Andy Tyrrell, only the head chef at River Cottage
MAINS 40 ON THE MARKET An early morrning visit to Brixham Fish Market 44 SPRING BREAKS Eat, drink and stay over 48 EXETER FOOD FEST A preview of one of Devon’s biggest foodie events 53 GRILLED James Whetlor of Cabrito Goat Meat spills all
Table of Contents NO. 22 SPRING 2018
INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
START E RS Say Cheese
WE’RE ALL FOR a bit of food experimentation here at Crumbs, especially if it involves one of our fave foods: cheese. So we were intrigued to hear about two of the South West’s most respected cheesemakers, Devon-based Quicke’s and Montgomery’s from Somerset, taking part in an experiment where they traded truckles and aged them in each other’s stores in a bid to see what impact the storage method had on each truckle’s taste. A tasting session held at The Cheese Bar in Camden found that a Quicke’s truckle aged on home soil had a flavour profile from nose to rind ranging from grassy to brothy. When compared to a Quicke’s truckle from the same batch aged at Montgomery’s, a darker yellow appearance and more acidic aroma were apparent, along with a waxier texture and transformed flavour profile. “We’re always up for digging deeper into every aspect of cheesemaking at Quicke’s, so when the idea of swapping truckles with Montgomery’s cropped up we jumped at the chance,” explains Mary Quicke MBE. “We know that the unique mould garden in our store makes a difference to the flavour of the cheeses, so we expected some differences, but the dramatic changes to taste, texture, aroma and appearance have well and truly lifted the lid on this mysterious stage of the process. “This experiment has only scratched the surface of a microscopic world of possibility for cheesemakers, but for now it has certainly shone a spotlight on yet another gorgeous complexity of handmade cheese. It’s not just the soil, the grass, the cows, the milk, the make, the impact of the cloth – now we know that the microflora of the store itself makes a difference right into the heart of the cheese, not just under the rind.”
BOOK A TOUR
If you’re interested in finding out more about the art of cheesemaking in Devon, why not book a tour at Quicke’s Home Farm? Tours take place the last Friday of every month between April and September. Tickets cost £35, and you can buy them at quickes.co.uk/pages/cheese-tours
ONCE CONSIDERED THE ‘COCKROACH OF THE SEA’ – GOOD ONLY FOR ONE-EYED CATS AND ESPECIALLY NAUGHTY PRISONERS – LUSCIOUS LOBSTER IS NOW ONE OF FOOD’S ULTIMATE LUXURIES, OFFERING SWEET FLESH AND A REAL SENSE OF DRAMA
hen Crumbs was but a young ’un – part of a tree in a sustainable Norwegian pine forest, probably – it was rescued from a Scottish shipwreck by a friendly lobster fisherman. (True story.) How thrilled was a wee Crumbs to play with all those live lobsters on deck, and they’ve retained a fascination ever since, these mighty marine crustaceans with their chunky claws and meaty, muscular tails. They’re both one of our most dramatic-looking foods and amongst the most delicious, and eating them is a theatrical experience like little else. (Well, like little else except their smaller cousin, crab, and we love them too.) There are various types of lobster, but the two most important are the North Atlantic species – Homarus gammarus (the European version) and Homarus Americanus (from the other side of the pond) – which each have five pairs of legs, two oversized claws (a huge crushing claw and a much slimmer cutting claw), and only diverged into distinct species as recently as the Pleistocene period (think ice ages, mammoths, and the emergence of Homo sapiens). They’re of comparable size (American ones are generally
a little bigger) and taste about the same; you can tell them apart by colour (blue for Euros, and blue, green or brown with red bits for the Yanks), but mostly by where you caught them. Since the Cretaceous age, when T-rex roamed the land, lobsters have lived in crevices on the ocean floor. They grow by periodically shedding their tough, protective exoskeletons, which leaves them exhausted and vulnerable – indeed, it’s reckoned up to 15 percent of lobsters die each moulting – and how expensive they are (bizarre though it may seem) is often in inverse proportion to how sweet they’ll taste. How so? Well, in the UK and Norway the lobster renaissance of recent years has seen stocks depleted, and various rules on landing sizes put into place to help them recover, but in American and Canada, where they’re still plentiful, the legally caught range is far wider. You get newshell lobsters (which have recently shed, taste amazing, but are cheap because they rarely survive shipping further than the first Maine seafood shack); hard-shell lobsters (fairly sweet, medium price, and robust enough to endure a flight to New York or LA); and old-shell lobsters (least sweet, but most expensive because they’re sturdy enough to be airfreighted alive to London or Paris). Lobsters aren’t hard to catch – give them a tempting, baited home to crawl into, then scoop the lobster pots up to see who’s moved in – or to cook, provided you’ve got a big enough pan and a killer’s cool hand. You can buy them cooked or frozen – budget supermarkets famously do them for £5 – but tackling a live version is the heroic (and most delicious) way to go. Kill yours by placing in a fridge or freezer to send it to sleep, then piercing behind the head with a sharp knife. To cook, either boil them (as little as 5 mins and rarely longer than 25) or steam them, grill them or bake them, the shell changing to a bright orange as the heat breaks down a protein that suppresses the natural colour. You can just eat ’em like that – with chips, lemon and mayo is good, and plenty of napkins – using specialist kit to crush tough claws and pry the flesh out of each cranny, or you can use your lobster flesh in soups, consommés and bisques, seafood pasta or salads, or lobster Thermidor, the famous French dish that pairs it with a mustard sauce under a browned cheese crust. (This one’s been kicking around since the 1880s and was named for a death-strewn play about the French Revolution, popular in Paris at the time.) Though posh food these days, at times lobster’s been considered poor man’s grub – when the Europeans first got to the US, there were so many about that two-foot tall drifts of them are said to have washed up on the shore – and, though never as cheap in Europe, until the 1860s (when the Sussex coast was finally overfished) they were plentiful in the UK too. Indeed, for much of the Victorian era baked beans could be up to five times more expensive – a sobering thought, until you consider how the Lidl effect is currently pushing lobsters into the same territory. How long this can last – is it the rise in ocean temperatures, or the shortage of cod that would once have eaten the young ones, that’s making the Maine variety so plentiful? – remains to be seen…
GARLIC BUTTER LOBSTER Indulge yourself this spring with this lip-smackingly good lobster recipe from The Oyster Shack in Bigbury. oystershack.co.uk 1 live, fresh 1lb lobster Poaching liquid: 4 litres water 2 large carrots, chopped 1 leek, chopped 2 sticks of celery, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 3 peppercorns parsley stalks Garlic butter: 200g salted butter 3 garlic gloves crushed 25g flat leaf parsley, chopped ½ lemon zest ½ lemon juice pinch black pepper
1 Chill your live lobster in the freezer for 10 minutes to send to sleep. 2 Boil a large pan of water and add the carrot, leek, celery, onions, peppercorns, and parsley stalks. Boil for 5 minutes. 3 Kill your lobster, then add to the water and boil for a further 10 minutes. Add 2 minutes for every ¼lb after that. You can tell if the lobster is cooked if the shell is a vivid bright red and the meat is creamy white all the way through. 4 Remove from the heat and place into ice water to stop the cooking process. 5 Take out of the water. Then, using a sharp knife cut in half, and remove the claws. 6 Remove the head meat and take out the tail. Remove the black entrails and then put the meat back into the shell. 7 Crack the claws with the back of a knife and remove the meat, then place it in the head cavity. 8 Whizz up your garlic butter by placing all the ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth butter. 9 Put the reassembled lobster back on to a roasting tray and spread over your garlic and parsley butter. 10 Place in a pre-heated oven for 6-8 minutes at 180/350F/gas mark 4. 11 Enjoy with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
S T A R T E R S
The ONlY WaY IS ESSEx
THIS HERE IS CHRIS ESSEX, AND HE’S HEAD CHEF AT THE NEW THOMAS CARR SEAFOOD & GRILL IN ILFRACOMBE
So, Chris, when did you begin cooking? I began when I was about 14. I watched TV cooking programmes thinking I could do that, and copied the chefs, putting my own twist on their dishes. What is your fondest childhood foodie memory? I know it sounds biased, but mum’s roast dinner was always just how I liked it. What first inspired you to cook? My first job was as a kitchen porter. I watched the chefs prepare dishes using fresh local produce. I thought, that’s what I want to do – transform normal ingredients into something special. Where might we know you from? Cooking at The Coach House at Kentisbury Grange, or Watersmeet Hotel in Woolacombe.
What’s the toughest job you’ve tackled so far? Opening The Coach House restaurant at Kentisbury Grange. I worked with Thomas Carr, building from a blank canvas. We were really pleased to receive a Michelin recommendation and two AA rosettes within our first year. So far, this has to have been my proudest achievement. How would you describe your style of cooking? Modern British – my favourite is recreating classic dishes with a modern twist. How many are in your kitchen team? Myself and two others and, of course, Thomas is on site every day to inject his influence. How have you approached the menu? In the same way Thomas and I always do. We look at
dishes we have done before or liked, and brainstorm over textures and flavours until we hit a balance we think people will love. Which other local restaurants do you like to eat in? I love it at the Siam Bistro in Braunton. Great flavours with fresh ingredients. What makes the local foodie scene so great? You just have to walk to Ilfracombe Harbour when a fishing boat comes in, or past the Braunton Great Field full of cabbage or cauliflower, to see that it’s a lovely corner of the country. We have such beautiful, fresh ingredients, and as chefs we really have to showcase that. What are your favourite ingredients now? Beetroot and mackerel. They can be matched in so many ways, with techniques like sous vide, smoking, curing and brining. Do you grow anything yourself? I’ve never had much luck growing anything other than herbs and tomatoes, but I found even that was quite rewarding. Favourite suppliers you use for the restaurant? I use a company called Arthur David. They supply some great produce that you couldn’t get in Devon prior to their expansion. We also have nearby farms on Braunton Burrows that supply some great local vegetables. What kind of meals do you cook at home? I enjoy cooking with my kids, Grace and Jack. They really like making things from scratch: homemade pizzas, pasta, stir fries and curries. What and where was the best meal you’ve eaten? I had a great meal at The Olive Room in Ilfracombe, where Thomas created a special menu for me and my partner for her birthday. I also had a beautiful lunch at The Elephant in Torquay recently with my family. Top 5-a-day? Banana, broccoli, apple, asparagus, tomatoes. Favourite cookery book? Alinea by Grant Achatz transforms food in incredible ways. Foodie heroes? Grant Achatz, Heston Blumenthal, Curtis Duffy, Auguste Escoffier, Marco Pierre White – and Thomas Carr, of course – just to name a few. Current favourite flavour combination? Pickles and oily fish. They just complement each other so well. thomascarrdining.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
YOU CAN’T TAKE A TRIP TO DEVON’S COAST WITHOUT A GOOD OLD FISH AND CHIP SUPPER. CHECK OUT THIS TRIO TICKLING OUR SALT AND VINEGAR TASTE BUDS…
Where is it? Devon-based chef Mitch Tonks is responsible for putting the county’s mighty fine seafood on the map, thanks to his chain of Rockfish restaurants, based in Brixham, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Exmouth and Torquay. Why visit? If it’s takeaway you’re after (and, personally, we think sitting outside by the sea being attacked by seagulls is the best way to eat fish and chips), then head to Rockfish Brixham, Plymouth or Dartmouth. We love that the Rockfish team are obsessive about the detail, like sourcing the perfect chip potato and mixing the fluffiest batter. Plus, the fish comes fresh from Brixham Fish Market each morning (see page 40 for more). Rockfish is also one of the few fish and chip takeaways in the country that caters for gluten-free diners. If you fancy something different, we recommend heading to Rockfish Brixham for the fried cod taco, served with guacamole, coriander, chilli and lime. Rockfish Brixham, Brixham TQ5 8AJ; therockfish.co.uk
Where is it? Okay, this North Devon chippy isn’t exactly by the sea (it’s in Barnstaple), but it’s only a short drive from Instow and Saunton Sands beaches – so, technically, you could hot foot it there with your takeaway and still watch the sunset. Why visit? The Pelican recently won Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year Award at the National Fish and Chip Awards 2018, and has a legion of loyal fans who appreciate the good honest food and efficient service. Customers praise them for their light crispy batter and perfectly cooked chips. The prices are reasonable too, with a large cod and chips to takeaway for just £7.45. They’re also the only fish and chip shop in North Devon to be MSC certified, which means they support and promote the sustainability and traceability of the fish and seafood they sell. The Pelican, Barnstaple EX31 2BZ; pelicanfishandchips.co.uk
Where is it? Locals rave about this traditional Exmouth-based takeaway, and the regular queues outside the door say it all. Why visit? Krispies is everything you expect a traditional seaside fish and chip takeaway to be, serving cod, haddock and plaice, as well as family favourites like burgers, sausages and chicken nuggets. It’s the kind of place to go that will keep kids happy and won’t break the bank – the perfect holiday eatery. That’s not to say it lacks quality. In fact, Krispies is consistently rated highly for its food and service, appearing on TV last year with Tom Kerridge on the BBC’s Best of British Takeaways. They also just picked up the Marketing Innovation Award at this year’s National Fish and Chip Awards. Try the battered chips. Yep, you heard us right. Chips lightly coated in batter. They’re so wrong they’re right. Krispies, Exmouth EX8 1PX; krispies.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
Ask the Grocer Who knows the best local produce in South Devon? How do you run an online supermarket? We quiz a grocer
really important, too. I now have really lovely relationships with my suppliers, and it’s amazing how much help and support local businesses give each other. How do you package your products? I pack into cardboard boxes and use paper bags for fruit and veg. Lots of my customers leave out a cool box, so when I deliver and they’re out I pop the produce into the box with an ice pack. When there is no cool box, I use a product called Woolcool – it’s insulated wool packaging that keeps produce cool. You try to sell produce that’s made within 20 miles of Kingsbridge. Why is that important to you? I think it’s important to support our local businesses, especially when we have such amazing produce on our doorstep. I do have a selection of fruit and veg that isn’t local, and the only reason is that, at certain times of year, the range grown here is limited.
FRESH DEVON PRODUCE DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO OUR DOOR? YES, PLEASE. ANDREA WILSON, FROM ONLINE RETAILER PRETTY LOCAL, EXPLAINS ALL
Where did the idea for Pretty Local come from? I have always had a love of good food. I’ve travelled a great deal, and my husband’s a chef, so we always hunted out good markets and local restaurants on our travels. On returning home to Malborough, near Salcombe, 18 months ago I found that, although Devon has an abundance of fabulous products, they aren’t always convenient to get a hold of – so I came up with the idea for Pretty Local.
up until midnight on Wednesday, and I deliver to the customer’s door on Friday. This gives the producers Thursday to pick, catch, make or bake for each of the orders.
How does it work? Essentially, it’s as simple as doing an online supermarket shop – except that all the produce comes from your favourite local businesses or producers. I am basically a delivery service for them. Orders can be made
How do you choose which products to stock? I don’t want to have any crossover, so I always make sure I’ve found the best of a product before I put it on the site. I also find that it’s the people behind the product that are
How do you find suppliers? I ventured around farmers’ markets, farm shops, looked online and joined groups like Food & Drink Devon. I find that people are now contacting me to be listed on the website, which is really lovely.
With no minimum order or spend, how do you make money? I take a small percentage from sales. For some of the businesses they have a wholesale and retail price, and for those that don't I take a percentage. There is no minimum order at the moment, as I want people to use the service and it’s a way of getting people to try it. Lots of my customers place a small order to test out the service, and the orders increase in size as they feel more comfortable with the whole thing. What has customer response been like to Pretty Local? The response has been overwhelming. I think everyone loves the fact that they can get produce from their favourite local businesses delivered to their doors, like a one-stop shop! Are there any products that are particularly popular? There’s a market garden called Spindlebrook Farm where they grow all their own veg without the use of any chemicals. Everything is lovingly grown and oh, so tasty! Their salad mix is a firm favourite with customers. Also, Favis Crab and the cakes and tarts from Te-Cake are very popular. What’s next? The plan is to increase some delivery days for the South Hams, and then we will hopefully be looking at a new Pretty Local area – but I can’t give away the details yet. Watch this space! kingsbridge.prettylocal.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
M AT T A U S T I N
@eatatblock serving up nourishing pho ga
LOCAL LAGER @fivebellsdevon aged Dartmoor hogget with black cabbage, clapshot, swede, ketchup and rosemary
IN THE DIARY... (5-7 MAY) EXETER FESTIVAL OF SOUTH WEST FOOD AND DRINK One of the biggest Devon food festivals of the year. Read our preview on page 48; exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk (6 MAY) SALCOMBE CRAB FESTIVAL Celebrate Salcombe’s famous brown crab at this free one-day festival, with chef demos from Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt and 2016 MasterChef champ Jane Devonshire; salcombecrabfest.co.uk (26-27 MAY) RIVER COTTAGE SPRING FAIR Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall hosts Melissa Hemsley, Tom Kerridge, Guy and Geetie Singh-Watson and more at this annual shindig at River Cottage HQ. Tickets £12.50, under 16s go free; rivercottage.net (1-3 JUNE) PLYMOUTH FLAVOUR FEST MasterChef’s John Torode is the star attraction at this year’s festival, celebrating the best of Plymouth’s growing food scene; flavourfestsw.co.uk
Did you know that lager accounts for 68% of beer sales in pubs? Nope, neither did we, but those clever folks over at Ottery Brewery have realised its potential and are taking on the big boys with the launch of Tarka Four, a 4% ABV session lager. It has a clean and crisp flavour with a long dry finish and it should make a refreshing change to its international competitors at bars across the South West. “To date, lager drinkers have been a collective of consumers who have only ever been talked to by our international brewers, like Carlsberg and Coors,” explains Patrick McCaig, sales and marketing director at Otter Brewery. “Even if half of those drinkers would be happy to break the mould and ‘go local’, it represents a whole new market who we can welcome into the world of Otter, and the ethical and environmental way in which we brew our beers. If the beer’s half decent, who wouldn’t choose a beer brewed down the road over a brand that just happens to be there?” The launch of Tarka Four is just the latest success story from Otter Brewery, as their Tarka Pure lager recently won Gold in the ‘Premium Lager and Pilsners’ class at the Society of Independent Brewers 2018 Independent Beer Awards. otterbrewery.com
FIRE UP THE BBQ Spring may have been a little late in springing this time around, but we reckon it’s totally acceptable to fire up the barbecue 365 days of the year for a meaty hit. So we were super stoked to hear about the return of QFEST on 16-17 June at Higher Humber Farm, Bishopsteignton, home of Red Rock Brewery. This celebration of smoke, meat, beer and music was set up by Ben Forte and Dan Shahin, the ‘Barbecue Buddies’ who found fame on Channel 4’s My Kitchen Rules, alongside their pal and farmer, Joe Lang. A highlight will be the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s cooking competition, which will see 18 teams from across Europe go head-to-head to make the ultimate in BBQ fodder. For tickets and more info, head to qfest.co.uk
SAVE THE DATE!
Team Crumbs are going to be hosting a fabulous event celebrating all things food and drink at Sandy Park, home to Exeter Chiefs, on 24 May. Crumbs Bath + Bristol edition editor Jessica Carter will be leading a panel discussion on the impact the food and drink industry has on the region, with panellists including Michael Dart from Dart’s Farm and Howard Davies from Salcombe Distilling Company. Tickets cost £15 and are available at sandypark.co.uk/book
S T A R T E R S
Ask the Expert
PINTS OF PaSSION
THE DEVON CRAFT BEER SCENE CONTINUES TO BOOM. (AND HEY, WHO DOESNâ€™T LOVE A PINT?) WE ASKED CHRIS LANG AND SAM BEAMAN FROM SALCOMBE BREWERY CO. TO SHARE THE SECRETS OF THEIR TRADE
S T A R T E R S
Devon dwellers love a good pint, but what do you know about the history of beer drinking in the county? Devon has a long history of real ale breweries. The traditional beers tend to be malty, sweet and easy drinking. In recent years, the number of breweries has increased, offering a wide range of beer styles to suit any palate. Tuckers Maltings in Newton Abbot, where we get some of our malt, has played a significant role in supplying the breweries of Devon with top quality malt since 1900. The variety of beer styles has also increased. Although Devon is some way off the craft beer scene in Bristol and beyond, the emergence of younger ale drinkers has created a demand for some more interesting and adventurous beers. This gives brewers like us the opportunity to experiment, and create exciting new products to appeal to the younger and more traditional drinker alike. Has Salcombe always had its own brewery? There is a property on Island Street in Salcombe called Brewery Quay, so perhaps there was years ago! There are some fantastic local breweries in South Devon, and we’re fortunate to be working in such a competitive industry, which keeps us all on our toes. We were thrilled to find such a great location for our brewhouse, with views towards the Salcombe ria, but still enough space to house our new 20-barrel brewery with four fermenting vessels, capable of producing up to 350 nine-gallon casks a week. And where, originally, did the idea for Salcombe Brewery Co. come from? It was set up by John and Gerry Tiner in September 2016. Following 35 years of family holidays nearby, John and Gerry moved to the area to pursue their dream of running a brewery and secured both national and international investment to achieve this. They had a vision to create a business which had strong eco-friendly values whilst supporting the local community and producing high quality beers. We’re inspired by our local surroundings and the brewery’s logo, the seahorse, is representative of this, as the Salcombe ria is home to two of the rarest of the British aquatic species – the spiny seahorse and the short snouted seahorse. Is beer brewing difficult? Talk us through the process… Our brewing process at Salcombe Brewery Co., from grain to glass, is about two weeks. The first stage is mashing in. In essence, this is mixing the liquor (water) and malted grain together to form our mash. This is left to stand for an hour to allow the natural enzymes in the malt to break down the starch into fermentable sugar. The mashing process creates wort (unfermented beer), which is a sweet sugary liquid packed full of flavour. More liquor is sprayed over the top of the mash (called sparging) as the wort is drawn off from the bottom. The mashing process takes three to four hours, and the wort is transferred to the kettle for boiling. TheSboiling PHOTO M AT Tprocess AUS T Ihas N several objectives: it is where the bitterness and aroma are added, via the addition of whole leaf hops. The bittering hops are added at the beginning and the aroma hops right at the end. The boiling process also sterilizes the wort to ensure no unwanted microorganisms survive into fermentation. The boil also helps to remove
unwanted protein from the beer that can contribute towards haze in the final product. After the one-hour boil, the wort is then transferred to the fermentation vessel when the real magic happens. On route, the wort is chilled using a heat exchanger to bring the beer down to around 18C, a temperature more suitable for fermentation. After the transfer, the yeast is added and the fermentation begins. Our fermentation lasts between three to four days, depending on the yeast strain we’re using. The temperature is controlled throughout fermentation to ensure that we get the right flavour contribution from our yeast. We monitor the progress at least twice a day to make sure all is well. Once we have reached our desired ABV, we chill the beer down to encourage the yeast to settle to the bottom of the vessel, allowing us to rack the beer into casks with low yeast counts. Wow! Sounds technical. How do you know when a beer is ready to drink? After the brewing and fermentation, our beer is raked into casks where it is left to condition in our underground cellar for a week. This conditioning is a secondary fermentation, and the temperature is critical. Our cellar temperature is maintained thanks to the thick wall that remains from the decommissioned water reservoir our brewery is built on. Then the hardest and, arguably, the most arduous part of the job – tasting it. We analyse every batch of beer to ensure that it meets our specification for colour, ABV, carbonation, clarity, aroma and, of course, taste. If all these elements, which we believe make a great beer, meet our specification then we release the beer to trade. Our bottled beer is brewed and conditioned here at the brewery and sent away for bottling. We implement the same stringent testing to our bottled beer as our cask, so whether you have a pint in Devon or order your bottles online, when you have a Salcombe beer it’s always at its best. How is the beer stored, and how long can it keep? The beer is stored in our cellar, which sits at around 12C. The casks have a 90-day best before date, and we keep back a couple of casks long after this date to ensure the quality remains high. In theory, the beer would be good to drink far beyond the stated date, but we set this period as we think this is when our beer drinks best. Our bottled beer is filtered, though, and so has an extended best before for 12 months from the date of bottling. The bottled beer is kept cool and in the dark to maintain its freshness for when it’s delivered to our customers. Interesting stuff! And who masterminds which beers you’re going to produce? We brew beers to keep our customers happy. Our aim is to brew a range of different beers, so that there is something to suit every palate. We are proud of our eclectic customer base, and are pleased that we can provide beer for a plethora of tastes, seasons and occasions. South Devon provides never-ending inspiration, and many of our beers go well with food. (For example, we created a beer for our friends at Rockfish to complement their fantastic seafood.) As wonderful as this part of the country is, though, we also look far beyond our home
county for inspiration, so we can bring the people of Devon something a little different. Which brings us to what’s special about Salcombe Brewery Co. beer. Why should we drink it? We brew our beer using the very best ingredients we can get our hands on. We work closely with our suppliers, and use a combination of their advice and our knowledge. Combined, this is a perfect recipe for a great product. The state-of-theart brewery provides the perfect environment for producing top quality beer, too. Our Devon Amber, a Salcombe Brewery Co. favourite, now uses only British hops. We have tweaked the recipe so that the same great flavour remains, but this means we can support the growing British hop industry. The British hops offer some unique flavours that result in some of the best session beers in the world. Sounds great! What’s next? We’ve worked hard at creating a new product to add to our range, a pale ale available on keg and in a bottle. This 4.6% ABV beer is a classic pale ale with a twist, and has its heritage embedded in the Salcombe citrus fruit trade. Using ingredients that could have been found in Salcombe in the 19th century, we’ve produced a full bodied pale ale with a bouquet of orange, pink grapefruit and anise. It will be ready this spring, so keep an eye on our website so you know when it’s about to hit the shelves… salcombebrewery.com
The Salcombe Brewery Co. logo is inspired by the fact that Salcombe is home to two of the rarest British seahorse species
S T A R T E R S
WE’VE TURNED OVER A NEW LEAF THIS MONTH, AND ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER – ALL TO BRING YOU ANOTHER BATCH OF OUR FAVOURITE NEW COOKBOOKS CHERISH
Anne Shooter (Headline, £28) Anne Shooter’s well-received debut Sesame & Spice was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers’ First Book Award, but this followup is, if anything, even more tempting: it’s packed with family recipes and is, she says, the cookbook her daughters asked her to write, full of their favourite dishes. References to Anne’s Jewish heritage can be found throughout (at one point she offers up a dairy-free cheesecake, as Jewish families eat a lot of chicken yet never serve milk and meat as part of the same meal), but she’s no purist, and her influences range from Eastern Europe to Jerusalem; from her mum’s recipes to modified dishes from her favourite books. Especially tempting are her marinated Hampstead Garden Suburb chicken, her slow-cooked brisket in Kiddush wine, and her peach, mozzarella and smoked salmon salad, as well as fresh takes on such Jewish classics as shakshuka and gefilte fish. If you enjoy the likes of Olia Hercules’ Mamushka and Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana, this might just be your new favourite book. – Matt Bielby
WD~50 THE COOKBOOK
Wylie Dufresne with Peter Meehan (£50, HarperCollins) Wylie Dufresne may not be a household name here in the UK, but across the pond he’s a pretty big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that he’s even been parodied on The Simpsons. He opened his restaurant wd~50 back in 2003 and it quickly gained a rep as New York’s most innovative and cutting edge restaurant. This was thanks to Wylie’s unique approach to cooking, influenced by science, art, and humble American classics like bagels and lox, or American cheese. It closed in 2014, so this book of the same name serves as a kind of time capsule, telling the story of the pioneering restaurant and the dishes that made it famous. Although it’s billed as a cookbook, the reality is that most of the dishes within the pages are beyond the scope of most chefs, let alone home cooks. I mean, you could try your hand at pickled beef tongue, fried mayonnaise and onion streusel, or you could simply enjoy reading Wylie’s anecdotes about each dish while drooling over the fabulous photography. – Emma Dance
Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press, £20) She’s been working in food for a decade, but it was probably around 2010 that Melissa Hemsley – along with her sister, Jasmine – began to gain momentum as a cook and food writer. Having published two books with Jasmine, in 2014 and 2016, Melissa is now flying solo, and has penned her first collection of recipes as a lone author. Eat Happy contains nutritional breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sweets and snacks, and readers of her previous work will notice familiar ingredients such as miso, tamari, ghee and ‘bone broth’. Melissa includes practical tips on time saving, stocking your cupboards, and using up leftovers, and has designed these recipes to only take about half an hour to prepare from scratch, and require no more than two pots during cooking. Many recipes
are chocca with veg, promising to get you on your way to your five-a-day; think lentil and bean chilli with guac, one-pan pesto chicken with summer vegetables, and harissa fish with herby cauliflower cous cous. – Jessica Carter
Ching-He Huang (Kyle Books, £19.99) Stir-fries often make for speedy, frugal and nutritious meals, but perhaps don’t seem the most exciting of dinners when you come home ravenous and hankering for something a bit indulgent. Here, though, Ching showcases a variety of enticing creations that will have you dusting off that wok in excitement. The book dishes out advice on the wok itself, as well as the basic rules of a successful stir-fry, common ingredients, and how to be well prepped for cooking. These building blocks put you in good stead for having a go at any of the 100 recipes – more than half of which are vegetarian and all of which can be on the table in a matter of minutes. You’ll find lots of carefully balanced aromatics – such as in the Taiwanese ‘three cup chicken’, spicy soy mushroom tofu, and sweet and sour baby squid with chilli and kumquats – and there are sauces, toppings and pickles to pimp your meal up with, too. – Jessica Carter
THE SEAWEED COOKBOOK
Caroline Warwick-Evans and Tim van Berkel (Lorenz Books, £15) Surfers, boaties and nature conservationists Caro and Tim run The Cornish Seaweed Company, Britain’s first commercial seaweed outfit, which counts the likes of Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein among its fans. They evangelise this healthy, sustainable and (yes) delicious food source in this handsome book. Full of tempting recipe photos and pictures of the pair clambering over bladder wrackstrewn rocks and diving for kelp, it talks a lot about seaweed cultivation and foraging, and gives detailed info on a dozen of the most important types. Recipes run through starters (deep-fried kelp-wrapped brie with raspberry and chilli jam) and mains (sea spaghetti ‘tagliatelle’ with crab) to, rather unexpectedly, puds (blackberry, apple and dulse crumble); there are even seaweed cocktails. (Kelp Martini, anyone?) This is an accessible book that will challenge your current eating habits. – Matt Bielby
Recipe from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press, £20); photography by Issy Croker USING STORE CUPBOARD staples and spinach from the freezer, this Seville-inspired stew comes together in under 20 minutes, and is a hit with everyone. You could swap the spinach for other greens such as chopped chard, or add extra bits and bobs, such as a few tablespoons of capers, olives or chopped sun-dried tomatoes. I love this as a stewlike soup in a bowl, but you could make it thicker and serve with a side of quinoa.
SPANISH STEW WITH ALMONDS SERVES 4
3 tbsp chopped or flaked almonds 1½ tbsp butter (or ghee) 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large red or orange pepper, deseeded and chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp smoked paprika ¼ tsp cayenne pepper 1 large handful of fresh parsley, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped 1 tbsp tomato purée 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed 100ml stock or bone broth or water (optional) 250g spinach 1 tbsp lemon juice extra-virgin olive oil, to serve 1 In a large, deep frying pan, toast the almonds over a medium heat for just under a minute until golden, then set aside. Melt the butter in the hot pan, add the onion and pepper, and fry for 6 minutes until starting to soften. 2 Add the garlic, spices and parsley stalks and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning, then add the tomato purée and cook for another 30 seconds. 3 Tip the tinned tomatoes into the pan, turn up the heat to a medium simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, to thicken and reduce. Then add the chickpeas and cook for another 3 minutes with a lid on. If you want the stew to be more soup-like, add the stock. 4 Turn up the heat, drop in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, covered with the lid, then add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. 5 Serve each bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil and with the parsley leaves and toasted almonds scattered over.
WHAT TO MAKE AND HOW TO MAKE IT – DIRECT FROM THE KITCHENS OF OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES
We love ’shrooms and these enoki fellas, commonly used in East Asian cuisine, are delish
P L U S !
H I G H L I G H T S
Get your seasonal kicks with Exeter Cookery School’s spring lamb Page 22
Roast haddock and chorizo? Yes, please Page 24
A refreshing dessert from Gidleigh Park Page 26
Get your mushroom groove on with this lush soup, page 28
C H E F !
LamB GONe wILd
JIM FISHER, CO-OWNER OF EXETER COOKERY SCHOOL, SHARES A DISH GUARANTEED TO PUT A SPRING IN YOUR STEP This seasonal dish from our friends at Exeter Cookery School not only looks delish, but we reckon it’s straightforward enough to master for a dinner party or Sunday lunch. (Your mates will be most impressed.) “A rack of lamb is made up of eight chops taken from the front end of the animal – the end with the long ribs,” explains Jim. “Ask your butcher to give you four three-rib portions from two racks. Also, ask if he or she can French trim and part chine them. “French trimming is where the flesh is removed from halfway along each rib. Chining means sawing through the base of the ribs where they attach to the back bone (chine bone), making the cooked rack easier to carve and serve. Make sure your butcher leaves the chine bone on in order that the racks cook evenly, though, as the bone protects the tender eye of the chop from overcooking in the oven.” Wild Garlic can be found in shady woodland wherever bluebells are to be seen. It is identifiable by its long and slender dark green leaves that smell strongly of – guess what? – garlic. “Pick only the leaves or flowers,” Jim says, “as you are not allowed to dig up the whole plant. If in doubt as to whether or not you have the right thing, leave well alone and use a well crushed garlic clove instead.”
RACK OF SPRING LAMB WITH WILD GARLIC GREMOLATA SERVES 4 4 three-rib racks of spring lamb 1 large handful of wild garlic, finely chopped zest of a lemon, finely grated 6 anchovy fillets, finely diced 1 tsp rapeseed oil sea salt freshly ground black pepper 1 Pre-heat oven to 180C/360F/gas mark 4. 2 Score the skin of the lamb in a shallow harlequin pattern. Smear with oil and season well all over with sea salt and black pepper. Allow meat to come to room temperature. 3 Mix the wild garlic, lemon zest, anchovies and oil and leave to mature until ready to serve. 4 Bring a large frying pan to a medium-high heat. Sear the skin side until brown, then repeat on all sides. Place the four racks in a roasting tray sat on their chine bones for even cooking. 5 Put in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. To test for doneness, quickly insert a thin metal skewer into the very core of the eye of the meat, count to five, then quickly remove the skewer. Tentatively touch the tip to your bottom lip. It should feel just warm, indicating an internal temperature of about 55C, at which point it will be quite rare. 6 Remove the racks and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm and rest for 5-10 minutes. 7 Remove the chine bone and serve the racks with some spring vegetables, such as asparagus and sugar snap peas. exetercookeryschool.co.uk
ANNIE MCKENZIE, 2016 MASTERCHEF SEMI-FINALIST AND ACTRESS – AND NEW-ISH DEVON RESIDENT – SHARES ONE OF HER FAVOURITE SUPPER RECIPES "This recipe is perfect for so many occasions,” Annie says, “whether you’re rustling up a late-night supper for a friend, if you want to impress a loved one, or for a dinner party main course that tastes and looks more far complicated than it is. It stars smoky chorizo with butter beans and tomatoes alongside flaky white fish, sharp zingy lemon and fresh herbs. Delicieux!" MasterChef 2016 semi-finalist Annie recently moved to Exeter to escape the hustle and bustle of London life. A trained actress as well as a talented chef, she now runs the theatrical dining company, Scripts for Supper, and is due to host a performance of Wind in the Willows at West Town Farm, near Exeter, over three weekends in May. “This dish reminds me of holidays in Madrid,” she says, “and the balmy summer nights I miss so during the winter!"
OVEN ROASTED HADDOCK WITH CHORIZO AND BUTTERBEAN STEW
1 Pre-heat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3. 2 Slice the chorizo, thinly slice the shallots and crush the garlic cloves. 3 Heat a flameproof casserole dish until medium hot, add a small splash of olive oil, then add the chorizo and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo oil is released. 4 Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes. 5 Add the shallots, garlic, thyme and tomatoes to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. 6 Add the butter beans and stir well, then add the white wine and chicken stock and bring to the boil. 7 Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for one hour, then remove and give it all a good stir. Cover again and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. 8 While the stew has its last 15 minutes, oil and season the fish fillets and place them on a baking tray, skin side down, on parchment paper. 9 Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. 10 Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before removing the lid. 11 Roughly chop the parsley and stir into the butter beans, reserving some for garnish. 12 Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve the beans in a large bowl with the fish perched on top and a slice of lemon. Finish with a scattering of parsley and enjoy with a large glass of ice cold Viognier. Just heaven!
SERVES 4 4 x 200g haddock fillets 250g cooking chorizo 2 x banana shallots 2 x cloves garlic a few thyme sprigs 1 x large punnet tomatoes (about 6-8) 2 x cans butterbeans, drained and rinsed 200ml white wine 500ml chicken stock 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley Cornish sea salt freshly ground black pepper olive oil 1 lemon, cut into rounds, for garnishing
Tickets for Annie’s theatrical dining experience, Wind in the Willows, are priced £40 and available from scriptsforsupper.co.uk
C H E F !
ZEST FOR LIFE
NEWLY-APPOINTED EXECUTIVE HEAD CHEF AT GIDLEIGH PARK, CHRIS SIMPSON, SHARES A FRUITY SPRING DESSERT
Chris Simpson is one of those chefs that we know we’re going to be hearing a lot about in the future. Well-known across the West Country already, Chris joined Gidleigh Park in January from Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, where his reputation for outstanding cooking with the very best local ingredients helped secure two Michelin stars. On this fruity summer pud, he says: “As mangos are one of my favourite fruits, we take the opportunity to use them at their best before the spring crops come into their own here in the UK. This is a delicious and fresh dessert, and while there are a few components to prepare, each is fairly simple and can be done in advance, meaning you simply need to assemble just before serving.”
PASSIONFRUIT, MANGO, COCONUT AND LIME
3 Gently heat the double cream in a pan and whisk in the passionfruit purée. Add the soft gelatine leaves, and then pour over the whisked egg yolks and sugar. 4 Whisk in a KitchenAid (or normal blender if you don’t have one!) until cold, and then set in the fridge for four hours. 5 Once set, whisk in the cream cheese and pipe into moulds, then freeze until ready to use.
SERVES 4 Passionfruit mousse: 150g passionfruit purée 1 ½ leaves of gelatine 3 egg yolks 60g sugar 200g double cream 130g cream cheese
Passionfruit syrup 1 Boil the sugar and water together. 2 Add the passionfruit seeds and then reduce until you have a syrup consistency.
Passionfruit syrup: 25g sugar 25g water 3 passionfruit
Lime granita 1 Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice, add the sparkling water and freeze overnight. 2 Once frozen, scrape with a fork until you have a granita (which should be like a slush in consistency).
Lime granita: 80g lime juice 60g sugar 190g sparkling water
Mango sorbet 1 Dice the mango into small pieces and then freeze overnight. 2 Once frozen, blitz in a blender until smooth. Place back in the freezer until ready to use.
Mango sorbet: 2 x large good quality mangos To serve: 1 x mango, peeled and sliced 1 x lime, frozen, to be zested 50g desiccated coconut Passionfruit mousse 1 To make the passionfruit mousse, reduce the passionfruit purée by three-quarters, then set aside. 2 Place the gelatine in iced cold water to soak, and then whisk the egg yolks and sugar.
To serve 1 Toast the desiccated coconut in the oven at 180C/360F/gas mark 4 for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. 2 Put the passionfruit mousse in the centre of the plate. Place two slices of mango on top of the mousse, then put one tablespoon of coconut on top of the mango, then quenelle a spoon of the mango sorbet. 3 Grate some lime zest on top of the mango sorbet. 4 Spoon around the plate some of the passionfruit syrup. 5 Serve the granita on the side. gidleigh.co.uk
C H E F !
SOUP ISN’T JUST FOR WINTER; INDEED, IT’S A LUNCHTIME STAPLE. WE’RE DIGGING THIS ONE FROM THE MUSHROOM COOKBOOK Popularly known as ‘Mushroom Man’, Michael Hyams trades at New Covent Garden Market, supplying every conceivable type of mushroom to the UK’s top chefs. Last year, he teamed up with food writer and supper club host Liz O’Keefe to launch The Mushroom Cookbook – a tome full of creative recipes using a selection of fungi. Leafing through the pages, this kale and shiitake soup caught our eye. “Packed with nutrients and powerful flavours, this superhero of soups has the full house of vitamins – A, B, C and D,” says Liz. “It has a vibrant green colour and strong nutty, smoky taste, brought on by smoked salt, walnut oil and dry-fried kale. It is smart enough to wow any dinner party, but simple enough for a cosy night in.”
KALE AND SHIITAKE SOUP SERVES 4 16 shiitake mushrooms 200g shallots, halved 4 garlic cloves 2 tbsp walnut or butternut squash oil 600g kale, rinsed and roughly chopped 1 litre mushroom stock (see tip below) juice of ½ a lemon ½ tsp sugar smoked sea salt and cracked pink peppercorns sour cream and crusty bread, to serve 1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. On a baking sheet, place the shiitake mushrooms, shallots and garlic cloves and sprinkle over the walnut oil. Season with the salt and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the shallots are softened. 2 In the meantime, in a large pan dry-fry the kale, in batches if needed, until the kale is moist and softened. 3 Add the roasted shallots and its juices to the kale, then peel the roasted garlic and add to the mixture. Add 4 shiitake mushrooms, then simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Slice the remaining 12 roasted shiitake and set aside. 4 Pour the stock into the pan and add the lemon juice and sugar, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, then allow to cool slightly before liquidizing, in batches if necessary. 5 Return the liquidized soup to the pan, then add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and pink peppercorns. Simmer for 2 minutes, then serve with a swirl of sour cream and crusty bread. TIP: To make mushroom stock, place 400g dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 1 litre boiling water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the rehydrated mushrooms to be used in another recipe. Reduce or enlarge quantities as required. mushroomman.co.uk
C H E F !
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devon destinations Looking for a seasonal escape? Why not check out one of these four seasonal hotspots?
new continental hotel Plymouth PL1 3LD 01752 276798 newcontinental.co.uk
Located in the heart of Plymouth, the New Continental Hotel is the perfect choice to enjoy Britain’s Ocean City. As the largest independent, family run hotel in Plymouth, it has 99 bedrooms and on-site parking, a great in-house brasserie (which includes a sensational early evening menu), and a leisure complex complete with gyms, sauna, steam room and indoor pool. A warm family welcome awaits you.
crab Shack on the beach
moorland garden hotel
Yelverton, Nr Plymouth PL20 6DA 01822 852245 moorlandgardenhotel.co.uk Set on the edge of Dartmoor, this hotel offers 40 bedrooms with views over nine acres of gardens. Head chef Jake Westlake creates seasonal menus using locallysourced ingredients. The Wildflower Restaurant and Dartmoor Bar offer a choice of formal or informal dining, while four-legged friends are welcome in the bar and outside in the grounds. Afternoon teas are available daily from 3.30pm.
Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8BY 01626 777956; crabshackonthebeach.co.uk
This idyllic seaside escape offers the perfect getaway for foodies, families, walkers, beach and watersport lovers. Hire the upstairs maisonette, which sleeps up to nine people, and enjoy the Crab Shack's delicious seafood on your own private balcony. During the day, hire a boat and explore the local coastline. Crab Shack is now in its sixth year trading on the back beach in Teignmouth, and is proud to showcase local seafood as it should be – fresh and sustainable.
The cricket inn
Beesands TQ7 2EN 01548 580215 thecricketinn.com
Situated in the quaint fishing village of Beesands, just a stone’s throw from the beach and directly on the South West Coast Path, The Cricket Inn offers visitors an authentic taste of the Devonshire coast. Not only
does this inn boast an AA rosette restaurant, offering delights from their new Josper oven, it also has seven nautically-inspired bedrooms. The menu is designed around fresh, local produce, with lobsters, crab and scallops caught directly from the bay. Specialities include the famous seafood pancake, josper-grilled steaks, and whole barbequed fish, plus there's a range of pub classics.
We are an independent, friendly coffee and cake rooms passionate about quality local and fresh ingredients. Full menu available with breakfasts, snacks and lunches Vegan menu, cakes and scones • Gluten free menu, cakes and scones • Cream teas and high teas Custom-made celebration, birthday and novelty cakes Regular vegan and gluten free workshops Dog friendly • Child friendly 2 Bank Street, Teignmouth, TQ14 8AL www.perryliciouscoffeeandcakerooms.co.uk
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
FROM THE ERA OF FLARES AND THE BAY CITY ROLLERS COMES THE SLOW COOKER REVIVAL, HEADED UP BY THOSE CLEVER FOLK AT CROCK-POT. IN FACT, MATT BIELBY QUITE FANCIES A SAVOURY MAPLE AND DIJON POT ROAST RIGHT ABOUT NOW… You know what? I really hate the ’70s. All this nostalgia for a decade that gave us horrid wallpaper, Space Hoppers and Austin Allegros the colour of saffron. But think of the good things! Think of David Bowie! Think of Star Wars! Think of Curly Wurlies, lava lamps, The Clangers and holidays in Spain! And think of the slow cooker too, the decade’s must-have kitchen gadget – perfect for cheap, tasty, easy meals – that’s now right back in fashion. But I already have a slow cooker! Not like this, you don’t. The latest from Crock-Pot – delighting in a mouthful of a name, being officially the ‘4.5L Crock-Pot DuraCeramic Sauté Slow Cooker’ – is something of a game-changer. It boasts a multipurpose aluminium pot that can be removed and used on all hob types, including induction – perfect for sautéing your meat before the slow-cooking begins, say. And it’s covered in a new coating (that’s the ‘DuraCeramic’ bit) that’s dishwasher safe and comes free of dodgy non-
stick chemicals. This gives it – they claim – four times the durability of most rivals. I’ve heard of Crock-Pots – they’re not the cheapest, but every stew I’ve eaten from one has been delicious. They’re kind of the slow cooker gold standard, I guess – Crock-Pot has been making them for over 50 years, and it was their comedy recipe names (‘Male Chauvinist Chili’, anyone?) that got everyone talking about slow cookers in the first place. And they tend to innovate – so this one has a hinged lid, rather than a separate cover, and is bigger than usual. Plus, it has tons of heat settings.
lean stuff, which tends to cook down to a leathery toughness. Since everything’s so gently heated, you’re best off frying meat to brown it first, while delicate veggies (like asparagus and courgette) only want dropping in at the last minute – they’ll go mushy otherwise. And you need to be careful with dried pulses (which need boiling beforehand) and dairy, which likes to separate out. Too much spice is another enemy – chilli becomes hotter the longer you cook it, after all.
So what can I make with it? Oh, the usual – stews, casseroles, curries and soups – plus the likes of pulled pork, and even puddings.
That’s a lot to worry about! Not really – and these are just the same guidelines you’d get with any slow cooker. Bottom line is that this clever Crock-Pot has enough strings to its bow that you’ll be turning to it at least once a week – and on a pound-per-use basis, it might just be the best kitchen buy you’ll ever make.
Slow cookers are foolproof, then? Not quite. They’re brilliant for tough, sinewy cuts, rendering them tender and delicious, but less ace for the
The 4.5L Crock-Pot DuraCeramic Sauté Slow Cooker is just £66.99 from branches of Argos, or buy online; crockpot.co.uk
THIS MONTH – BRIOCHE AND BUNS – DITCH THE DISPOSABLE PLASTIC
recently fessed up on the Crumbs blog to not being much of a cider drinker. Shameful, I know – especially since I live in the South West, which is proper cider country. Now time for another confession: I’m not a big fan of baking, either. While everyone goes crazy for GBBO, I’m generally sitting in the corner doing an eye roll. You see, I’m just not that good at measuring stuff. Baking is an art and a science. One extra spoonful of flour or teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and you could turn your luscious loaf into a right sticky mess. It’s not that I don’t want to bake, as I love all things dough-based – cakes, pastries, breads, you name it. It’s just that I don’t have the confidence not to cock it up. Step forward Andy Tyrrell, recently appointed head chef at River Cottage. Having started his chef’s career in a patisserie, and having worked and taught at River Cottage since 2012, he’s pretty much a master of all things baking. So, when he invited me to the fabled cookery school to try my hand at their new-ish Croissants, Brioche and Buns course, I couldn’t refuse. After all, if a master is teaching me, what could possibly go wrong? “Young, old, experienced, inexperienced, we have a wide range of people doing this course,” Andy says, reassuringly. “You may think it’s designed for more intermediate bakers, but a lot of people who have never really baked before – but love brioche and croissants – come along. It’s not aimed at anyone in particular, just people that have a passion for pastries!” After a bumpy tractor ride to the cottage, a strong cup of tea, and possibly the poshest bacon sarnie I’ve ever eaten, my fellow bakers and I roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. We start by making croissant dough, and there’s something wonderfully therapeutic about working the dough over and over in your hands until you have the (almost) perfect consistency. Next, we put a block – yes, a whole block – of creamy butter on top of the dough and begin to fold and roll it in, over and over again. It all starts to feel a little hypnotic – a bit like going for a massage but more satisfying, as you know you’re going to end up with a car-boot load of pastries at the end of it. We then wrap up our slab of buttery dough and stick it in the fridge to rest for a bit, while we get on with making the brioche dough. What’s lovely about this course is that for all the work we’re doing, it’s pretty relaxed. At no point do I feel stressed. Andy is a great teacher, explaining everything slowly and in layman’s language, so we all know what’s going on. “At River Cottage, ingredients are everything," he says. "Always start with something that’s organically grown or produced. Find the best quality produce you can. When you do, from the point of view of a cook, you have the opportunity to make something that tastes fantastic and stands out from what you buy in the shops. When it comes to bread and pastries, supermarkets and bakeries want to cut corners because they have to focus on the price point, whereas when you’re baking at home you can use the best ingredients, so it will taste absolutely delicious.”
Crumbs cooks with...
andy tyRReLL THINGS GOT A LITTLE BIT MESSY WHEN WE COOKED UP A BATCH OF BRIOCHE AND BUNS WITH RIVER COTTAGE’S RECENTLY APPOINTED HEAD CHEF, ANDY TYRRELL… WORDS: MELISSA STEWART PHOTOGRAPHS: BIANCA ROBINSON
C O O K S
W I T H
Just so you know, the flours we use for our baking are from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire and Stoat & Sons from Dorset, while the butter is from Brue Valley Farms in Somerset. Brioche dough mixed, we set it aside to do its thang while we get started on making doughnuts. Handily, and in true Blue Peter style, all of our ingredients have been measured out for us, so it’s just a case of doing the handiwork. After another prod, roll and fold of our croissant dough, we take a well-earned break. This is where me and my fellow bakers proceed to get a bit overly excited as we’re led to the actual River Cottage dining room (as seen on TV) for a spot of lunch. A seasonal feast of rolled ewe with celeriac, anchovy broccoli and puréed carrot with garlic is enjoyed as we mingle with fellow guests, one of whom – we discover – has travelled all the way from America just for the chance to enjoy the River Cottage experience. Stomachs satisfied, we head back in for our afternoon session, whereby we revisit our various doughs and lovingly craft them into finished products. As well as croissants, brioche buns and doughnuts, we make pain au chocolat, pain aux raisin and cinnamon buns. “The great thing about this course,” says Andy, “is taking the time to practise your skills. Baking with enriched doughs isn’t something that most people would find the time to do at home, so it’s great you can come along here, take your time and give it a go. Then, once you get home, you can practise and refine your technique. Once you’ve mastered the art of baking a few things well, you’ll realise how much better they taste than the stuff you buy in the shops.” As the delicious waft of freshly baked goods starts to envelop the kitchen, it’s hard not to be excited by the sight of our efforts starting to rise and take shape in the ovens. Yes, admittedly, when it comes to cooling our breads down there are a few misshapen buns and soggy bottoms to be had, but overall everybody has created an impressive haul of treats. As the sun starts to set, we get back on the tractor, laden with the pastries we’ve made (and definitely a few pounds heavier after all the taste testing we’ve been doing), and the overall feeling is one of satisfaction. I get home, eat a few more, then fill the freezer with the rest. Catching myself a few days later, making a bread and butter pudding from the rest of the brioche, I realise – thanks to Andy – there might just be a baker inside me yet.
If you fancy getting your mitts sticky and making some yummy buns to take home, Crumbs readers can get up to £35 off Croissants, Brioche and Buns courses at River Cottage HQ. Go to rivercottage.net/ croissants-brioche-and-buns and enter BreadCrumbs Valid on dates until 01/08/18. Cannot be used in conjunction with another promotion.
K I T C H E N
A R M O U R Y
The Want List
WHO NEEDS WASTEFUL DISPOSABLE PACKAGING WHEN WE’VE GOT THESE FANCY PANTS PIECES OF KIT TO CARRY OUR LUNCH IN?
1 PERKINS & MORLEY TOTE £19 Before we think about lunch, we need the perfect bag to carry it in. Look no further than this beautifully illustrated tote from UK design duo Jill Perkins and Jan Morley. Available from Otterton Mill, near Budleigh Salterton; ottertonmill.com 2 BOX APPETIT LUNCH POT £19.99 These nifty lunch pots are handy because they split in two, meaning you can carry something like a ramen or stew in the top half, then some mixed fruit in the bottom half. Genius! Available from Dart’s Farm in Topsham; dartsfarm.co.uk 3 A SLICE OF GREEN LUNCH BOX £15.79 We’re partial to a bit of stainless steel here in the Crumbs office, and this stylish lunch container hits the spot. The top bit is a perfect size for sandwiches or a wrap, while you can store fruit or nuts in the bottom. Available from the Shops at Dartington; shopsatdartington.co.uk 4 STOJO COLLAPSIBLE TRAVEL CUP £12.99 There’s a heap of reusable coffee cups out there, thanks to more of us saying no to disposable cardboard cups. We like this collapsible one from Stojo because it takes up minimal room in our bag after use. Find it at Lawsons in Ivybridge; lawsonshop.co.uk 5 CHILLY’S BOTTLE £24.99 Ditch plastic bottles for good and keep your drinks hot or cold in this stylish bottle. Available in a range of styles and designs, using recycled and eco-friendly materials. Find it at Dart’s Farm; dartsfarm.co.uk
M AI N S TOP CULINARY CAUSES, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS, AND PEOPLE THAT MATTER
Itâ€™ll be street food heaven in Exeter during the early May Bank Holiday
H I G H L I G H T S
Getting in on the auction action at Brixham Page 40
YOUNG AND HUNGRY FOR IT
Opportunities for aspiring Devon chefs Page 50
ON THE MARKET
AN EARLY MORNING VISIT TO BRIXHAM FISH MARKET IS AN EDUCATIONAL AND EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE, AS MELISSA STEWART DISCOVERS
M A I N S
t’s not every day that my alarm rudely awakens me from my slumber at 5am, but today’s a little different. You see, I’m off to Brixham Fish Market for a tour, courtesy of Devon’s famous seafood restaurant chain Rockfish. They’ve invited Crumbs along to gain an understanding of how the fish market operates and to evidence just how salty fresh Rockfish’s produce really is. You’ve heard of field to fork. Well this, people, is proper sea to fork dining. I’m meeting a team of new Rockfish recruits at the Brixham branch, which handily sits right next to the fish market on the harbourside – literally just a hop, skip and a jump away. Every new staff member is given a tour of the market so that they know where the fish and seafood they’re serving comes from. It doesn’t matter if you’re front of house or in the kitchen, everyone does the tour and then heads back to the restaurant to rustle up the perfect serving of fish and chips. There’s even a Rockfish bible, detailing each different fish species on the menu, when it’s in season and how it’s served. This, therefore, is no ordinary chippy, and it is testament to Rockfish founders Mitch Tonks and Matt Prowse’s vision that everybody who works for them shares their passion and values for the produce they sell. Fishing is an industry close to my heart. My dad was a fisherman in Shetland when I was growing up, and I have fond memories of him coming ashore after a week at sea, smelling of salt and carrying a bag of fresh haddock, whiting or monkfish for tea. Sometimes my siblings and I were lucky enough to go on board his fishing boat, where we witnessed a tangle of nets and empty boxes waiting to be packed with fish and ice. Admittedly, the highlight for us at the time was the promise of a bottle of Lucozade and a Cornetto in the galley, but let’s not focus on the minor details. What stays with me is just how intense, and what hard work, making a living at sea can be. The British fishing industry has had a tough time of it in recent years. What was once a booming industry in the early 20th century has undergone a long period of decline, brought about by overfishing and restrictions on UK fishermen’s landing quotas. It’s an emotive issue too, and one that was front and centre of the EU referendum debate in 2016, with many UK fisherman backing the Leave campaign so that Britain can regain control of its waters, which many feel have been plundered by our European neighbours. It remains to be seen how that will pan out… “Sustainability is something that Rockfish is fully committed to, with the majority of our catch coming direct from the South West. The only exception being cod and haddock, which is imported from Norway,” explains our guide for the day Darren Whelan, Rockfish’s fish buyer and fish room manager. Kitted out in white coats and sexy blue overshoes, we venture into the market, with Darren guiding us through the abundance of fish boxes. There are two main types of fishing boat that land at Brixham – small day boats that bring catch like red mullet, squid, seabass, mackerel; and larger beam trawlers, which lower their nets to the bottom of the seabed for flatfish like lemon sole, Dover sole and plaice. Darren guides us through what to look for when it comes to buying fresh fish (see ‘Let’s Get Fresh’ overleaf), and we watch enthralled as a bunch of buyers animatedly put their bids in at auction. As well as supplying local restaurants, Brixham Fish Market supplies other fish markets – like London’s famous Billingsgate – plus supermarkets and local fishmongers.
LET’S GET FRESH
Here are Rockfish fish buyer extraordinaire Darren Whelan’s top tips for spotting whether a fish is super fresh and perfect, or on the way out… Smell Fresh fish smell salty like the sea, they don’t smell overly fishy. If your piece of fish has a pungent aroma, ditch it.
Skin A fresh fish looks like it’s just come out of the water – wet and slippery. If it’s dull and grey, then it’s probably on its last fins. Eyes Glazed dull eyes are a no no, and suggest that your fish is past its best. Look for bright, clear eyes and healthy gills. Touch Press the fish lightly and check that it’s firm and bounces back into shape after you’ve taken your hand away. If it leaves a finger mark in the flesh of the fish, it’s not as fresh as it could be.
What strikes from our visit is just how lazy we Brits are when it comes to eating the fish and seafood readily available on our shores. Brands like Rockfish are sadly the exception, not the norm, when it comes to exposing the public to different varieties of fish. One need only look at the menus of restaurants up and down the country to see that the most exotic things are likely to be squid or a fillet of sea bass. Yet before me I see boxes of red mullet, sprats and, most excitingly of all, cuttlefish, which, believe it or not, have their own special room in the market, owing to the messy ink that oozes out of them. “It’s mad to think that we export 98% of our cuttlefish to Europe, as countries like Italy consider it a delicacy but we don’t eat it here,” says Darren. Educated and awed, we head back to Rockfish for a warming cuppa and slice of sourdough toast, where the staff are given a quick quiz, testing them on what they’ve learnt that morning. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, and you get a real sense that you’re working for a family-run business, albeit one that spans across six Devon locations. Next up, we’re given a quick masterclass in chip making from Rockfish group head chef, Kirk Gosden. Here is a man who is passionate about potatoes and has gone to forensic level lengths to ensure the chips served at Rockfish are the best they can be. For the record, it’s currently all about the agria potato, which Kirk says, “creates a chip that’s as crispy as a £50 note and fluffy as a cloud”. To prove it, we do a chip test – something that every Rockfish restaurant does at 11am each day – to ensure the chips are of high enough quality. This is followed by a spot of batter making with Mitch’s son, Ben Tonks, a Rockfish head chef. Having myself worked in a chip shop as a teenager, I’m again amazed at the attention to detail on display here. The morning ends with the chance to cook up some of the day’s catch, including a fried fillet of hake and some sand sole on the plancha. Once cooked, they’re smeared with the slightest dash of garlic butter, but ultimately the fish speaks for itself. It’s eye-wateringly tasty. As I drive back home, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in Britain’s rich fishing heritage, and the (often thankless) work that they do to deliver such first-rate produce to our tables. Here’s to the team at Rockfish for so rightly celebrating what our seas have to offer. Long may it continue. therockfish.co.uk
M A I N S
SPRING BREAK DEVON IS BLESSED WITH SO MANY GORGEOUS PLACES TO EAT AT AND STAY OVER. HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVES…
ur beloved county doesn’t have many downsides, but one of them is that you can’t go far in Devon without a car. This means that if you’re dining out, and want to stray further than your local town or village, then one of your party needs to avoid the alcohol or you need to shell out for a taxi – an expensive business with the number of narrow country lanes we’ve got, not to mention so many stonking venues off the beaten track. (Uber, sadly, hasn’t quite reached us yet.) Thankfully we’ve got a plethora of places to suit a range of tastes and budgets, all where you can fill your boots then rest your sleepy head without having to leave the building. Sorted!
SOUTH HAMS South Sands Hotel
Situated right on the beach, and nestled on the South West coastal path in Salcombe. Guests can walk along the cliffs, from South Sands beach to Hope Cove and beyond, taking in the dramatic craggy coastline. Chef Allister Bishop’s menu concentrates on locally sourced and foraged ingredients, displaying his love of Devon’s natural larder. From £215 B&B for two; southsands.com
The White House
For those who like their mini-breaks boutique, this gem of a place in Kingsbridge is for you. Brought to you by the same team that run The Schoolhouse at Mothecombe and The Beachhouse at South Milton Sands, this gorgeous six-bed Georgian building, with its pop-art aesthetic, is the type of place you can truly kick back and relax. The restaurant is open in the evenings at the weekend, serving up fantastic local seafood. From £180 B&B for two; whitehousedevon.com
Soar Mill Cove Hotel
Situated on rolling acres of National Trust land near Salcombe, this dog-friendly hotel is ideal for lovers of the great outdoors. The restaurant has stunning views overlooking the bay, where you can dine on Salcombe lobster or a bowl of fruits de mer (subject to availability). Spring offer: Three nights for the price of two, between 15-26 April. From £269 DB&B for two; soarmillcove.co.uk
The Cricket Inn
This quaint inn with rooms, situated on the South West coastal path in Beesands, is fast establishing a name for itself as the place to go for a good honest meal. Think upscale pub grub with favourites like
M A I N S Whether it's an active seaside break on the coast or a relaxing retreat set among rolling hills, what sets all of our Devon picks apart is the lure of sumptuous food. Clockwise from left: Hotel Endsleigh; South Sands Hotel; Glazebrook House Hotel; and Boringdon Hall Hotel
fish pie, steaks, and the popular seafood pancake. From £240 for two nights DB&B; thecricketinn.com
Glazebrook House Hotel
Experience the amazing Alice in Wonderland-inspired interiors of this boutique hideaway on the edge of Dartmoor. For a special treat, book a private wine or whisky tasting session in the tasting room. From £159 B&B for two; three-course dinner approx £42.50pp (excluding drinks); glazebrookhouse.com
PLYMOUTH Boringdon Hall Hotel
Situated on the southern edge of Dartmoor, Boringdon Hall offers both luxury and tranquillity. Guests can choose from the tasting menu devised by chef Scot Paton in the Gallery Restaurant, or opt for a more informal experience in the newly opened Mayflower Brasserie. Spring offer: From £299 DB&B for two, including five-course tasting menu and wine pairing with each course; boringdonhall.co.uk
A beautiful boutique hotel just six short miles outside Plymouth city centre, which has the distinguished pedigree of once playing host to Henry VIII. Now it’s a rather grand hotel, with Dan Johns, a former sous chef at The Gherkin in London, heading up the kitchen. From £179 DB&B for two; langdoncourt.com
WEST DEVON Gidleigh Park
Channel your inner Downton Abbey and step back in time with a visit to this traditional country house hotel, tucked away on the northern edge of Dartmoor. The restaurant has two Michelin star status and offers the ultimate in fine dining. Turn to page 60 to read our review. Spring offer: From £439 DB&B for two, including a glass of Champagne and three-course a la carte dinner; gidleigh.co.uk
Set within 100 acres of fairytale woodland, this former hunting lodge has been reincarnated as a boutique hotel. Owned by Olga Polizzi, mother of Alex Polizzi from BBC Two’s Restaurant Rescue, it’s exquisitely decorated and offers an idyllic escape. The menus draw on Olga’s Italian heritage, using the finest local produce. From £290 DB&B for two; hotelendsleigh.com
Another country manor house that offers you the chance to completely escape from reality amidst glorious Devon countryside. Dining in the restaurant is like stepping back in time, the dark oak panelled walls adorned with portraits. A grand place to enjoy head chef Matthew Peryer’s table d’hote dinner menu. Spring offer: £540 for two nights DB&B throughout April and May; lewtrenchard.co.uk
M A I N S Clockwise from right: The Pig at Combe; Deer Park Country House Hotel; Hotel du Vin; and Orestone Manor
The Horn of Plenty
Located slap bang on the Devon/Cornwall border, this boutique hotel offers spectacular views over the Tamar Valley. We adore head chef Ashley Wright’s creative interpretation of seasonal produce, such as Brixham skate with winkles, salsify, black garlic and chicken jus. Spring offer: Stay two nights and save 20%, from £176 DB&B per night for two; thehornofplenty.co.uk
NORTH DEVON Saunton Sands Hotel
With majestic views over the three-mile beaches of Saunton, this is the perfect spot for those who love to holiday by the sea. There’s an art deco dining room for more formal dining, but we prefer heading down to the Beachside Grill for a more relaxed helping of surf and turf. Spring offer: Three-night B&B for two from £550, including sea-view room and a Devon day out; sauntonsands.co.uk
Located a stone’s throw from Barnstaple and on the edge of Exmoor, this boutique hotel is best known for its restaurant, The Coach House by Michael Caines. From £350 DB&B for two, including a bottle of Champagne on arrival and six-course tasting menu; kentisburygrange.com
The Old Rectory
Hidden away on Exmoor, this charming, award-winning boutique hotel is a haven allowing you to escape from the hassles of life. The dinner menu is small but makes the most of local produce, like Lundy turbot and Ilfracombe crab. Having closed for refurbishment over winter, it reopened with a fresh new look at the end of March. From £220 DB&B; oldrectoryhotel.co.uk
EAST DEVON The Pig at Combe
The Pig is popular with the fashionable set drawn in by its country splendour, plentiful opportunities to relax, and first-rate food. Head outdoors to The Folly for a smoked salmon flatbread and crisp glass of white. From £155 for two, room only; thepighotel.com/at-combe
Deer Park Country House Hotel
This grand old Honiton-based retreat offers a real taste of the English countryside. Head chef Richard Still has created a stonking menu using locally sourced Devon produce, including delights from the hotel’s kitchen garden. Spring offer: £150 DB&B per two, plus afternoon tea on arrival; deerparkcountryhotel.co.uk
Nothing says cosiness quite like a proper thatched cottage, and this inn in Branscombe ticks all the boxes. Ten minutes from Branscombe beach, it’s a dog-friendly venue too, serving up warming pub classics like sausage and mash, alongside River Exe mussels, all of which you can earn after a bracing walk with the pooch. Spring offer: Two-night mid-week stay from £129 B&B for two; masonsarms.co.uk
two-night DB&B from £500, including one six-course dinner with half bottle of Champagne, one three-course dinner, plus breakfasts; salutationtopsham.co.uk
Make like you’re in a Bond movie and inject some serious glamour into your life with a visit to Michael Caines’ Lympstone Manor, overlooking the Exe estuary. As you’d expect from one of the UK’s top chefs, the food is second to none. Spring offer: Book a room during April and May and enjoy up to 20% off DB&B (restrictions apply), price from £472; lympstonemanor.co.uk
The newest kid on Devon’s country house hotel scene, Paschoe House is a sumptuous retreat just outside Crediton. Guests rave about the carefully curated tasting menu, using seasonal local produce. From £290 B&B for two; tasting menu £75pp; paschoehouse.co.uk
EXETER Hotel du Vin
Situated in the heart of Exeter, in a former eye hospital, this is the ultimate place to stay for a city break. Indulge yourself in the REN spa before enjoying a meal in the bistro, inspired by classic French cooking with a modern British twist. Spring offer: From £160 DB&B for two; hotelduvin.com/exeter
Another gem of a place situated in Exeter, Southernhay offers the full boutique hotel experience. You’ll catch us sipping on negronis in the oh-so-chic cocktail bar, before enjoying a juicy sirloin in the restaurant. From £193 B&B for two on a Saturday night (note: no minimum two-night weekend stay); two-course dinner approx £24pp; southernhayhouse.com
The Salutation Inn
For a city stay without too much hustle and bustle, this is just the spot. Located in Topsham, this historic English inn marries fine dining with comfort and style. Spring offer: Gourmet
TORBAY Orestone Manor
With stunning views over Lyme Bay and beyond, family-run Orestone Manor is a 14-bedroom venue, offering delicious food and sumptuous accommodation. Stay in one of the suites, which have outdoor hot tubs overlooking the sea. The menu is good too, particularly the mussels and scallops fresh from the Teign. From £130 B&B; orestonemanor.com
If you’re after a beachside retreat, look no further than this little diamond situated at Babbacombe Bay. Enjoy The Cary cocktail, a white rum, lime and creme de violette concoction, as you gaze out to the blue azure, before enjoying a gastro-inspired meal. Spring offer: From £530 for a two-night gastro break for two, including dinner one night at the Michelin star restaurant The Elephant in Torquay; caryarms.co.uk
BesT IN shOw
ROLL US A GOURMET WRAP AND PASS US A PINT OF DEVON ALE, AS WE REVEAL WHAT’S IN STORE AT THIS YEAR’S EXETER FESTIVAL OF SOUTH WEST FOOD AND DRINK
t’s funny to think that it was only three short years ago that Crumbs Devon came roaring into being, and what better place to launch than at one of the UK’s most celebrated food events, the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink? And no, we’re not being biased, because – as festivals go – this one is pretty darn special. Not only has it got the usual line up of some of the region’s best chefs – step forward Michael Caines (co-founder), Mark Dodson (The Masons Arms), Josh Eggleton (The Pony & Trap) and Simon Hulstone (The Elephant), to name just a few – it’s also a fantastic celebration of the country’s finest producers. Add to that a smattering of local musical talent, plenty of hands-on workshops and
demos, plus an abundance of things for little people to do, and we’ve got ourselves a grand old weekend of fun. Or, as Michael Caines puts it: “The festival is a fantastic event that brings together regional producers and chefs celebrating the diverse produce we have in the South West. Visitors can sample and purchase products from over 90 producers, watch chef demonstrations and get involved with hands-on activities for the whole family.” Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink runs from 5-7 May. For the latest festival information and to book tickets, visit exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk
M A I N S
WHITE HOT STUFF
SHINY AND NEW
Producers are at the heart of any good food festival. Here are a few newbies to look out for…
Here, some of Devon’s top chefs tell us what they’ll be cooking up this year…
This is a new vodka created in micro-batches in the heart of Dartmoor National Park. “As a start-up business, events like this are vital source of income and a great way of getting our name out there,” says co-owner Edward Baily. “They’re also fantastic for networking, and it’s great to exhibit alongside a variety of locally produced goods.” torsvodka.co.uk
James Golding, The Pig at Combe
“I can’t wait to see all the local producers showing off their amazing products, as well as new food stalls and chefs showing off the best of the South West. This year, I will be pairing local Devon produce with our own home-grown walled garden produce, to create dishes that reflect the season and The Pig’s philosophy.”
Matthew Peryer, Lewtrenchard Manor
“It’s one of my favourite weekends of the year! It’s a fantastic way to bring local chefs and their clientele together, in a light-hearted fashion. And it gives me a perfect platform to celebrate the fantastic local produce we have in our beautiful county, meet a wide array of suppliers, and maybe show off a little too! This year I will be cooking a pan roasted fillet of hake, smoked bacon crumb, Fowey mussels, clotted cream and cider.”
FOREST FUNGI DEVON
Suppliers of quality gourmet mushrooms from a farm based in Dawlish Warren. “We are already supplying a number of restaurants and retail outlets in the city, and we feel the festival is a good opportunity to raise awareness of our product to the people of Exeter,” says owner, Scott Marshall. forestfungi.co.uk
Dez Turland, Saunton Sands Hotel
“It gives me a chance to catch up with some of the best producers in the South West all under one roof, as well have a drink or two with fellow chefs and friends! It really is an event not to be missed. I’ll be cooking in collaboration with AHDB Beef & Lamb, and it’ll be my twist on ‘Tongue & Cheek’.”
Matt Mason, The Jack in the Green
“At this year’s festival, I will be focusing on great local produce and running a cookery demo with Tom Johnson, a good friend, personal trainer and former professional rugby player. Tom has set up health and wellbeing service, recently working with Michael Caines at Lympstone Manor on its fitness offering. We’ll be inspiring people to eat great food with a nod to healthy eating.”
LITTLESTONE COFFEE ROASTERS
A family-run coffee roasting business based in Exeter. “The festival gives us a platform within the city to present our product and tell our story face to face with visitors and exhibitors,” says co-owner Jack Limmer. “Exeter is growing and growing, especially the city’s love of local produce. So, this is a brilliant way to highlight and celebrate this.” littlestonecoffee.co.uk
M A I N S
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
The Brend Training Academy nurtures plenty of young chef talent
LAUREN HEATH EXPLORES HOW SOME OF DEVON’S BEST CHEFS ARE HELPING TO NURTURE THE TALENT OF TOMORROW
he South West is blessed with coastline, moors, rivers and forests, all of which provide an incredible bounty for the many excellent and award-winning restaurants we enjoy. Inside these places are a wealth of heavyweight chefs, looking to bring on the next generation. Ironic, then, that there’s a shortage of new talent rising through the ranks, particularly when, on closer inspection, there’s no lack of avenues and opportunities, if they want it. Take Exeter College, for example; apprenticeships are available for any age of student, from those fresh out of school to the more mature of us, looking for a change of career. Full time culinary students get the chance to be a part of the Michael Caines Academy, which can include time with Michael himself and visits to his hotel, Lympstone Manor. They also benefit from real service experience as part of @34, the college’s very own restaurant that opens to the public a few times a week, and where all food is prepared and served by the students. South Devon College has similar opportunities, plus excellent kitchen facilities and their Horizons restaurant. This particular college benefits from The Mitch Tonks Seafood Academy, which was launched in 2012
and was the brainchild of Mitch, Adele Dawson and Dave Galpin. Since the start of the project two of his top chefs were educated here, and there are many more in training. “I’ve long been a believer that the South West has the best seafood in the world, and this Academy will really develop the potential of young chefs to help them become some of the best seafood chefs in the country,” says Mitch. South Devon College recently hosted The Chefs Forum for one of their fundraising events. Devon chefs of all levels turned up in their droves to enjoy lunch cooked by other seasoned names in the industry, and the college students were able to work with and learn from them. The Chefs Forum was set up in a bid to create an environment for chefs to network and meet a variety of suppliers all in one place, as well as headhunt for fresh culinary talent. The network has grown and events now occur nationwide, including four a year in Devon. Each event is hosted at a different college, restaurant or hotel, and gives hospitality students the opportunity to work with some of the best chefs in the region. This gives them the experience of performing under real pressure, and serving an audience of industry experts allows them to make a real impression. The Chefs Forum Educational Foundation (CFEF), meanwhile, raises funds through these events to help young hospitality students from disadvantaged backgrounds deal with costs that might prevent them from continuing in their chosen career. Another charity doing something similar is Young Devon. They opened Market Street over a year ago – a social enterprise restaurant in Newton Abbot, run by husband and wife team Andy and Alison Jarrett. With their mix of front of house and chef skills, and thanks to links with River Cottage, there are apprenticeship opportunities every year for those who may need nurturing in a boutique kitchen environment.
We quizzed Ellie Thuell, winner of South West Chef of the Year – Student, about her ascent through the culinary ranks Where did you start your culinary journey? I trained at the Michael Caines Academy for two years at Exeter College. I then won the Ray Kenney Competition in April 2017, and went on to win the South West Chef of the Year 2017, in the Student category. How did you train to be a chef? My culinary career started three years ago when I enrolled onto the Michael Caines Academy, but I also started working as a waitress at The Rodean Restaurant. I'm now doing a Level 3 course in professional cookery. What is your favourite ingredient to work with? I don't have a favourite ingredient, as I like to work all round the kitchen. I love desserts and the accuracy of them, but then I also love working with meat and fish. What would be your advice to other young aspiring chefs? Show that you’re passionate, and take on advice and knowledge from accomplished chefs – be like a sponge!
S T E V EN HAY WO O D P H OTOG R A PHY
A further example of a brand grabbing the bull by the horns is Brend Hotels. They have 11 hotels in Devon and Cornwall, and run apprenticeship schemes across the group. Apprentices get the chance to work their way up within the various establishments and, perhaps thanks to various workshops they can attend throughout the year, student and staff retention is high. “Apprentices are the workforce of the future,” says Brend’s Andrew Mosedale, “and we want to make sure they have the appropriate skillsets to meet the needs of the industry.” When asked about a shining star, he highlights Phoenix De-Giorgi, who works at Saunton Sands Hotel in North Devon and was one of 12 who helped launch the new Hospitality Apprenticeship Standards in 2016 and completed his commis chef qualification in January this year, achieving a distinction for his work. Andrew believes that Phoenix is amongst the first in the country to achieve this. There are competitive avenues of opportunity too, where you can prove yourself against your peers. South West Chef of the Year is a fantastic competition held across six counties, and includes categories such as Student/Apprentice Chef and Junior Chef, assessed by big industry names like Devon’s Michael Caines and Mark Dodson from The Mason Arms, Knowstone. 2017 South West Chef Student winner and Devon dweller, Ellie Thuell, won the Ray Kenny Bursary Competition in early 2017, and had the delight of a stint with Hywell Jones at Lucknam Park, Bath. Thanks to the support and guidance of her workplace at The Rodean in Kenton, she is certainly one to watch. It all boils down to the fact that, if you’re looking to take your first culinary steps, there are plenty of pathways to your dreams here in Devon. Indeed, if you have the passion and are willing to learn, the county – and world – can be your oyster.
Alison and Andy Jarrett of Market Street (top); Ellie Thuell, a South West Chef of the Year winner
WE CHAT TO THE CHEF-TURNED-PRODUCER ABOUT HIS FAVOURITE FOODIE SUBJECT (AND THE HERO OF HIS DEBUT COOKBOOK),Â GOAT Words by JESSICA CARTER Photography BY MIKE LUSMORE
ames’ career in food began in professional kitchens and, as a young chef, his goal was to have his own restaurant – exactly as you might imagine. Instead, though, he turned goat rearer, and became founder of the award-wining Devon-based producer Cabrito Goat Meat. So, er, what happened there? James explains by first taking me back to the very beginnings of his career. “I started out washing dishes, and cooking fish and chips, in Lyme Regis,” he says. “Then, when I got to London and became more serious, it was a time when everything was Italian and Spanish, and that stuck with me; I’m still in love with Italian food. As for my ethos, that was cemented by my time cooking at The Eagle in Farringdon, the first gastropub. The motto there, handed down from David Eyre, is ‘buy the best produce you can, and don’t f*** with it!’” James’ strong culinary ethics saw him eventually make the move back to his home county of Devon, where he ran the kitchen at River Cottage. It was when he was working here that he first got his mitts on the patch of ground which would ultimately end up changing the course of his career. “Some friends of ours had a little bit of land they didn’t have time to look after, so offered it to us,” he says. “We jumped at the chance, but the little paddock was completely overrun with years of untamed growth. Goats have a reputation for being good scrub clearers, so they
seemed the obvious choice – once pigs had been vetoed. Really, it was a complete accident we ended up with goats. “Once they had done their job, I put them on the menu at River Cottage, and they sold really well. Then I had a light bulb moment, thinking I could use my knowledge of the London restaurant market to sell a few goats – and here we are, six years later! “I soon started to learn about the ‘billy problem’, though. The dairies have no use for the males – you can’t milk a billy goat, and I suggest you don’t try! – so up until we came along they were euthanised at birth. That just seemed crazy to me, and I thought I could do something about it. It is, in my mind, completely unacceptable to euthanise these perfectly healthy animals, rather than rear them up for meat, but all the right ethical messages in the world wouldn’t make any difference if it didn’t taste any good. Fortunately, goat meat is delicious!” Goat isn’t just full of flavour, though; it’s actually got plenty of health benefits, and makes an easy case for itself against comparable meats like lamb and beef. (“My girlfriend is always telling me I don’t talk about the health benefits of goat enough!” says James.) It’s low in fat, and rich in protein and iron. But one of the biggest reasons James loves goat meat is – perhaps unsurprisingly, given his background – the joy of putting it to work in the kitchen. “For me, it’s mostly about the cooking; goat is a staple of cuisines the world over. And it’s a great way of expanding your cooking horizons.” So, let’s get this straight: it’s ethical, delicious, good for you, in decent
M A I N S
enough supply, and super popular all over the world – but is far from a regular in kitchens on these here isles. Forgive us for asking the obvious, but why exactly is that? “There are a lot of reasons. Firstly, historically, there just weren’t the animals around to eat – the UK didn’t have a sophisticated goat dairy system until the early ’90s. Before that, they mainly existed in smallholdings or with artisan cheese makers. Even today there are only around 70,000 billy kids born in the UK every year (that’s compared to the 116,000 lambs we kill a week for consumption). Perhaps more importantly, though, there’s the cultural question; we have no history of eating goat in the UK. There is no farming structure that exists for goats, and it’s not embedded in our cuisine in the way lamb, beef and pork are. These are big forces keeping goat out!” A changing food culture over the last 25-30 years, which James puts down to cheap flights (giving people the opportunity to experience new cuisines and cultures), the ever-growing ranks of food TV shows, and the blossoming of the UK restaurant scene, means that the public has become more open to new foods, however. But even though we’re all more adventurous these days, we’re also savvy shoppers, and it’s no secret that goat meat ain’t cheap. If it’s ultimately surplus from the dairy industry, why is that? “Once the kids are born, the nannies go back onto the milking parlour, so the kids need to be fed a milk powder replacement – and that’s expensive,” explains James. “It can be around 60p a day for the first six weeks of its life. That is an expense lambs don’t have, because lambs stay with the ewes; the goat farming system is driven towards the production of milk, whereas with sheep it’s the lambs that are the product.” The price isn’t the only thing slowing down the uptake on this meat, though, reckons James. “Goat has a wholly undeserved reputation for being tough, overpoweringly strong and hard to cook. It’s none of those things. There is also a certain conservativeness in cooking; you need to have a bit of confidence to try something new. We have had to earn that confidence, and it’s because people are now seeing it on high-end restaurant menus that we’ve managed to do it. “Anything you can do with a lamb, you see, you can also do with a goat – which I hate saying, because it begs the question, ‘Well, why don’t I just use lamb?’ The answer to that is that goat, in some dishes, is actually the more authentic ingredient: tagines, curries, samosas, you name it… But also, it’s simply a superior product, with a better flavour. It doesn’t have that overpowering fattiness lamb can have – but I would say that, wouldn’t I? “Personally, I love kibbeh – raw chopped goat, a bit like a Middle Eastern version of steak tartare. It’s so far from people’s stereotyped idea of tough, strong flavoured meat. But I also love the necks slow cooked – there’s so much flavour in a ragu from a slow cooked neck. And the legs, just marinated in preserved lemon and grilled on a barbecue, are great too.” So, where do we go from here? Well, the goat market is really starting to develop, and with a bit of luck James’ new book – Goat: Cooking and Eating – will help get the meat into people’s kitchens at home (Cabrito’s main customers right now are chefs in the restaurant trade). There is
James has been working to get goat into the kitchens and onto the plates of restaurants and homes around the UK, rearing billy goats born into the dairy industry that that would otherwise be euthanised at birth
still a lot of work to be done, though, at least from this goat-fanatic’s point of view. “Cabrito had a single line for a mission statement: put all the billy goats into the food system. That’s the goal. And it’s achievable in the next five years. It sounds ambitious, but think about the number of lambs killed: remember, it’s 166,000 every week versus 70,000-ish kids a year. When you look at it in those terms, it only needs one or two of the major multiple retailers – retailers that sell the goat milk products that cause the problem in the first place, I might add – to get involved and it’s done. You’d think they’d be keen to help, no? “If everyone who consumes goat milk products (milk, cheese or butter) bought goat meat every once in a while, the problem would vanish. And the more normal it becomes, the more meat we, and others, will sell. “It won’t happen overnight, but one thing is for sure: the days of us euthanising all the billies is over. The trend is only heading in one direction.” James Whetlor will be at the River Cottage Food Fair on 26 May. His book, Goat: Cooking and Eating (Quadrille £20), is out now. Find out more at cabrito.co.uk
THE JUBILEE INN Reservations 01398 341401
THE HOLT Pub, Restaurant & Smokehouse
Enjoy the taste of Summer in our private family home, open to the public seasonally from time to time and for special events and charitable endeavours. We combine the finest seasonal West Country produce with our wholesome home prepared menus. Luxury rooms include the use of a private guest terrace where you can bask in glorious Devon sunshine during your visit or al fresco dining. For reservations at our seasonal venue, please telephone.
email@example.com www.thejubileeinn.co.uk West Anstey, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3PH
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Eat · Drink · Learn · Share For all restaurant bookings and enquiries call 01404 47707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For cookery course information email@example.com 178 High St, Honiton, Devon EX141LA www.theholt-honiton.com
A F T E RS NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM H I G H L I G H T S
LET’S GO NUTS! Bampton’s latest foodie offering Page 58
GRAND HOTEL Fine dining at Gidleigh Park Page 60
GREAT EIGHT A bright new bistro in Bideford Page 64
A F T E R S
( N E W R E S TA U R A N T S )
THE GINGER PEANUT THIS NEW FOODIE SPOT MAY HAVE A QUIRKY NAME, BUT IT’S ALSO GOT BAGS OF CHARACTER TO MATCH, AS MELISSA STEWART FINDS OUT
he sleepy north-east Devon village of Bampton is becoming quite the foodie destination. First with the award-winning pub, The Swan, and now with the opening of Peter Mundy’s Ginger Peanut. Peter has long been one of Devon’s most successful caterers, recently winning Best Caterer at the South West Wedding Awards. Now he’s taken his successful foodie formula and applied it to a bricks and mortar establishment. The result is a delightful restaurant with rooms situated slap bang in the village. While not quite a pub, it’s not a formal restaurant either – picture more of a cosy bistro, with duck egg blue wood panelled walls, tartan upholstered chairs (which, by the way, are some of the comfiest we’ve ever sat on while eating), and low-level lighting. It’s got a country living vibe but with a contemporary edge, and a cosy atmosphere. We’re told the room can be split in two, too, with a sliding wall, to cater for private parties. There are also five bedrooms upstairs, should you fancy making a proper night of it and booking a room for a kip. With his training in classic French and modern English cuisine, Peter’s menu offers a fresh twist on classics you’d expect to find in this part of the world, like rump of lamb and pan-fried venison. The prices are reasonable too, with mains from £13.95, rising to £20.95 for a steak. I began with a starter of pan-fried sardines, Portuguese style, with crispy shallots. It’s a hefty portion but one that’s packed with flavour, with the juicy sardines perfectly paired with a sweet, smoky sauce. Across the table, a recommendation of ham hock arrives tender, moist and just the right side of gelatinous. It’s brought to life with a dash of curried dressing and a side of Welsh rarebit. For mains, I feel a little predictable, but just can’t say no to the local venison loin, particularly as it’s served with giroles, winter veg, fondant potatoes and a blackberry sauce. It provides the perfect antidote to the rain falling outside, oozing warmth and a rich depth of flavour. Of note is the venison itself, perfectly pink in the middle, superbly tender and packed with flavour. One of the best cuts of deer I’ve tasted in Devon – and believe me, I’ve tried a lot. My dining companion opts for the rump of lamb, braised shoulder, root veg gratin and celeriac purée. Again, an impressive dish. His only criticism being that the lamb was perhaps a bit on the fatty side. Both mains were hearty helpings, and we can see that this will appeal to diners who like to leave the table fully satiated. This is fine dining, but it’s also not overly fussy or intricate. It’s locally sourced produce, cooked well. I finished with poached pear, chocolate ganache and salted caramel brittle, the juicy pear cutting through the gloriously decadent chocolate, which was rich but not overbearing. On the other side of the table, a raspberry and pistachio parfait with Champagne and raspberry posset was devoured. All in all, we reckon The Ginger Peanut has got it going on. It straddles that line between pub and restaurant perfectly, and it’s got a warm, buzzy atmosphere. It’s reassuring to see it so busy on a cold late-February evening too, and we’re sure it’s only going to get more popular.
GIDLEIGH PARK THE BUILDING MAY BE CENTURIES OLD BUT THE MENU IS ANYTHING BUT, SAYS A HAPPY MELISSA STEWART
he approach to Gidleigh Park literally takes your breath away. Nestled on the side of hill, amidst the glorious tumbling awe of Dartmoor and on the upper reaches of the River Teign, it sits majestically like a proud old dame. If she could talk, we’re sure she’d have plenty of stories to tell, especially since she’s been around in one guise or another since the 16th century. Aside from her years of wisdom, you also know she’s a class act as soon as you step inside the door. Gidleigh Park is definitely a destination. It’s the kind of place you go for a special occasion – perhaps a loved one’s big birthday or an important anniversary. You’re made to feel special from the get go, as you’re ushered into an opulent lounge room, with a roaring fire and views out into the luscious gardens. A glass of Champagne is handed to us as we peruse the menu, followed by a selection of canapes, of which a Salcombe crab soup with apple is an absolute winner. At this point, we feel a little bit underdressed – wishing we’d taken a bit more time to spruce ourselves up for this high-class lunch date.
We’re here to sample the menu from the new exec chef, Chris Simpson, who recently took over the reins from Michael Wignall. It’s a tough act to follow, with Michael helping to retain the hotel’s two Michelin star status. However, Chris comes with pedigree of his own, having been head chef for the past seven years at Nathan Outlaw’s two Michelin star flagship restaurant in Port Isaac and, needless to say, he does not disappoint.
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We’re ushered into the dining room, a formal affair with starch white tablecloths and oak-panelled walls. At the time of writing, there were two lunch menus to choose from: an a la carte at £65 for three courses, and a special spring lunch menu (£49 for three courses and a glass of Champagne). As we’re in a place of splendour, I thought I’d be a little decadent myself, opting for a starter of squab. Tender, delicately pink, with not the slightest smear of grease, the flavourful young pigeon was perfectly complemented by a delicate froth of parsnip, and a bacon and onion dressing. Creamy scallops, across the table, served with apple, celeriac sauce and truffle, made for a fresh, sweet opener. Next, a meaty hunk of Cornish turbot, served with leeks and sprouting broccoli – a relatively simple dish which allowed the seasonal ingredients to do all the talking. The five-star flourish was added with a helping of rich, creamy caviar hollandaise. My dining partner opted for a succulent dish of salt chamber aged beef fillet, served with potato terrine and a silky cauliflower purée. Nosily spying the next table’s dessert, we thought we’d follow suit with a blood orange curd, served with shortbread and rhubarb. Fresh, fruity and just the right side of tangy, the sweet crumbly shortbread incisively cut through any lingering acidity. We finished, back where we started, with a coffee in the drawing room, next to a roaring fire. A chance for us to relax and savour the memories of the meal we’d just eaten, before pootling off back down the winding lane and to our reality, away from this fairytale venue. All in all, Gidleigh Park’s menu and the people who work there are just like the venue itself: first class. To be honest, with such high credentials we didn’t really expect anything else. Sure, this isn’t the type of place you’d go for a casual
lunch – this is fine dining at its best. Best saved for those special moments in life when you really want to make an impression or celebrate in style. Our only teeny tiny criticism was that the dining room lacked a wee bit of atmosphere, with guests whispering in hushed tones rather than fully relaxing into proceedings. Perhaps it was the grandeur of the venue, or the fact that it was lunchtime. But don’t let that put you off: the exquisite food more than makes up for it. gidleigh.co.uk
A F T E R S
( G R E AT P U B S )
THE NIGHT JAR INN NEW VILLAGE PUBS ARE A RARITY THESE DAYS, BUT THE NIGHT JAR INN HAS ALL THE INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS, OR SO RECKONS LAUREN HEATH
ubs are closing at a rate of knots these days, but in the small village of Aylesbeare, not only is there a reopened pub but it’s also got a topnotch kitchen, appealing to locals and visitors alike. Previously known as the Aylesbeare Inn, the old pub was so beyond repair that it had to be rebuilt by a local developer, giving it a new lease of life and creating a vital hub in the community. This place is run by Simon White and Julie Hall from the well-established Exeter catering company, Posh Nosh. Unlike the camouflaged bird that is this pub’s namesake, the exterior is bold, with its curved façade sweeping you in. And the interior is even more ‘Here I am!’ than it is wellhidden creature. A mix of canary yellow and deep sea blue walls are adorned with cattle skulls, animal hide rugs and bare wooden tables – it feels like you have just entered a modern Wild West saloon (all that’s missing are saloon doors at the entrance.) The upstairs restaurant has a much more intimate feel, with wooden floors, and lighting perfect for more intimate dinners but without the high-end stuffiness. The menu is a great mix of local fish, meat and vegetables, a lot of which is gathered from within 15 miles of the kitchen, including Greendale Farm Shop fish and meat. The offering includes comfort-inducing pub meals, as well as more gastronomic dishes we haven’t seen on other menus – this is quite refreshing, as the classics are great but sometimes you just want something a bit ballsy and different, too. Between the well balanced main menu and a few specials, a starter of Brixham crab with avocado, beetroot and brioche was chosen, with my dining partner opting for the velouté of Jerusalem artichoke and truffle. The crab was delicate and sweet with accents to enhance an already incredible Devon ingredient. The velouté, however, was the star on the table; my other half, a soup maestro himself, was blown away by one of his favourite ingredients – the humble Jerusalem artichoke. Incredibly full flavoured and well-seasoned, this nutty and knobbly, unattractive root vegetable was transformed like Cinderella for her ball (in this case, bowl), and it was like slurping on a silky yet fluffy cloud. I do love a bit of game, so for the main course pheasant, tortellini, chorizo, chilli, wild mushroom and spinach appealed, whilst the specials board presented another favourite dish for my dining partner, of pan fried Brixham skate, pearl barley risotto, lobster and Sauternes sauce. Delicious pheasant sat atop silky mushroom stuffed tortellini surrounded by fungi in a tantalising chorizo-flavoured sauce. The skate was absolutely spot on; meaty, soft flesh that melted away from its bones, supported by the textures of pearl barley, lobster and a superb sauce – again, all perfectly seasoned. The portions were generous, leaving us with little room for pudding; instead we opted for another drink and moved onto the comfy leather sofas in the corner to sit back and people watch across the pub. We saw couples, groups of friends, and even farmers turning up for their drinks after a hard day’s work. The ambience of this saloon-styled gastro pub is a welcoming one, able to cater for any city slicker or country bumpkin – and there’ll be no stand offs here, unless you’re fighting for a spot on the comfy sofa at the end of a satisfying meal!
NUMBER EIGHT A BIDEFORD BISTRO IS BREATHING SOME NEW LIFE INTO NORTH DEVON’S FOOD SCENE, RECKONS MELISSA STEWART
ow refreshing to see a young couple give a new lease of life to an old building, particularly when they’ve taken the plunge by moving to a new area and deciding to set up a restaurant. No mean feat in a difficult economic climate and a notoriously fickle industry. Number Eight in Bideford, North Devon, opened without much fanfare in December last year. Indeed, a quick Google search turns up very little about it, apart from a Facebook page with glowing reviews. We were tipped off about this venue on Twitter, and were keen to find out more. The proprietors are Chloe Wilks and Joshua Jones. She handles front of house, while he runs the kitchen. Having spent years working in restaurants for other people on the Cornish coast, they decided the time was right to make a go of it themselves – and, if our experience is anything to go by, they’ve certainly made the right decision. Situated in a quiet street, just off the quayside, the décor is minimalist, with grey floors, walls and black faux leather seats. Its starkness has the potential to make the place feel a bit cold – unwelcoming, even – but the atmosphere inside more than makes up for it. We roll up on a Saturday night and every table is full – a good sign in late-February, especially given that it’s only been open a couple of months. Chloe is warm, friendly and, even though she’s handling front of house all by herself (around 20 covers), expertly calm. The food is modern British with a European influence. There’s a set menu for dinner, priced £30 for two courses or £37 for three, with a choice of five starters and five mains. We begin with an amuse bouche of butternut squash soup and a delightfully warm rosemary muffin. It’s nothing flash
A F T E R S
but it hits the spot, perfectly concocted and a teaser for what’s to come. This sets me up for a confit duck leg, orange segments, radicchio, marmalade dressing and walnuts. This a pretty looking dish, decorated with edible flowers, that tastes pretty special too. The generous serving of meat is gamey yet tender, with a strong flavour offset by the sweetness of the marmalade and the peppery radiccio. Across the table, scallops come served atop a generous smear of ever-popular cauliflower purée, with a raisin and caper vinaigrette elevating the delicate mollusks. For main, I opt for pan-roasted hake, which is given a refreshing twist coming served with a chilli, fennel and tomato stew. The rich tomato sauce has that perfect duality of being sweet followed by a welcome afterkick of chilli to warm the mouth. A saffron aioli dolloped atop the fillet of hake has the potential to distract, but instead provides the ideal counterpoint to the warming stew. My dining partner opts for the duck breast, served with a parsnip purée, mini fondants, roast parsnips, buttered cabbage and blackberry sauce. There’s little to fault here, with the duck being the star of the show – once again, cooked perfectly and sliding off the fork. Dessert is a combination of favourite flavours: lemon and raspberry. It comes pleasingly presented in the form of a lemon posset with mini meringues, fresh raspberries, candied lemon and raspberry purée. Judging from the speed in which it left the plate, it’s safe to say it was extremely favourable to the palate. Meanwhile, the lure of softened blue cheese and truffled walnuts was too much for me, the sweet pungency of this combination providing the perfect ending to a delectable meal.
We leave buoyed by the excitement of some fresh young blood on the North Devon dining scene. With the area known best for its pub grub, it’s refreshing to have a new bistro in the locale, offering something rather different to the usual gourmet burger and triple cooked chips. We wish them all the best. numbereightrestaurant.com
L I T T L E
B L A C K
B O O K
OLi and TOM
THE DUO BEHIND EXETER’S EXPLODING BAKERY SHARE THEIR FAVOURITE DEVON HANGOUTS… BEST BREAKFAST? Tom: Jacka Bakery – I love to get down there early on a Saturday morning, pick up a freshly-made pastry or two, a flat white and a cracking sourdough loaf for later, then have a walk along the seafront up to Plymouth Hoe whilst munching on my treats. BEST BREW? Oli: For coffee, it’s got to be Camper Coffee at McCoys Arcade. Knowledgeable staff and laidback atmosphere, plus Devon-roasted Crankhouse is normally kicking around. FAVOURITE GROCERY SHOP? Oli: The Real Food Store has a great selection of local produce, including Shillingford Organics veg, Piper’s Farm meat and a zero packaging dispenser for pulses and grains. They also have a good range of natural cosmetics and cleaning products. BEST WINE MERCHANT? Tom: On a nice day, there’s nowhere better than Sharpham Vineyard. You can sit in the sun and take in the stunning views of the River Dart whilst sipping a crisp, chilled Bacchus and tucking into a cheeseboard. Then nip into the shop and grab some bottles to take home. BEST SUNDAY LUNCH? Tom: Riverford Field Kitchen is great for a Sunday lunch. They have a new chef, Patrick Hanna, who started one of my favourite restaurants in London, called L'Entrepot. QUICK PINT? Oli: The Iron Bridge, previously The North Bridge Inn, has been taken over by our chums at The Hour Glass. They currently have Wiper & True on tap. A super cosy boozer. CHEEKY COCKTAIL? Tom: Tiger Milk in the basement of the Duke of Cornwall Hotel is a great place to duck out of the sometimes questionable Plymouth nightlife and sink a few cheeky, quiet cocktails in a nice and relaxed speakeasy.
POSH NOSH? Oli: Posh food isn’t really my bag, but The Salutation Inn in Topsham does fine dining well. Lots of space between tables, a stonking wine list and lip-smacking food. FOOD ON THE GO? Tom: Rhubarb & Mustard, tucked just behind Hoe Park, serves the always good Yallah Coffee, but they specialise in hot sandwiches. There’s slow roast brisket, buttermilk chicken, pulled pork and lamb slovaki, to name just a few from the excellent menu. ALFRESCO DINING? Tom: Sitting on the waterfront at Plymouth’s Barbican, battling the pesky seagulls with some scoff from Harbourside Fish & Chips. Oh god, they’re good. HIDDEN GEM? Oli: Somboon Thai Shop. This place doesn’t even have a food menu – just huge pots of steaming stock which form the basis for the best noodle soup in town. ONE TO WATCH? Tom: The Leaping Salmon in Horrabridge is being renovated by two young guys called Max and Fred. They have big plans. It should be open by the summer. WITH FRIENDS? Oli: Tuckers Maltings. It’s a proper beer emporium. Need I say more? COMFORT FOOD? Tom: Chicken katsu burger at the Lord High Admiral in Plymouth. Get tucked into a table by the fire, crack open the Scrabble and chow down on some very comforting pub grub. WITH THE FAMILY? Oli: The Pig at Combe. The Folly offers a more casual dining experience, where they make simple flatbreads in a wood-fired oven. CHILD FRIENDLY? Oli: Baobab Café in Crediton. Lovely children’s play area, plus fresh salads and stews with a Middle Eastern influence, but made with Devon ingredients.
BEST CURRY? Oli: The Nepalese goat curry from Ghurkha Chef in Newton Abbot. The lamb dumplings are crazy good, too. BEST ATMOSPHERE? Tom: Flour & Rice in Totnes. It’s an Italian bakery by day, but transforms to a wonderful restaurant in the evening, serving simple, authentic Japanese food and sake rice wine. Things can get messy. explodingbakery.com
QUICK! Now add this little lot to your contact book... • Jacka Bakery, Plymouth PL1 2LE; facebook.com/JackaBakery • Camper Coffee, Exeter EX4 3AN; campercoffee.co • The Real Food Store, Exeter EX4 3SB; realfoodexeter.co.uk • Sharpham Vineyard, Totnes TQ9 7UT; sharpham.com • Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JU; fieldkitchen.riverford.co.uk • The Iron Bridge, Exeter EX4 3RG • The Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Plymouth PL1 3LG; tigermilkbars.com • The Salutation Inn, Topsham EX3 0HL; salutationtopsham.co.uk • Rhubarb & Mustard, Plymouth PL1 3LF; rhubarbmustard.com • Harbourside Fish & Chips, Plymouth PL1 2LE; barbicanfishandchips.co.uk • Somboon Thai Shop, Exeter EX4 6RT; facebook.com/somboonthaishop • The Leaping Salmon, Yelverton PL20 7TP; instagram.com/theleapingsalmon • Tuckers Maltings, Newton Abbot TQ12 4AA; themaltingstaphouse.co.uk • Lord High Admiral, Plymouth PL1 3PE; the-lha.co.uk • The Pig at Combe, Gittisham EX14 3AD; thepighotel.com/at-combe • Baobab Café, Crediton EX17 2AJ; facebook.com/baobabcafecrediton • Ghurka Chef, Newton Abbot TQ12 2EY; gurkhanewtonabbot.co.uk • Flour & Rice, Totnes TQ9 5EJ ; facebook.com/flourandrice
EXQUISITE KITCHEN DESIGN IN EXETER
Dekor Kitchens 3 The Venture Centre, Yeoford Way, Matford Park, Exeter EX2 8LP Phone 01392 824888 www.dekorkitchens.co.uk Formerly known as in-toto Kitchens Exeter
FUNCTION. ELEGANCE. HARMONY.