Casual Dining

VitaminSea by Salty Dog Devon, Cullompton – by Lauren Heath


Down the boutique high street that is Fore Street, Cullompton, a new food offering has docked!

#VitaminSea by Salty Dog Devon is a café by day and a dinner pop up by night. Run by Cales who, after travelling in San Franscisco and chowing down on clam chowder, found a passion for tasty, full bodied seafood fayre.

Her page says “Fresh from the south west.’ Cales is a passionate foodie inspired by her travels. #vitaminsea showcase sustainable produce; from bar snacks to pop-up events.”

She started out in 2017 catering at events with her renovated sea blue horsebox, and has since dived right into getting a premises to extend her offering. The café will offer packed lunches, cakes, coffee by Exe Coffee Roasters and then on the weekends she is planning to enliven the tastebuds of diners at her pop up dinners. Her horsebox and catering is still available to hire as well, along with grown up picnic boxes for events or parties.

One week into her café shop capers, we joined Cales for her pop up dinner launch and to christen the new café/shop officially. Having tasted some of her event catering offerings with my hubby over at The Lost Chef I was looking forward to what was on offer – sceptical at the same time as this new fish on the block hasn’t got a well established history in Devon but hey she certainly has gumption and ideas!

Her brightly coloured, and perfectly formed café come dining room is filled with seaside trinkets as you might expect but then, cleverly, the less favourable shop railing on the walls has been painted like beach huts in sunny colours.

Salcombe Gin and Barnaby’s Brewhouse joined in the fun serving us cocktails and locally brewed organic beers. With some acoustic music from a talented pairing of John Briddick and Sophie Myers, we settled in for a fishy feast.

So a 7 course menu? Oh yes…

Mackerel Pate – smooth, full flavoured yet not over fishy. No image for this one, I ate it rather swiftly!

Scallops with Orange and Fennel Salad, Celeriac Puree – tender cooked scallops, on a bed of the smoothest puree, along with the light tang and crunchy texture of the fennel really worked.

Cured Trout with Pickled Beetroot, Pomegranate Molasses, Scotch Quails Egg – another great texture combination, and flavours.

Mussels with Gin & Capers – this was a corker, a full bodied creamy chowder containing sweet mussel, delish!

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Tuna Tartare & Pickled Cucumber – delicate yet meaty tuna caressed in herbage on the huge crunchy cracker.

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Swiss Cheese Fondue with Kirsch & Truffle Shavings – this sharing dish was unbelievable! Silky stretchy cheese, with an earthy tone and as you got deeper the ‘kapow’ of the kirsch filled your mouth like a flavour bomb. This was just so good!!

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Plum & Dark Cherry Frangipane with Devon Clotted Cream – a delightful end to this fishy feast, a light and slightly sweet frangipane was a perfect treat.

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What can I say? I was really pleasantly surprised at the flavours and techniques here. Nothing overly fancy yet not simple either, certainly different to other eateries – Cales has cleverly created a well balanced menu, covering all bases including sweet and sour, and both unctuous and light.

Do grab a few friends and book for an evening of full bodied seafood delights, or book the lovely horsebox for your next event, where Cales can bring her seafood morsels to your friends, business or wedding.

We really do wish her the best of luck on her voyage!

Example weekend menu:

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Find #Vitaminsea:

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38 Fore Street, Cullompton, EX15 1LF

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