Many folk have whispered foodie musings at us about what goes on in Totnes. Local food, an award winning farmers market, eclectic home and interiors shops it’s no wander we have been privvy to a rumour – oh wait… it isn’t just a rumour, it exists!
Amongst the hustle and bustle of this flourishing foodie town is independently owned Rumour Wine Bar and Restaurant; positioned up the top of the hill, their website imparts some knowledge on it’s name and history – Rumour has been known by many names over the years; most recently named after the 1986 Fleetwood Mac album. Housed in a 14th Century building – previously playing host to a toffee factory and a jazz bar – it has spent the better part of the last century as a restaurant, gaining popularity and recognition from locals and visitors alike.
It looks unique and inviting from the outside, and even more so inside – warm wood tones from the tables, calming blue walls along with a hint of life from the indoor plants. With plenty of room for diners, there’s a front area, raised area opposite the bar or you can be tucked away near the back and be nosey towards the large kitchen hatch.
The menu, on both paper and blackboards was really exciting; nothing sounded ordinary, average or 100% the norm – you could taste the flavour combinations as they described their offer so I felt we were in for a treat. We noticed that quite a few dishes were gluten free or vegetarian too.
Rumour’s concept includes snacks, small and large plates, wood fired pizzas, and main courses cooked over wood in their Bertha oven. A perfect meeting spot for lunch (which is when we visited), the wealth of great drink options makes this an even better spot for dinner; I can imagine a great intimate warmth of an evening when the lights are lowered. We selected a mixture of dishes to really get a feel for their offering
Incredibly tender grilled baby squid lay on a bed of spicy green harissa, accompanied by zingy, fresh, soft giant cous cous. This dish was a flavour and texture triumph.
The pizza special of sobrasada (a raw, cured sausage from the Balearic Islands made with ground pork & paprika), potato, mozarella, duck egg and rosemary had a lovely crispy base and a good amount of toppings. I do love a great homemade pizza. Sadly they missed off my duck egg, which I realised half way through, so they quickly brought one over to me to put on my pizza. Also there was no hint of rosemary at all, but a complimentary flurry of fresh basil on the top. It could have done with the rosemary really as the earthiness of it would have really complimented the sausage and potatoes, enhancing the overall dish.
A snack of crispy fried sprats, malt vinegar, tartare sauce – plump breaded fishies were served with a well sized dollop of tartare sauce; the sprats were incredibly fresh, well cooked and the tartare sauce was delightful.
Main dish of Rumour burger with American mustard, onion ketchup, gherkins with fires and salad. For an extra oomph we went for the cheese and bacon extra topping. The burger was cooked very nicely, a good meaty burger that actually was allowed to sing rather than be smothered in extreme toppings like a lot of places are doing at the moment. The onion ketchup had an incredible flavour, almost soy-sauce-like – a great umami flavour. The salad was a bit of a lack lustre item which I think could have a rethink or just take it off.
Snack of halloumi fries with chipotle mayo – perfectly done, the satisfying salty taste of halloumi with a kick of spice form the mayo.
The sourdough bread with miso butter (not pictured) was incredibly delicious and clearly homemade and the miso butter was also an incredible umami hit – this dish was worth munching on all by itself.
Lunch had a great vibe, plenty of people coming in off the high street. The warm tones and wooden tables gave the interior a cosy and cool vibe. I can imagine hiding in here of an evening with a great bottle of wine, good company and their charcoal grill menu. Even with the few glitches, the food here is flavoursome and vibrant, and I would certainly go back for more.
Rumour Restaurant and Wine Bar, Totnes
*This was a hosted review: the opinions expressed were not influenced by the restaurant.