Brunch Review: The Kitchen, Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, East Devon – by Lauren Heath

The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, situated on the edge of Sidmouth, may well be a haven for donkeys, but in addition, it is also a haven for us humans, our little people as well as man’s best friend (it is dog friendly throughout).

A free to visit venue, perched above the Jurassic Coast, it has grown and changed gradually over the years, with its most notable improvement being the fantastically large cafe restaurant – The Kitchen.

The donkey sanctuary sign with sun rise

With full frontal glass, giving views out the green fields and sea beyond, it is spacious with plenty of room between tables for prams, wheelchairs, the kiddies and the earlier mentioned well behaved furry friends and is accessibility friendly.

As a Taste of the West member, a very high percentage of produce is local, and with evidently such tasty fayre, they were awarded Gold earlier this year too.

The sidmouth donkey sanctuary local produce map

So on the launch of their new Sunday Brunch menu, they kindly invited us along to try it out. During the week (9am – 10:45) breakfast offers a full english for most preferences (meat, veggie, vegan) with lunch seeing you through the latter part of the morning to mid afternoon 11:30am – 3pm) but on Sunday’s the new brunch menu will be served from 9am until 3pm, with the lunch menu running alongside this (12 – 3pm). There are plenty of lovely cakes on the counter for those with a sweet tooth during their visit.

So on a beautifully sunny yet crisp Sunday, we warmed our cockles with a flat white, a wicked white chocolate with all the trimmings, plus a kale, mango, banana and lemongrass. The hot drinks were top quality and as delicious as expected and the smoothie was really a delight – very well balanced, with no crunchy kale bits distracting you.

sidmouth donkey sanctuary cafe kitchen drinks

So… what did we munch for brunch?….

American pancake stack topped with honey and thyme roasted figs, toasted walnuts and honey drizzle

sidmouth donkey sanctuary cafe kitchen brunch pancakes

We opted for a side of bacon to offset the sweetness of this stack of 3 fluffy pancakes loaded with fresh and sticky figs – this was quite a sweet treat, and adding the bacon was a good idea (the bacon is pretty epic I must say)

Spiced smoky beans, toasted sourdough, smashed avocado, Twineham Grange cheese, grated fresh chili and soya yoghurt.

sidmouth donkey sanctuary cafe kitchen brunch beans

I did enjoy this dish, but I think as as brunch item it needs a bit of work – it was a bit too much like a casserole (interestingly it was vegan and I didn’t even notice, and I’m very carnivorous). It was certainly very generous but it was a mix of black eyed beans, kidney beans and so on, with big chunks of celery – I imagined a more smoky refried bean type of dish. The avocado, cheese and sourdough toast were lovely though but I do think this is more of a dinner dish. What I did do was steal my son’s homemade ketchup and add this to the dish, and the robust, picante flavour really boosted the dish overall.

English Breakfast Sandwich

sidmouth donkey sanctuary cafe kitchen brunch breakfast

This was on the specials board and I think they should keep it. It was described as an open sandwich but really it was a full English. It was absolutely delightful! You can really taste the high quality and fresh, local produce on this plate and it was all cooked perfectly and plated with care. I will repeat – the bacon is epic, and the homemade ketchup should be bottled and sold, it was so full of flavour.

Other brunch options include French toast, and BLT, and eggs florentine with some items being gluten free as well.

Overall the offering is of a very high quality, good value and in a bright, spacious and comfortable environment. A tweak of the bean dish (in my opinion), and maybe a few more child-sized portions or options could be added but then I guess the idea of a good condensed menu is to keep it slick so service can be efficient and quality kept high, without increased food waste.

I’d highly recommend The Kitchen for a place to convene with friends and family alike for any occasion, and then head out into the sanctuary and work that brunch belly off! We were already regular visitors to the sanctuary, and are now reminded to make a visit to the cafe, as part of our weekends out, more often.

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, Slade House Farm, Sidmouth EX10 0NU

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sidmouth donkey sanctuary cafe kitchen brunch table

The meals provided in this review was gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.