Café Review: Babbacombe Bay Café – by Lauren Heath

Babbacombe Bay Café

Imagine buying your dream cafe, and then lockdown hits – well the new owner of Babbacombe Bay Cafe, Michelle Sampson, has just lived through this. After securing the venue earlier this year she has had to wait until the right time to open due to lockdown and has just flung her doors open, raring to go – even if it is just as a takeaway for now.

With Head Chef Jordan Hatfield at her side (previously of Pier Point, Torquay), they aim to bring great local produce and tasty food to the Babbacombe area.

Serving hot drinks, frappés, milkshakes, ice cream, breakfasts, sandwiches, hot meals, and homemade cakes to takeaway, they are also open for dinner to takeaway Friday and Saturday evenings. Even though people can’t sit in and enjoy their food, they absolutely want to start as they mean to go on, giving people really tasty restaurant-style meals to take away so that when they can have guests dining in, they’ll come back thinking “if the takeaway is that good, imagine the full package”.

We were invited to pop in and try it for ourselves; chatting with them both, Jordan’s passion for really great food came across quite clearly matched with Michelle’s passion and previous hospitality experience, having succesfully run Torre Abbey Tearooms for 7 years.

The interior is lovely with bifold doors all the way along the front of the building, with views across the road to the Babbacombe Downs, sea views and endless horizon. This will be a gorgeous space when they are allowed to fill it with people but for now the spacious interior lends itself to comfortable social distancing and they have a one way system in place.

There are loads of options but I couldn’t resist the homemade salmon, chilli and lime fishcakes with salad, and my son opted for the bay burger with shredded gem, tomato, house dressing, brioche bun, chunky chips and pickles. They were happy to keep the burger simple in this instance for my son, and we upgraded the chips to cheesy!

Once our order was placed, we stepped outside onto the alfresco terrace and waited for our food and drink. I chose a coffee frappé and my son opted for a vanilla milkshake, made using delicious Salcombe ice cream.

Our food and drink arrived arrived swiftly, well packaged and we were provided with wooden cutlery as well. We meandered just across the road to the Babbacombe Downs, and found a nice spot to sit and enjoy our lunch. The Babbacombe Downs has the highest cliff top promenade in England, and on a clear day you can see right across to Portland Bill in Dorset!

The fishcakes were delicious – full of salmon with a high quality salad and pickled veg for some piquancy and a sour cream dip. The burger was absolutely delicious – juicy, meaty (from local Babbacombe butcher LG Palk), the brioche bun was deep and well structured and the chips were fantastic (in my opinion if a place has made the effort to do great chips or roast potatoes it tends to bode well for the rest of their offering).

We were so full from lunch, we nibbled the incredibly gorgeous chocolate brownie after visiting the spectacular Babbacombe Beach just down the road.

A truly wonderful spot to be in, in Torbay, and a lovely warm welcome with a tasty local food offering – be sure to pop in and support this independent business.

Babbacombe Bay Cafe, 33/35 Babbacombe Downs Rd, Babbacombe, Torquay TQ1 3LN

Open Sunday to Thursday 9:30am – 4:30pm, and 9am – 8pm Friday and Saturday

I was invited to try Babbacombe Bay Cafe in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect our opinion. Views expressed are independent of the business and has not been seen or approved before publication.

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