Wow, April has come and gone and what a difference a year makes! We’ve decided to do more of a highlights/newsletter style blog post rather than a blog fully focussed on one visit or event – we hope you enjoy it.
We enjoy so many Devon food and drink outings and products at home, which we share on our Insta stories, Facebook posts, Twitter feed etc, but they disappear quickly or get consumed amongst the many shares and words out there, so this way we can highlight a great cup of coffee, a new find, a tasty ingredient and so on, all in one place so you don’t miss out – a monthly musing for you to consume quickly with a cuppa in hand.
So let’s begin….
Restaurant Food at Home
Circa has been an Exeter institution for around 6 years now, and over the last year has pivoted during lockdown to become a farm shop and deli in their airy, apex beamed first floor. Hugely passionate about local, high quality produce they have been selling cooking essentials, treats, eco-friendly home and leisure products, hampers, as well as producing their dinner kits for customers to finish off at home and enjoy a bit of Circa magic whilst the restaurant has been unable to welcome guests.
Last summer, we were delighted to road test their restaurant-food-at-home offering which was #gifted to us; Chris got out his best food weapons (steak knives) and plunged into the Blowout Steak Box, and Lauren fell weak at the knees when trying their Meat Meal Kit – you can read the review here.
This month, we collaborated with Circa again on helping to raise awareness of their continued offering, with some more #gifted meal kits.
Chris had a turn to enjoy the meat sharing box which contained:
- Pork Rillettes & Pickles
- Slow Roasted Dartmoor Lamb Shank with confit duck fat roasted potato terrine, curly kale with smoked butter, ramson salsa verde and wild garlic
- Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream
Lauren had the pleasure of diving into the fish sharing box, pictured below, which contained:
- Crab bisque with sourdough loaf and black garlic butter
- Whole Dover Sole served with foraged sea herbs, jersey royals and kale
- Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream
EPIC! Bookings are now open for their 7 course taster menu in the restaurant – more info can be found here and their ever changing meal kit boxes can be ordered any day of the week as long as you give 24 hours notice – perfect for special occasions, a night off cooking or for those who are not quite ready to venture out for dining.
We had a sneak peek around Winslade Manor, Exeter which has now opened it’s terrace. With head chef Matt Mason at the helm (formerly of Jack in the Green), who has joined the new Vida Spaces team after 28 years at the East Devon gastropub.
The operations company Vida, which means life, is behind Exeter’s newest dining and wellbeing experience at Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary, and is headed up by co-founders, Joe Hammond (formerly of Woodbury Park Hotel, Golf & Country Club) and Tom Johnson (former England and Exeter Chief professional rugby player) with the support of Mark Edworthy and Paul Scantlebury of Burrington Estates.
Winslade Manor has undergone a dramatic transformation with no expense spared on its restoration, decor, and offering. We look forward to enjoying the full experience of the indoor offering when allowed but they are currently serving their terrace menu and pizzas, overlooking the lawns if you can’t wait until then.
Sue and Chris were ecstatic to attend a pre-opening #PressEvent at Café Patisserie Glacerie on the 12th April, which flung open its doors to the public on the 13th April. This venture is a collaboration of Michael Caines MBE and Sylvain Peltier who have worked together for over 15 years and are offering 16 flavours of gelato and variety of delectable patisseries all made on the premises, with the venue enjoying stunning seafront views of Exmouth seafront.
Chris enjoyed it so much, he has already been back for more!
Michael Caines restaurant within the same eco-conscious building, Mickeys Beach, will be opening 17th May subject to the roadmap and is already accepting bookings – with the first soft launch week already selling out, so get booking if you want a table for latter part of May and especially June half term.
Sue checked out the new eatery the Green Table Deli at the Shops @Dartington, just next door to the newly located food shop. She recommends the smoked brisket bagel with pickles as well as the gravlax. A good stop off point to meet up with family and friends, pop into the shops which are now back open, with some lovely walks up to the Main Hall or along the river into Totnes.
The 12th April came, and with great excitement many hospitality businesses flung open their garden gates for us hungry and thirsty punters – Lauren hurried straight to her local, The Bridge Inn, on the edge of Topsham. Our Alfresco April round up has had a huge amount of hits which has been great! As we continue to munch our way into May (still outdoors until the 17th), maybe you want a day out with the kids to tie in with an alfresco visit? Then check out our friends at Devon with Kids and their “Things to do in Devon in May” blog post and keep the whole family happy!
Sue’s been enjoying the sunny weather, firing up the bbq and dabbling into the world of Hot Smoking. She was kindly #gifted a hot smoking kit from Devon-based Hot Smoked and cured and hot smoked salmon and trout and also hot smoked duck breasts. It would make a great gift for any keen bbq’er.
Foraging – Wild Garlic season
Wild garlic season runs from late March for approximately three months, and Lauren headed out as soon as she could with restrictions lifting to get a haul. She has made two batches wild garlic pesto using sunflower seeds (recipe by The Slimming Foodie here) – she adds a bit more oil every few days to her fresh batch in the fridge to keep it moist and freezes the rest. She has frozen the remainder of the leaves as well as pickled the buds to enjoy on salads.
Sue also headed out to gather the green stuff, she loves to make wild garlic pesto using toasted hazelnuts, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese. She also made wild garlic butter and wild garlic salt which should hopefully keep her going for a while!
We’ve heard about the donuts coming out of The Curious Kitchen, Brixham and finally found ourselves nearby so popped in. Sadly as it was mid afternoon, they had already been hammered but we still got one! They had loads of amazing cakes too though, and of course great coffee. They are also well known for brunches, but we’ll have to wait until hospitality opens up full for a visit.
Dr Inks Curiosities are based in a beautiful Customs House on Exeter Quay but unfortunately, with one enticing door in and out plus limited fresh air (sounds odd we know but think historical, dark, intimate space), it is not a venue suitable for covid times.
So like many businesses, they pivoted their offering and created Stir Crazy Drinks. They have been running regular virtual cocktail events for the public over the last year, sending themed cocktail kits to customers homes, where they join in with the live masterclass on a Saturday evening. They have also been providing corporate packages as and when businesses decide to indulge in a team drink over video call. Lauren has tried two of these now with her work colleagues, with the latest one a post-Easter team treat and they have been fantastic, and the usual high quality, well researched ingredients and delicious concoctions that Dr Inks Curiosities prides itself on.
We all shop locally where we can, but Sue still likes to get deliveries to her home; a box of fresh fruit and vegetables from the lovely people at Veg in a Box is like opening a surprise box of treats!
The Devon-based BBQ and outdoor cooking legend and author that is Marcus Bawdon, has released his 2nd cook book called Skewered. We’ve known him for a long time; he is the nicest guy and a legend amongst outdoor cooks across the country and even further across the world, passionate about helping others discover the wonder of cooking food over fire, year round. He has held his UK BBQ school from home, but it now currently being built next to Fordmore Farm Shop so he can teach more people and share the BBQ love even more.
Sue caught up with him recently to get her copy signed and is ecstatic that one of her recipes has been printed in the book too! If you’re looking to up your BBQ, smoking, outdoor cooking game, be sure to follow Marcus on his many channels and supportive groups, and also follow Sue‘s instagram for inspiration too as she is our fire queen and even bakes outdoors!
That’s it, what a busy April, we look forward to munching our way through May, and being allowed inside a restaurant. Be sure to tag us on any of your Devon food, drink and staycation adventures so we too can be inspired but also share with our followers.
2021 (C) Disclosure – all images, unless otherwise stated are copyright of Dining Devon. Some of our visits or products are #gifted and are noted as such, but do not affect our opinions and are not influenced or seen by venues before we publish or share our experiences.