January highlights – fishtastic feasts, Sunday roast, alcohol free spirit and Vietnamese hugs in a bowl

The looongest month of the year has come to an end; with a rather damp end to 2021, at least the last few weeks have blessed us with dry days and many a sunrise and sunset! With the C word still lurking, businesses are still working hard to make their customers feel comfortable enough to go out, visit them, eat in or takeaway. Don’t forget that many wonderful Devon businesses still deliver too, so you can get your dose of Devon food and drink without leaving the house if you need.

This month, we’ve stayed pretty local to our base of Exeter (the price of petrol is not helping us adventurous lot!) however we have still feasted on fish, sunk our teeth into Sunday roast, drunk distilled spirit without, well … getting drunk, and not pho-getting a warm hug in a bowl and more at Pho. And February… we’re ready for you!

Rockfish Seafood at Home delivery

At the beginning of January, Rockfish launched their new Seafood at Home delivery service and #gifted a box to Lauren – the local daily catch is landed at Brixham, processed yards away in Rockfish’s warehouse where they cut it into customer ready portions and send it on it’s way – from coast to your kitchen in 24 hours. You can choose from the additional in house sauces and flavoured butters and their preserved tinned fish.

With sustainable packaging which can be returned to them at no cost to you, a lovely informative booklet and a live online market so you choose the freshest catch, it’s fin-tastic.

You can read the full review and find out what we cooked here: Seafood at Home delivery from Rockfish and view our Instagram reel here.

The Botanist, Exeter

Sue was #invited to try out the Sunday Roast at The Botanist, Exeter. Now she is usually firing up her BBQ on the weekend to cook her own joint of meat but she said it was such a treat to take the train into the city for what is called ‘The Great Sunday Roast’ – which it was!

The Botanist is located in the Guildhall Queen Street Dining Quarter. There’s plenty of seating, great décor and the staff are very friendly.

Traditional meat choices on the menu of lamb, beef, chicken and pork which are served with crispy roast potatoes, a Yorkshire Pudding, maple glazed carrots, greens and gravy.  There is also a vegetarian option of a celeriac, mushroom and pearl barley wellington which sounds very tasty too.  Sides of cauliflower cheese, creamed cabbage, pigs in blankets and stuffing balls also available as extras but beware, arrive hungry if you want to fill your plate and your belly with these. 

She can recommend the cauliflower cheese which was super creamy and had a lovely crunchy breadcrumb topping.  Sue had the roast chicken and her husband had the beef – both full plates of delicious hot food. If you have room, then you might like a dessert. They dived into the Cookie Dough and Winter Berry Cheesecake – both scrumptious and plates were scraped clean. There was a great choice of cocktails, mocktails, wines and soft drinks too.  A great place for families and friends with children’s menu also available.


Pho, Exeter

One of Chris’ favourite Exeter restaurants is Pho in Exeter’s Queen Street dining quarter – he’d not been since the pandemic nearly two years ago. But a couple of weeks ago he got a chance to return when he was #invited to see what’s new and check out some of their specials.

Pho has revamped some of their dishes, there are many of the classic favourites, but they have the Cà-ri Soup which comes in chicken, prawn or beef. Given the chill in the air it is perfect Pho weather.

A new item permanent item to the menu is the Pride Punch which has a good splash of rum, a lovely coconutti-ness resounds through each swig. For starters Starters they had Morning Glory (Stir fried vietnamese water spinach in garlic) and our favourite, Pork & Lemongrass meatballs with peanut sauce and a wrappy leaf.

There are many ways to eat this, but generally you wrap it and dip. Mains was the Curry Noodle soup, chicken and beef were both good choices! They loved the huge side of veggies that you can use to adorn your soup with.

They had Chicken and Beef Curry Noodle Soup, these were on specials for January and were a perfect blend of their Pho and their flavourful, spicy curry which we both love. After we finished we tried to fit in dessert but it was a no go. However we were able to squeeze in a scoop of condensed milk ice-cream as a sample. It is ice-cream on a whole new level.

Sea Arch Alcohol Free Distilled Spirit

Sue was recently #gifted a lovely bottle of Sea Arch  – a non alcoholic distilled spirit along with some RTD – Ready To Drink cans. 

Sea Arch is made in Devon and as well as writing about venues, we also love trying out some of the fantastic bounty of products that this wonderful county produces.  Sea Arch is made using traditional distillation techniques and is bursting with seaside botanicals.  The flavours are extracted and then the alcohol is gently removed #morebeautifulwithout.  Sea Arch is sugar free, zero calories, sweetener free, allergen free and also vegan friendly.  So if you are going for a dry January, Veganuary, or you just wish to drink a healthy refreshing drink any time of the year, then a Sea & T, cocktail or a ready to drink can is a wonderful alternative for Gin lovers.

Sue took her bottle of Sea Arch to Budleigh Beach to get the full experience and enjoyed a delicious Sea & T – 50ml measure of Sea Arch, a good squeeze of lime, tonic water and garnish with fresh lime slices.  Delicious.

We ask Sarah and Geoff, founders of Sea Arch a few questions about how they came to produce Sea Arch and Sue also rustles up some more refreshing cocktails. Keep your eyes open for her posts next month to see where she gets to enjoy these lovely healthy drinks. 

Sea Arch distilled spirits are calorie free, vegan friendly, sugar and sweetner free and allergen free, so accessible to almost anyone (if not, everyone)!

Rockfish 2 courses for £20

Rockfish want to lift the mood for the New Year with their latest pocket-friendly deal – a 2 course menu for £20.

Available in all venues and following an #invite, Lauren and her son ventured out to the Exmouth branch. They sat cozily in their enclosed terrace, fire going, spanish salsa-esque music livening up the background, it was like being abroad… EXCEPT – they were eating delicious British fish and shellfish!

Available throughout January and February. Consisting of mains and dessert options, the mains are available with Rockfish’s signature unlimited chips, which Lauren’s son put to the test!

The lemon sole was delicate and beautiful and the mussels plump with sauce for soaking chips in or for slurping. The pud was a naughty sweet treat to round the meal off… Book now!

(not our usual bright pics, but the lighting was looow… ) *note the fish option does not include all the catches that day so ask your server*

More information and the fixed price menu can be found here and you can check out our Instagram reel here.

Valentines Day

Looking ahead to February and Valentine’s Day, to can find out about venues with special menus over V-day weekend, take a look at our Instagram highlight (as per below image), it includes venues such as Coombe Cellars, Salutation Inn, Potters Bude, Rockfish, White Hart Inn Modbury and more, as well as gifts from Flapjackery, Pretty Little Pastries.

Wishing you a happy, healthy food and drink filled February! See you next month….

2022 © Disclosure – all images, unless otherwise stated are copyright of Dining Devon. For some of our visits we are #invited or products are #gifted, and are noted as such and are considered an AD. This means we have been given something complimentary in exchange for our views in the hope of us sharing on our socials. This does not affect our opinions which are not seen or pre approved by venues before we publish or share our experiences.

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