Can you believe that this time last year, they were just letting us out to spend time in groups of 6, and hospitality businesses were either closed or offering takeaways only? Alfresco April was incoming and so many businesses were diversifying constantly to keep going.
It’s not over yet; rules may have now been fully lifted all round and we’re enjoying the lighter evenings but there are still strains on our pockets and business’ bottom lines – tax is returning to 20% from a reduced 12% for hospitality businesses then there’s food, fuel and energy costs rising for them and us punters alike. Eating out may end up being even more of a luxury, but as always, if you do buy less but can buy better then please do – support your local businesses and economy. Sorry if that’s a bit doom and gloom, it’s not meant to be but just a message as always to be kind and understand we’re all under pressure, personally and in business.
That said there is so many wonderful food and drink innovation still happening, new openings, new products – plenty to be excited about! Here’s our round up of the last two months, and we look forward to our Easter break, brighter evenings and more Devon discoveries.
New Openings in Devon
Boston Tea Party, Torquay – Preview
If it’s Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Brinner… you can get to eat a very tasty Breakfast all day at The Boston Tea Party. Their newest venue in Torquay is opened its doors to the public on early February.
Ideal for walkers, shoppers, tourists & families, Boston Tea Party in Torquay has a stunning outlook over the clock tower & harbour. There’s plenty of seating on two levels & some outside seating too. Sue was #invited along got to visit for a sneak peek press preview, & taste of their all day Breakfast & Brunch menu.
Whether it’s a full West Country English you’re after, a bacon bap, scrambled eggs, burgers, their famous Boston Beans, toasties, waffles or granola, there’s a fantastic choice of dishes for hungry diners or light eaters including lots of veggie & vegan options too. Sue enjoyed the West Country Breakfast which was delicious & her friend tucked into the Veggie Breakfast with a side of halloumi which was really tasty.
Easy to order at your table via an app & super quick service by the friendly staff. Plenty of hot & cold drinks to choose from to wash it all down.
It’s a super addition to their venues here in the Westcountry, serving delicious food made with great ingredients, excellent quality and great value.
Wabi Sabi Bay, Exeter Quay – Launch
Building on their success with their Paignton restaurant, Wabi Sabi Bay has reached Exeter and found a home next door to Puerto Lounge on the quayside. We were #invited along to help them celebrate with a bit of a party with music, food and merry making.
Wabi Sabi Bay brings Asian fusion cuisine to Exeter. Street food favourites, dumplings, ramen and their signature bao buns were in plentiful supply. Our favourite nom of the night was the Chicken Katsu followed closely by the buns (of course).
Situated on the riverside, there is an outside eating area where diners can enjoy chilled vibes and views across the water, this will be a perfect summer spot with refreshing cocktails or a cool can of Asahi beer.
Samphire21, Exmouth – Launch
The new restaurant from chef Peter Mundy – Samphire21 is based in the 300 year old Manor Hotel in Exmouth, just set back from the seafront, elevated on The Beacon.
Following on from his success as a wedding and events caterer, he went on to open Peter Mundy at The Ginger Peanut in Bampton, Devon in 2017 which won Best Newcomer of the Year in 2018
We were #invited to the launch at the beginning of March, and enjoyed some nibbles and drinks. We loved the comfortable restaurant area, with warm blue walls, high ceilings and colourful art and greenery. There is also the Hat and Lemon bar where you can relax with a cocktail and more.
Peter is now delighted to be leading a team at Samphire21 which will combine the best of all his expertise and knowledge in the industry and using great local produce. With breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner on offer, there’s plenty of opportunity to visit for your favourite meal of the day.
Eating Out in Devon
In February, with a pang for sushi and Japanese food in general, Lauren and her family decided on Exeter’s Steaks N Sushi Japanese Restaurant… and boy were they delighted with that decision!
With a large and varied menu, they struggled for a bit to choose, but between them they enjoyed:
- Mix seafood tempura – tempura battered scallops, prawns, white fish and more
- Mix seafood soup – delightful miso soup with seafood in
- Wasabi chips – homemade chips with wasabi sauce and radish
- Grilled squid in teriyaki sauce – Can’t begin to describe the deliciousness of this, we’re still dreaming of it now. Super tender, with bonito flakes on, it was just exceptional
- Deep fried chicken with Japanese curry – generous crispy chicken and sticky rice and bloody delicious curry sauce (they offer you a spice level to choose as well)
- 8 pieces each of tuna and salmon Hosomaki sushi (seaweed on outside) – fresh and yummy, you can choose if you want your fish seared or not
- 2 skewers of tuna Kushiyaki (lightly battered tuna steak) – incredibly moreish and tender meaty tuna morsels
- Korean fried chicken wings
They had a wonderful time sharing our food, and would certainly like to return to try lots of the other options plus revisit that squid and tuna! There are also some good value set menus available.
This family owned business is well worth a visit, Lauren experienced very good service on a comfortably-busy Monday night, it is situated at the back of the Guildhall area on North Street, Exeter.
We urge you to seek out and find… The Lost Kitchen
Lauren knew her final destination, having stalked their socials…just a few miles north of Tiverton; but on arrival she was lost in the bosom of what is The Lost Kitchen.
As she arrived and looked up towards the restored Linhay and former cider barns, the smell of wood smoke in the air lured her towards the door. On entering, the volume of this understated venue really opened up – the sun poured in thanks to the floor to ceiling windows, highlighting the earthy locally sourced interiors and it sang with the buzz of happy diners…it felt good, she had found her foodie everest!
With an exciting, almost-impossible-to-choose-from menu we settled on a mix of small and large plates:
- Wood roast rosemary polenta chips with garlicky lebanese toum
- Turkish Pide flatbread with spiced lamb and pickled red onion
- Carni pizza topped with serrano ham, chorizo, nduja, chilli oil & parmesan
- Crab gratin, marscapone, pangrettato
- Thyme butter roast cauliflower steak, beetroot puree, walnut and caper salsa
- Their own craft sourdough cacao husk IPA on draft
- Hooty Owl Somerset Cider
- Sea arch coastal alcohol free spirit with Luscombe elderflower tonic
With a mix of meat, fish, veggie, vegan and gf plus an array of South West alcohol and soft drinks we’re certain there’s something for everyone. This goes for tables too! Round ones, square ones, window counters with stools, patio seating, a wooden booth under a mezzanine and 10ft long trunk tables for your whole gang! Pop in for just coffee and cake, a few nibbles or as much as your foodie heart desires.
With wood fired brunch, lunch and late afternoon pizza offerings all using homemade or SW produce, we dined at 2:30pm and noted the ebb and flow of tummies being filled with joy almost never stopped so I recommend you book!
With the recent beautiful weather, Lauren thought it was perfect for ice cream… (ok to be fair any day is an ice cream day in our opinion…)
Sue has been before but Lauren finally made it to Otter Valley for a treat! They enjoyed a fluffy homemade waffle with sea buckthorn ice cream and the chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel ice cream & brownie sundae!
A beautiful spacious barn building with floor to ceiling windows overlooking fields, you can enjoy the airy interior or a table outside with furry friends on a lead and a bit of room for little ones to stretch their legs. They have a breakfast menu, lunch menu consisting of their handmade fired pizzas, light bites plus cakes, desserts and some lunch specials!
You can eat in or take away and all the ice cream is made by them…which flavour would you choose? The car park is spacious and very close to the building with steps or a ramp for access.
Lauren visited Al-Farid on Exeter’s Cathedral Green for Exeter Living Magazine, the full write up and her images can be viewed here.
Sue recently asked co-owner Sarah of alcohol free spirit company, Sea Arch Drinks, some questions to find out more about this award winning drinks business. Find our more here.
Don’t just get your normal caffeine fix, wake up to ethical eco conscious coffee. We tried a few recently from this Devon business, and enjoyed their delicate flavours and they have a decaf option too!
Their multi-award-winning speciality coffees help you create wonderful barista-quality coffee without the guilt, whether you enjoy their plastic free Nespresso® pods or their bean & ground coffees in compostable pouches.
Lauren is a huge fan of Thunderflower Gin, but there’s a new naughty kid on the block… their Negroni! Having tried negronis in restaurants and found it a bit harsh, this pre-mixed, high quality option is much smoother but still with quite the flavour punch.
We’re big fans of Exeter based Powderkeg Brewery and their great beers and funky branding; lately when dining out we’ve opted for their award winning Green Light Quarter IPA 1.2% low alcohol beer. Don’t be fooled by ‘low alcohol’ potentially meaning less taste, this beer is cracking in flavour so is perfect for a lunch time drink with food or anytime really – it’s vegan friendly and gluten free too! They say “Exceptional low-alcohol IPA bursting with a tropical double dry-hop” and we couldn’t agree more.
Back in Autumn last year Claire Hyne, from Papillon Dartmoor Distillery, contacted all the gin distilleries she could find in Devon to see if they would be interested in collaborating together on a project to showcase the gins produced in Devon through a leaflet guide. 16 distilleries have come onboard covering the varied landscapes of the county; from the wild rugged northern coast to the sandy bays of the south coast, as well as the tors and moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor and the farms of mid Devon.
The idea and curation of the Devon Gin Guide is down to Claire and it has been designed by Studio de Ville. Both based in Moretonhampstead on Dartmoor. It will be printed by Ashley House in Exeter so it is truly a Devon creation.
The leaflet will be distributed by each distillery to pubs, hotels, shops, TICs and visitor centres in their area. The leaflet will be free for everyone to enjoy. It will be available in April.
To launch the leaflet, Claire will be personally delivering the leaflets to each distillery by sustainable transport – bike. Her journey will take her from the very north of the county to the south with all the hills in-between! You will be able to follow her journey and the progression of the Devon Gin Guide on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @devonginguide
The participating distilleries are: Thunderflower, Barbican Botanics, Gotland, Exeter Gin, Sidmouth, Atlantic Spirit, Exeter Distillery, Torbay, Deckchair, Fossil Coast, Wicked Wolf, Torquay Coastal, Devon Distillery, Black Dog, Shag Rock and, of course, Papillon.
Please get in touch with Claire on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information.
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. 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.