CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

The Curious Kitchen: Brixham-based cafe delights with its difference

PUBLISHED: 12:10 26 September 2017

The Curious Kitchen, Brixham

The Curious Kitchen, Brixham

Archant

Katherine Elliott visits the South Devon café keeping cream teas off the menu

Sat opposite me in Brixham’s trendy new café, The Curious Kitchen, is a jolly, rosy cheeked man in a grey T-shirt and black apron talking animatedly about great coffee, great little cakes, local meat and potatoes…so far, so chef. But with tattoos boldly adorning both arms, knuckles and neck Ash Hamilton, head chef of Brixham’s popular new eatery, is anything but conventional and has an attitude, and menu, to suit.

“I look around the local area and if I see someone else is doing something I deliberately won’t do that,” he explains. “I want to constantly surprise people, make them inquisitive and gain their interest.”

The Curious Kitchen, BrixhamThe Curious Kitchen, Brixham

The Curious Kitchen opened in Brixham’s Middle Street last year with a desire to be bold, daring and adventurous. “I wanted to offer my friends something interesting, and different to eat,” explains Ash.

“There was nowhere in Brixham that we really wanted to go so we thought, why don’t we make somewhere?”

One year on and Brixham’s now, I think it’s safe to say, ‘hippest’ eatery prides itself on being able to cater for the modern-foodie; from vegans, vegetarians and those wanting to avoid refined sugars to your regular, sweet-toothed chocoholic – the lot.

The Curious Kitchen, BrixhamThe Curious Kitchen, Brixham

Atop The Curious Kitchen’s wooden-sleeper-clad counter you’ll find a myriad of playful delicacies to inspire and intrigue the taste buds. Orange, live yogurt and chia seed cake, doughnuts you can inject with your own choice of filling (so long jam vs. cream debate) and after-school favourite, Freakshakes; a themed milkshake that comes topped with cream and also – because life’s too short – cake.

“I want you to be able to come in and get something different, that’s been made with a bit of love,” explains Ash.

The Curious Kitchen, BrixhamThe Curious Kitchen, Brixham

While Ash’s rock and roll attitude has inspired an adventurous daytime menu of sweet somethings, his savoury offerings see Brixham’s traditional fish-based dishes sail into the distance. “I’m big on giving people options,” he explains. Think harissa-spiced baked beans, rice paper rolls and a twist on the humble crab sandwich, complete with smashed avocado, radish and salsa verde.

Daytimes at The Curious Kitchen are full of adventure and indulgence, but it’s the café’s more recently introduced evening menu that’s transforming Middle Street into a destination for local food-lovers. Changing monthly, the locally-sourced, homemade menu fuses brave, modern and unusual flavour combinations that showcase Ash’s sophisticated culinary expertise.

Visit on a Friday and Saturday for the full display; a five course taster menu for an affordable £29 per head, or a smaller two-course option on Thursdays for £19 a head. Sounds reasonable, but don’t be fooled by the price tag, the sophisticated menu wouldn’t look out of place in one of the region’s most high-end restaurants, and nor would it taste so. Typically the menu boasts a meat, fish and vegetarian main course with vegetable-based starters and experimental desserts, “I like to throw in a few surprises,” says Ash with a knowing grin.

The Curious Kitchen, BrixhamThe Curious Kitchen, Brixham

Meanwhile the change in feel, and style, from the bustling daytime café to the intimate, romantic evening setting is clear but subtle. Tables are adjusted to sit smaller numbers, candles sparkle and waiting staff attentively replace the informality of the daytime self-serve set up.

Day or evening, Ash prides himself on sourcing The Curious Kitchen’s produce locally and making everything (bar the café’s sourdough) on-site. He says: “Everything we serve is homemade; the cakes, ketchups, bread, chutneys – everything. We even cure our own bacon.” Listed on each menu is also how far your meal has travelled before getting to your table.

The Curious Kitchen, BrixhamThe Curious Kitchen, Brixham

“Geno from Kingsbridge brings me sacks of potatoes,” Ash explains proudly. “Our meat and veg is from Totnes and I have a guy who hunts for me in Haldon. It’s really important to me that there’s full traceability in our food.”

There are a number of things I find inspiring about this new café come restaurant; its total inclusivity – with vegan brownies sat beside bacon-infused doughnuts – its ability to transform from playful daytime charm to sophisticated evening romance with subtlety and ease, and its desire to put fun and play back into food and flavour. But behind all that, and probably most inspiring of all, is the man not afraid to push the boundaries, be different and be curious.

“You know what, if I don’t want to do a cream tea,” says Ash, “I won’t.”

The Curious Kitchen, BrixhamThe Curious Kitchen, Brixham

Ash’s top tips on how to inspire your own kitchen creations

Source the best produce: “I am fortunate to work with some iconic produce. Nowhere epitomises this more than Riverford Farm. Guy Watson and his team supply fantastic organic dairy products, fruit and veg.”

Travel: or listen to those who have. “I have a lot of friends who have travelled and come to me with amazing food ideas. It’s great to be able to draw from people’s experiences.”

Do your research: “The internet is great for inspiration. Instagram keeps me up to date with trends - I am in my 30s now, I need all the help I can get!”

Don’t get carried away: “It’s a lot of fun trying new and interesting taste combinations, as long as they don’t compromise the overall product. No being weird for weird’s sake!”

______________________________

Follow Devon Life on Facebook and Twitter

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

No one ever needs an excuse to indulge in a succulent beef patty with all the trimmings. In no particular order, we pick 10 of the best places in Devon for tasty burgers

Read more
Thursday, October 5, 2017

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you can’t beat a good ol’ English fry up. From blueberry pancakes to avocado on toast, we pick six of Exeter’s best places to indulge in a hearty brunch

Read more
Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Katherine Elliott visits the South Devon café keeping cream teas off the menu

Read more
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Devon Life is joining forces with Doctor Inks Curiosities cocktail bar in Exeter and Salcombe Distilling Co. to launch a competition to create a very special Devon drink

Read more
Thursday, August 31, 2017

There’s nothing quite like taking away crispy battered cod and golden chips to enjoy by Devon’s beautiful coast. With your help, we’ve picked 12 places to pick up this quintessential British treat in the county

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The summer isn’t quite over yet… Make the most of the last of the sunny weather with a pint in a glorious Devon beer garden. From north to south, we pick 10 of the best pubs to visit

Read more
Monday, August 21, 2017

Devon Life columnist Patrick McCaig of The Otter Brewery, takes us on a trawl of some of his favourite pubs. Here’s Patrick’s lowdown on The Chichester Arms in Mortehoe

Read more
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Whether you have strawberry or raspberry jam on your scones, or prefer Earl Grey to English breakfast tea - we've found 12 of the best tearooms that Devon has to offer

Read more
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Devon is full of history worth discovering including in its pubs! We have found just 14 of the best historical pubs to visit…

Read more
Monday, August 7, 2017

Enjoy this summer even more with a pint to hand at one of these Exeter pubs...

Read more
Monday, August 7, 2017

Head to one of Dartmoor’s favourite beauty spots and you could find yourself enjoying a safari-style dining experience

Read more
Friday, July 28, 2017

There’s a lot more to barbecuing than a few burnt sausages and some undercooked chicken thighs. Chrissy Harris meets a man on a mission to help change the way we do fire and food...

Read more
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link
 
A+ South & South West
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad
Devon Life Application Link


Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search