Eat Out to Help Out at Devon restaurants

PUBLISHED: 13:04 04 August 2020

Authentic Portugese cuisine can be found on our doorstep at The Cork and Tile

Authentic Portugese cuisine can be found on our doorstep at The Cork and Tile

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Diners can save up to £10 each when they eat at participating restaurants across Devon on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until 31 August.

Geetie Singh-Watson at The Bull Inn. Photo: Rachel Hoile PhotographyGeetie Singh-Watson at The Bull Inn. Photo: Rachel Hoile Photography

People eating out at restaurants can enjoy a 50 per cent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks under the scheme, which runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until 31 August. There are no vouchers, no minimum spend, and it can be used at the same time as other offers and discounts. The discount is automatically available at participating restaurants, who then claim a reimbursement from the Government, which is limited to a maximum of £10 discount per diner. You can use a postcode checker to find all the participating restaurants and cafes within a five mile radius.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the independent Devon restaurants taking part in the scheme.

Cork & Tile, Exeter: Devon Life reviewer Verity Hesketh loved the authentic Portuguese cuisine served up in this characterful Exeter restaurant when she visited just before lockdown. She wrote: “The menu caters well for meat, fish and vegetarians, though the emphasis on Portugal’s traditional seafood is plain to see. The dining area feels more like an old-style Mediterranean parlour than a restaurant; the sort of effortless shabby-chic that many designers strain for, yet sometimes miss. When it re-opens after lockdown I can thoroughly recommend you drink in everything The Cork and Tile has to offer.

The Bear and Blacksmith, Chillington. Photo: Ross HaywardThe Bear and Blacksmith, Chillington. Photo: Ross Hayward

The Jack in the Green, Rockbeare: This summer 2020 marked the start of The Jack’s 28th year as a Devon dining institution and Devon Life columnist Matthew Mason’s 26th year as head chef. This multi-award winning pub prides itself on sourcing ingredients from withing a few miles wherever possible. The food is consistently good and the welcome from landlord Paul Parnell is always warm. As we said in a review once: “If you’ve not already eaten at the Jack, get a date in your diary. The first time I ate there, the actor and former Bond star, Roger Moore, had taken a detour for lunch en route to Torquay and if it’s good enough for Bond, it’s definitely good enough for me.”

The Bull Inn, Totnes: This Totnes pub reopened earlier in the year following a unique renovation by the founder of Britain’s first organic gastropub. Ethical business pioneer, Geetie Singh-Watson is following on the success she had with the Duke of Cambridge in Islington. The emphasis at The Bull is on supporting the community by buying from local producers and craftspeople, focusing on long-term relationships with suppliers, and welcoming all. The food is organic, and truly seasonal. Geetie told Devon Life: “We’ve got to find a way to live and enjoy life sustainably, and I believe that’s an exciting thing. We need to push ourselves out of the way we have always done things; hospitality and business models need shaking up. Our aim with The Bull is to show that you can work with integrity and succeed.”

Hake cooked by chef Simon Hulstone at The Elephant, Torquay. Photo: Matt AustinHake cooked by chef Simon Hulstone at The Elephant, Torquay. Photo: Matt Austin

Twenty_Seven by Jamie Rogers, Kingsbridge: Opening Twenty_Seven in Kingsbridge was the fulfilmnent of a lifelong dream for Jamie Rogers, who has built a reputation as an innovative and exciting chef. He developed a love for cooking at an early age, went on to earn two red rosettes for Devon’s Langdon Court Hotel and in 2013 reached the semi-finals of Masterchef the Professionals. He was named South West Chef of the Year in 2015. Restaurant Twenty_Seven’s ethos is simply to use fresh local produce, skilfully prepared and served in a relaxed vibrant environment.

The Bear and Blacksmith, Kingsbridge: This award-winning pub at Chillington boasts a warm and welcoming atmosphere and there is an emphasis on supporting local suppliers and serving a range of locally-grown produce and drinks. The menu features fish and seafood from the shores surrounding the pub, as well as a selection of meat sourced and butchered from their own farm plus local beef from Slapton. Home-grown vegetables and produce comes from The Bear & Blacksmith Farm. Devon Life columnist Patrick McCaig visited in 2018 and said: “The Bear and Blacksmith is quickly, quietly and rightly making its mark on the local food scene with its refreshing philosophy and industrious new owners. There has always been a pub here going back to at least Victorian times - the name derives from the Blacksmiths next door and a nod to the past when a bear was actually kept outside.”

Sticky toffee pudding is a Jack in the Green classic.Sticky toffee pudding is a Jack in the Green classic.

The Elephant, Torquay: This bright, informal seaside restaurant overlooks beautiful Torquay harbour. Run by chef proprietor, Simon Hulstone and his wife Katy, it was the first restaurant in Torquay to be awarded a Michelin star which it has maintained for 15 years. Devon Life editor Andy Cooper dined there last year and noted: “Chef/patron Simon Hulstone is still placing himself at the top of the tree when it comes to the food scene in Devon and the wider South West and this lunch proved he is still at the top of his game. They say elephants never forget, and a trip to The Elephant is, indeed, always unforgettable.”

Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor: Originally built as a coaching inn by Sir Frances Buller in 1792, the Two Bridges Hotel is steeped in history and played host to many notable guests, including Sabine Baring-Gould, Vivien Leigh and HRH Prince Charles. Devon Life writer Emily Diamond and her husband dined there and said: “The atmosphere is friendly and informal, seemingly typical of a pastoral Devonian establishment, but its modest nature belies the excellence of the fare that follows; in my husband’s words ‘it’s “the best meal I’ve ever eaten’.” The cream teas are renowned and the hotel is a great place from which to explore Dartmoor.

The Five Bells Inn, Clyst Hydon: The Five Bells at Clyst Hydon is what many of us might well imagine a quintessential thatched country pub should look like, says Devon Life columnist Patrick McCaig. Reached by some classic Devon lanes, it’s the type of calm, tucked away spot you dream of finding on a hot summer’s day. Patrick told us: “The kitchen’s flair is evident whether you stick to just pub classics (all done extremely well) or go à la carte. Vegans, veggies and coeliacs are extremely well catered for – the flourless chocolate fondant is a real triumph of gluten free alchemy. From the local venison through to the Kentisbeare pork and Brixham scallops, right across the menu the integrity of the suppliers is impressive.” The huge beer garden is beautiful and boasts uninterrupted views over the countryside towards Exeter

The Five Bells Inn is a quintessential thatched country pub. Photo: Ross HaywardThe Five Bells Inn is a quintessential thatched country pub. Photo: Ross Hayward

The Swan, Bampton: Husband and wife team Paul and Donna Berry are passionate about the food they serve in their acclaimed pub The Swan in Bampton, Exmoor. Over the past few years it has picked up many awards, including once being voted as the Devon Life pub of the year. Devon Life interviewed Donna a few months before lockdown, when she told us: “Of course, it can be tough at times; it really takes over your life. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. For me it’s all about the people, the diners, the guests, the suppliers. I meet some really great people.” Paul and Donna have also created Spelt in Bampton, a concept restaurant offering a selection of dishes especially developed for sharing.

Farmers Arms, Woolsery: This Grade II listed, thatched roof local pub dating back to the mid 17th century, was derelict and closed until it was bought by Bebo co-founders Michael and Xochi Birch. Our columnist Patrick McCaig visited after the reopening and reported: “You’ll find a traditional thatched pub, sensitively reimagined with a modern twist, all brought to life by extremely skilled craftsmen. The customer journey, and it is a journey, begins in the oldest part of the building with the sparsely furnished but cosy Farmer’s Bar. Then comes the Public Bar, a more colourful space with a big open-fire centrepiece, natural flagstones and comfortable seating. Next, you reach the airy restaurant, full of texture with its massive exposed beams and playful taxidermy on the wall. Beyond is the ‘Shippon’ with its richly coloured fabrics, contemporary art and huge sense of space that opens onto a lovely outside terraced area. You could easily spend a day here. The Farmers Arms delivers a mind-blowing experience at every turn.”

The Farmers Arms delivers a mind-blowing experience at every turnThe Farmers Arms delivers a mind-blowing experience at every turn

Cary Arms, Torquay: Stunning views, superb service and amazing views were enjoyed by Devon Life editor Andy Cooper when he visited this beachside inn.

He said: “The Cary Arms’ charming bar is full of character and is a great spot to sit and sip on something while you peruse the menu. You will need some time: it’s a fabulous mix of classics and novel dishes, with the aim of making the most of the local produce and provender front and central.”

He added: “The inn also has a fabulous terraced seating area for warmer temperatures…and sightings of dolphins and seals are apparently so numerous there is a bell to ring to warn your fellow diners to watch out for them! And if we’re talking making a noise to let others know then I think there should be bells and whistles telling anyone who loves fine food, service and surroundings to make a beeline for the Cary Arms - a completely charming experience.”

The Cary Arms is so much more than just an inn. Photo: Cary ArmsThe Cary Arms is so much more than just an inn. Photo: Cary Arms

Rockfish is offering the Eat Out To Help Out deal at all of its restaurants. In Devon they are at Brixham, Dartmouth, Exeter Quay, Exmouth, Torquay and Plynouth. Created by restaurateur Mitch Tonks - whose Seahorse restaurant at Dartmouth has transformed into Seahorse al Mare under a marquee on the waterfront - the Rockfish restaurants specialise in fresh seafood bought daily from Brixham fish market.

If none of these take your fancy there are dozens more places to choose from as well as the many national chains. Just pop your postcode into the Government website to see which ones are within five miles of your address.

Enjoy fish and chips with a difference at RockfishEnjoy fish and chips with a difference at Rockfish

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