The revamp: Sidmouth Harbour hotel
PUBLISHED: 10:23 05 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:10 05 September 2016
A hotel revamp provides a stylish setting for
Alex Aitken’s food
Having spent his teenage holidays working as a trawlerman, it’s a safe bet that executive chef Alex Aitken knows a thing or two about fish; and a seafood supremo is a perfect fit for the Harbour Hotels group, a collection of luxury properties which includes the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel.
Before you even sit down to eat at its Upper Deck restaurant, there’s the view.
Floor to ceiling windows overlook a spacious decked terrace and swimming pool, framing a panoramic vista across to those striking Jurassic cliffs and the sweep of ocean beyond.
Inside, a major revamp brings colour and vitality; warm orange banquettes, deep blue chairs and the natural textures of rattan, rope and wooden parquet floors. A stylish nautical theme is reflected in huge art deco paintings of ocean-going liners. A dining out experience needs to give you a thrill, a sense of excitement, and this comes through the relaxed, slightly retro yet glamorous atmosphere and the joy of stopping for a cocktail at the island bar. where knowledgeable staff also make you feel pampered and special.
As expected, Aitken’s menus are filled with seafood from Brixham, including whole fish, selected daily and cooked simply and perfectly. There’s an excellent value three course Local Flavour menu (£25 for dinner) showcasing ingredients sourced from Devon and chef’s home county of Dorset. Another option is to go casual with Lyme Bay battered fish and chips, or a charcuterie sharing platter from Topsham’s Good Game. Then there’s the five course tasting menu, complete with complimentary glass of fizz, for £40.
The food, including the veg sides, has a freshness and vitality; nothing hangs around in this kitchen. To make sure, you can even keep an eye on the chefs through a picture window.