Have you heard the local gossip?
From a cool new beachside opening to fine-dining foodie and culture news - here's the inside line on the coolest happenings in Devon.
Muddy Cornwall is in mourning as the fabulous Taco Boys have upped sticks from Polzeath Beach and joined the landlubbers on Exeter’s Magdalen Road, to launch a shiny new restaurant, Stage. Felix, Robbie and Blaise have backgrounds in fine dining and are currently wowing the lucky St Leonard’s locals with their takeaway coffee and cakes, and a concept menu on Thurs/Fri/Sat nights.
This month the 5-course menu is inspired by Chef (above), a feel-good road trip movie, starring and directed by Jon Favreau, about a chef who loses his job and starts again with a food truck (a lockdown must-watch). Expect sweetbread, porkubano, hot smoked salmon and freshly fried beignets. Watch the film, and I promise you will be starving for exactly that. And if you’re passing their roadside hatch, have a smoked chocolate fudge mocha and one of their amazing homemade doughnuts for me.
North Devon has two very exciting new eateries: New Coast Kitchen in Croyde, the only place for miles you can get a bao bun and Stacc right on the Promenade in Ilfracombe, a cafe and takeout serving up exquisite patisserie and a drool-worthy insta-feed to match. Run by Alex, Bronwen and cute dachshund Betty, Bronwen is a patisserie chef and a dab hand at beautiful bakes (review coming next week).
Due to open in March is celeb chef Michael Caines’ latest venture, Mickey’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. A two-storey glass-sided eatery on Ocean Drive with a downstairs takeaway and upstairs a restaurant and terraces overlooking two miles of Exmouth’s golden sands. It’s shaping up to be a great pitstop for East Devon beachgoers, and easier on the pocket than his luxe Lympstone Manor just up the road.
After the success of 2020’s Dartmouth’s Seahorse al Mare, celeb seafood restauranteur Mitch Tonks is taking The Seahorse to the people. Nothing concrete yet, but the word is it will be the perfect way to have an amazing celebration in your own garden. More when we have it!
PLASTIC FREE DEVON
In a UK first, indie shops in the seaside town of Westward Ho! have introduced a self-imposed ban on the sale of polystyrene body boards. According to Keep Britain Tidy 16,000 cheap polystyrene bodyboards are discarded on UK beaches every year so with help from Plastic Free Torridge, Plastic Free North Devon and Keep Britain Tidy’s Ocean Recovery Project they’ve banned the boards and have started a petition to ban them across the UK.
Veg growers Riverford are saving a whopping 21 tonnes of plastic each year through switching to a new sustainably sourced, home compostable packaging which properly biodegrades, breaking down completely within a year in an ordinary home compost bin. If you don’t have one, they will happily take back empty bags to compost at the farm.
Winner of Best Online Food Retailer in the Observer Awards and previously online only, The Cheese Shed have set up a bricks and mortar shop on Station Road in Bovey Tracey. Painted bright blue so you can’t miss it – and stuffed full of artisan West Country cheeses – The Cheese Shed is the first fully chilled cheese shop west of Bristol meaning the truckles and wax-wrapped delights aren’t in your usual chiller cabinets, but stacked up shelves and on a sexy S-shaped counter. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 4.30pm, moving to five days later.
Popular ice cream parlour, Scoops in Kingsbridge, is getting itself a fancy refurb in time for the summer season. Owner Josie told Muddy they’re going for the Peggy Porschen patisserie look (above), as adored by London A-listers. Should be fab. But will Elton John and Kate Moss will turn up for a rum and raisin too?
THINGS TO DO
Missing lunch with the gals? Former River Cottage chef, Tim Maddams, is hosting a new lunchtime cookery class on LarksLive which you can do on Zoom with your mates, and maybe with a cheeky glass of wine too. I did it with a mate and it scores big Muddy ticks all round – for Tim’s amusing banter, insider cooking tips (at last a foolproof way to make a white sauce!) and a great price of £18.
If you’re desperate for a culture hit, Budleigh Literary Festival’s has announced the line-up for its online Spring Weekend on 13 – 14 March, including author of the bestselling Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshall, (a great read) and writer of the recent Netflix Sutton Hoo hit, The Dig, John Preston. He will be sharing the stories behind his new book, Fall, a jaw-dropping account of one of the 20th century’s most notorious business tycoons and one-time MP, Robert Maxwell, and what was behind his extraordinary disappearance. Book now!