Soopah-doopah Muddy newflash!
It's only the BIGGEST, most gossipy newsflash ever! Here's the inside on The Ivy coming to Exeter, Plymouth's new Clubhouse and why Tom Daley has us in stitches.
Hot off the press
News just in! The Ivy, Exeter (see later in the piece) has just announced its opening date on Weds 9 June and I have the flowers to prove it. Mwah!
Soopah new stays
Torquay has got itself a shiny new Hampton by Hilton on Torwood Street with 131 beds, some of which have great views over the marina. Most excitingly, it’s brilliantly binned the beige by commissioning Muddy favourite, artist Bert Fowler from Bert & Buoy, to create some pretty cool artwork.
Bert gave me a sneaky tour around last week and I was even more impressed than I expected to be. (Check out the time-lapse Youtube vid, above, to get a feel.)
Don’t be fooled by the building work out front on Torwood Street – the entrance is around the back on The Terrace. Here, you enter via the vestibule, lobby and dining area – all gorgeously curated by Bert in cool burnt-oranges and fresh blues, with his stunning artwork on the walls, and integrated into the glass.
Even the coffee mugs are Bert & Buoy, jointly designed by Bert and The Great Pottery Throwndown‘s Keith Brymer-Jones. Definitely a place you wouldn’t mind using as a base for a weekend in Torquay or putting up visiting friends and famalam.
We have been drooling over pics of the new luxury Harbour Beach Club at South Sands in Salcombe and if their CGI is anything to go by, it’s going to be like Lake Como landing in the South Hams. There’s already a Harbour Hotel in the seaside town but this one, launching in July, is aimed at families, with larger rooms and suites, and oodles of opps for getting out on that water, with paddle board and kayak hire.
Remember us raving about Michael Caines MBE’s new Cafe Patisserie Glacerie (above), Exmouth’s cool new place for handmade gelato and Francois-style bunnage and cakes?
Well, he’s only gone and done it again with Mickey’s Beach Bar and Restaurant also in Exmouth (next door) and it’s the closest thing we’ve got to a South of France seaside eatery in the county. Get the goss here.
It’s a no-expenses-spared beach bar, with late-night opening and a DJ set on weekends, downstairs bar and upstairs restaurant with fabulous views of the River Exe and the kite surfers who train there. Go, go, go!
Over on Royal William Yard in Plymouth, The Clubhouse, are already taking bookings for their launch at the end of this week. It’s an all-day marina-side eatery (where Las Ignauas used to be) and rocks a suitably coastal vibe, with a giant octopus mural on the wall and an inky-blue ceiling worthy of Farrow & Ball.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting the Clubhouse in Liverpool, you’ll know their famous hanging kebabs, designed to give you that *I’m-eating-all-the-chips-and-I-don’t-care* holiday vibe. I’ve not yet been but the refit pics look the biz. Besides I already love them because they were giving away promo ice-creams around the Plymouth neighbourhood and that’s class, right there.
In Exeter, everyone, I mean everyone, is talking about The Ivy, landing in what used to be the Jack Will’s store on the High Street this summer. We’re talking all-day dining, from coffee and cake in the morning, to elegant lunches and dinner, with seasonal British classics and locally inspired drinks on the menu. The decor (above) is rumoured to be red and gold, channelling a floral English garden and it’s got cool windows – with my snotty nose pressed up against them – so, believe me, you will be the first to hear when I know more.
Staying with the Cathedral city, the eagle-eyed will have spotted that it’s all change for Lloyds Kitchen, which has morphed during lockdown into an Italian eatery called Sabatini. Sadly, a good few Italian indies have folded in the city leaving a foodie gap which Lloyd is happy to fill. And worry not: his sister restaurant opposite, Lloyds Lounge, with those cute outdoor-eating beach huts aren’t going anywhere.
No Muddy news would be complete without a local GIN recommendation and I have two I selflessly tested for you on the rocks of course *arf arf* – Fossil Coast’s Limestone London Dry Gin and their fruity little number, Red Bed, both launching in early June. I found the Limestone a very pleasing quaff and my a ginophile friend who’s fussy about these things, made lots of approving noises, pronounced it ‘straightforward’ and poured herself another one.
Appositely, it’s been created by a trained palaeontologist Wayne and his son Jack, and celebrates the 95 miles of ancient coastline running from chalk bedrock of Old Harry Rocks in Dorset to the geoneedle at Orcombe Point in Exmouth while supporting the Jurassic Coast Trust, who work to protect and conserve its World Heritage Site status. So, a fortifying drink in more ways than one. Try it.
Festivals and culture news
Muddy had a sneaky peek around the £7.6 million re-furb of The Market Hall in Devonport (due to open in July), home to a state-of-the-art 15m high and wide ‘immersive dome’ (think planetarium except with beanbags instead of seats) – the first of its kind in Europe.
Launched by Real Ideas Organisation, the brilliant socially-minded peeps behind the Royal Willam Yard’s Ocean Studios, here you can grab a coffee and a bite in the cafe, hire a hot desk, or meeting space, or immerse yourself in an educational or art film in the dome, all while enjoying an industrial-style but fun interior designed by Red or Dead’s Wayne Hemingway, complete with jellyfish lampshades. Impressive.
For gardeners missing their Chelsea Flower Show fix (shameless plug warning!) mine and Mr Muddy’s garden show, Toby’s Garden Festival, is back after a year’s hiatus, for two rose-tinted days in the gorgeous grounds of Powderham Castle, in the village of Kenton near Exeter.
There will be over 100 stalls, including local and RHS award-winning plant nurseries, along with art and heritage woodland crafts, and the chance to scoff some tasty local nosh. Ooh, and free garden talks in a tipi, from knowledgeable experts, on everything from succulent plants, to roses and re-wilding, so you’ll never have to lift that weighty RHS Encyclopedia again.
Pack your coffee cup when you go to Topsham as you can now get 20p off your caffeine fix when you’re in the pretty indie town near Exeter. With help from Love Topsham – and the tuneful Liberty Sisters (above) – participating cafes have launched the eco-campaign in a bid to reduce the 10,000 single use takeaway cafes thrown away from their inestimable cafes each week. Bravo, Topsham!
Tom Daley has us in stitches
And last but very much not least…anyone else been enjoying Devon’s favourite Olympics diving poppet, Tom Daley’s new, er, knitting and crochet obsession on his @madewithlovebytomdaley Instagram? Apparently it helps him unwind after a plunge. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop after lockdown, I say. Here he is this cute vid having “a little play around with hexagon cardigans”. You’re very, very welcome.