Hand-picked places to eat, stay, shop & cook in the South West

Food weekly briefing

Published on March 17, 2020
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Like Boris’ briefings, but focused on South West food and drink – and how you can #SupportTheIndies 

We rely heavily on our restaurants, producers, coffee shops and foodie hotels in the South West – they’re the backbone of our economy and culture. So how can you support them while they’re struggling to survive so that they’re still here when this is all over? Read on, friends … 

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April 3

Community updates to raise the spirits

A group of Bristol chefs, food producers and industry insiders have joined forces to launch a charity campaign to support the city’s food and farming communities after the Covid-19 outbreak. Bristol Food Union has so far raised 75 per cent of its £10,00 target – you can support its efforts here.

The community spirit continues in Bristol: The Jolly Hog team rocked up at Southmead Hospital this week to thank the amazing NHS staff for their hard work by giving out free sausage sarnies and bacon baps.

In south Devon, the drinksmiths at Salcombe Gin (pictured below) are launching a new tipple to raise funds for the NHS. The award-winning distillery will be crowdsourcing the limited edition bottle via a live Instagram event on Thursday April 9, where followers will be able to choose their favourite botanicals and vote on the final recipe for the spirit. 

Nick Hodges, executive chef at The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, is encouraging novice cooks and their kids into the kitchen with a new series of Facebook live cookalong videos. The talented chef is streaming three recipes a week via The Greenbank’s profile page – previous dishes have included fishcakes, chicken soup, and banana and chocolate flapjacks.

Nationwide charity Hospitality Action has launched a campaign to raise money for hospitality industry workers who are suddenly facing hardship. You can donate here, and find out if you’re eligible for an emergency grant here.

Produce by post

Want to treat your favourite chocolate snob to a top-quality Easter egg? Send ’em a bean-to-bar egg from the choc connoisseurs at Salcombe Dairy. The Easter treats come in 100 per cent recyclable packaging and are available for home delivery.

If you’re keen to support the South West fishing industry, ordering a delivery from an indie fishmonger helps to support the fishermen while restaurants and hotels are closed. Trelawney Fish & Deli is delivering fresh fish and seafood across the country from its Newlyn shop – find out how you can order here.

Still finding it hard to get a delivery slot for the big shop? Treby Arms in Devon has launched a delivery service for a number of PL and TQ postcodes. Produce boxes include locally grown veggies and storecupboard essentials.

Bath‘s La Vignoble has launched an online delivery service for those who need to fortify their wine cellar. Cases start at just £48 and there’s free postage if you spend over £150 (we won’t judge).

Coming up with a cracking gift is tricky when you can’t leave the house, so to send someone special a gift voucher to enjoy when this all blows over is an excellent idea – and something to look forward to. Boringdon Hall Hotel in Plymouth and Fistral Beach Hotel in Newquay are offering 10 per cent off all gift experiences bought before May 31.

Running out of coffee? Restock with a delivery of quality speciality beans sourced from the UK’s best independent coffee roasteries and delivered to your door by Indy Coffee Box. Order your April box by April 15 for a delivery of freshly roasted beans on April 21.

Hungry for more? Read the digi-mag of Food’s April edition here.

March 27

Foodie news

The South West’s incredible food and drink businesses are continuing to adapt and diversify through this difficult period. Here’s a roundup of this week’s news …

The Longs Arms in South Wraxall has temporarily transformed its kitchen into a bakery. Hot-from-the-oven sourdough loaves will be available to buy from Friday afternoon.

The team behind The Greenbank in Falmouth have offered its hotel beds to support the NHS. Managing director Ben Young wrote to the director of NHS estates for Cornwall on March 20 offering the use of 175 beds at The Greenbank, as well as sister hotels The Alverton and The Penventon.

Foodies are being encouraged to support the South West fishing industry by buying local fish and seafood. Up to 75 per cent of fish caught in the UK before the crisis was exported, so to keep the UK industry afloat consumers are being urged to buy from their local fishmonger. Wing of St Mawes in Cornwall is offering free home delivery.

Cooking at home

Always wanted to make pasta from scratch? Àclèaf’s head chef Scott Paton has put together an easy tutorial to make tagliatelle from just five simple storecupboard ingredients. Watch the video here or follow the step-by-step instruction here.

Exeter Cookery School has launched a new series of online cookery tutorials. Head tutor Jim Fisher will be kicking off with a live Q&A session on Saturday (March 28) session. Get all the info here.

If making sourdough at home is off the cards, Baker Tom is launching a bread box delivery scheme this week. Boxes start at £7 and can be delivered to any TR postcodes.

Takeaway tonight?

While some restaurants have had to close down takeaway operations, there are still a wealth of fine foodie venues offering delivery in the South West.

In Kingsbridge, Restaurant Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers is offering a three course line-up for just £15. Dishes include slow cooked lamb shoulder, Start Point hake and hot ginger sponge with toffee apples.

The Globe at Milverton is rustling up a different takeaway meal every night of the week (excluding Sundays). Family favourites so far have included lamb hotpot, prawn Thai green curry and beef and ale stew.

Brassica Restaurant in Beaminster continues to fuel the community with its homemade ready meals. New dishes on the menu this week include pork and fennel ragu, spinach and ricotta lasagne and vanilla rice pudding.

Want to match your takeaway supper with something delicious? Pullo is delivering natural wine and cider to the people of Exeter (and those within a ten mile radius of the city). Order six bottles and score a cheeky 10 per cent discount.

Read the hot-off-press digimag of Food’s April edition here.

March 23

Foodie news

Following the news on Friday evening, it’s been heartbreaking to see the South West’s much-loved restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels close their doors for the time being. However, despite these difficult times, it’s been inspiring to hear of the many food and drink businesses that are seizing the opportunity to help their local communities.

After announcing the temporary closure of their Devon and Cornwall hotels, the family team behind Brend Hotels delivered a huge amount of unused produce to food banks across the region this weekend.

The creative bunch at Dorset’s Conker Spirit have started to produce hand sanitiser using the waste ‘heads’ from its gin production. Bottles are being prioritised for GP practices, care workers and front-line emergency services workers.

Ding-dong deliveries

Scraping the cellar in St Ives? Ben Prior, the wine buff behind Ben’s Kitchen at 27 The Terrace, has just launched a wine delivery service. Browse his stock of South African bottles here.

South Devon based Sharpham has introduced a new drive-thru cheese and wine service. Customers will score a tidy 10 per cent discount off the range of artisan cheese and English wines when they collect.

Running low on gin? Don’t fret, Salcombe Gin has launched a free same-day delivery service for the people of Salcombe and Kingsbridge. Simply place your order before 2.30pm and spend over £25.

Cornwall‘s Rock Gin is also offering free delivery on all orders on its website.

Thoughtful friends will want to send their tea-loving pals a little pick-me-up in the form of Shibui Tea‘s selection pack of herbal infusions. The postbox-size package includes a personalised card so you can spread a little joy.

In north Devon, Johns of Instow & Appledore has reintroduced a local home delivery service. Stock up on frozen produce, deli items and more.

Don’t forget you can get top-quality coffee beans delivered to your door via the Indy Coffee Box. Find out more here.

Eating in is the new eating out

As all convention is well and truly out of the window, Monday night pizza and wine is most definitely on the table. The gang at Eight Stony Street in Frome are sorting locals out with a new takeaway and delivery service.

In Taunton, stalwart restaurant Augustus has introduced a takeaway menu of chef patron Richard Guest’s favourite dishes. Choose from the likes beef bourguignon, tarragon chicken and rabbit faggots.

Vouch for it

Buying a voucher to use once this has all blown over is a fantastic way to support indie businesses during this difficult period. Here’s a list of some fabulous indies which currently offer vouchers online:

Catch up on the latest issue of food from the comfort of your sofa here.

March 20

Weekend dining ideas

Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t support your favourite local restaurants this weekend – a little comfort food is something we could all do with right now. Read on to find out which venues are adapting their menus and operations.

The Gylly Beach Cafe gang will be out and about this weekend, delivering stone-baked pizzas, fish and chips, chunky burgers and more to the people of Falmouth and Penryn.

In Beaminster, the team at Brassica Restaurant will be preparing a tempting range of meals for collection or delivery. Choose from the likes of mushroom and spinach risotto, smoked haddock and cod pie, and spicy dahl soup.

Not prepared to give up your Friday night fish and chips? Hooked on the Rocks in Falmouth has opened its terrace area so you can dine in the early spring sunshine – or pop in and pick up a takeaway to tuck in to at home.

Those looking for Friday night thrills in Bath or Bristol can now get their fave Indian delivered. The crew at The Mint Room are offering free delivery within a three mile radius of either of its restaurants.

How does a honey-glazed gammon chop with lacy duck egg and fries sound? The Lamb at Longdown head chef Dolton Lodge is rustling up such delights for foodies who want to pick dinner up from his pub near Exeter.

Also in Devon, The Cadeleigh Arms near Tiverton is launching a takeaway menu from Friday. Treat yourself to three courses – we recommend kicking off with the crispy squid with chilli sauce, indulging in the Devon beef and roast butternut squash stew, before rounding things off with a slice of apple tart with clotted cream #drool.

Craving a dose of fresh air? The spacious terrace at The Waterside Bistro in Totnes is open for business this weekend and serving its much-loved menu of modern European dishes – so you can dine out without worrying about being too close to other foodies.

Doorbell deliveries

The good people at Walter Rose & Son Butchers in Devizes are offering free delivery to help halt the spread of Covid-19. Top quality local beef, lamb, pork and poultry is available, as well as award-winning sausages, fresh Cornish fish and deli items including over 50 different types of cheese. 

Forest Produce has long been the supplier of choice for top chefs but, in light of recent events, the fresh fruit and veg specialist is now delivering its quality goods to the general public. The community boxes are available across the South West – find out more here.

Don’t forget you can get top-quality coffee beans delivered to your door via the Indy Coffee Box. Find out more here.

Vouch for it

Buying a voucher to use once this has all blown over is a fantastic way to support indie businesses during this difficult period. Here’s a list of some fabulous indies which currently offer vouchers online:

Catch up on the latest issue of food from the comfort of your sofa here.

March 19

Time for a takeaway?

Browse the latest indies to diversify their offering (scroll down to former briefings to find out which other indies are doing delivery and take-out options).

Have a hankering for a proper pub dinner? The Bear and Blacksmith in Chillington has rustled up a corker of a takeaway menu. Tuck in to the likes of beer-battered Beesands scallops and chips, and the pub’s own sausages and chips.

There’s no need to cancel Saturday’s date night plans. The team at Restaurant Roots in Bournemouth are preparing beef wellingtons to be collected or delivered (within a reasonable distance). The main course serves two and they’ll also prepare a pud or a cheeseboard.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean constant cooking. Bath‘s Darling Deli Kitchen is whipping up frozen homemade meals to deliver locally. Dishes include lamb tagine, aubergine parmigiana and more.

Still want to treat mum to a gorgeous Sunday roast on Mother’s Day? The Royal George in Appledore, north Devon will be on the road delivering Sunday lunches. Choose between Exmoor beef, lamb or pork, then add a bottle of wine and a pud to share to your order.

If you’re looking for something special in Somerset this weekend, Goodfellows in Wells is offering a reduced menu of its classic dishes as takeaway. Give them a bell to pre-order and then pick up.

River Cottage Kitchen re-opened today in Axminster as a takeaway and delivery hub. The operation will focus on delivering nourishing, comforting and delicious food to those in the community who need it most.

Pukka produce

Cracking open a cold one won’t solve the current crisis but it will certainly take the edge off. Devon‘s Salcombe Brewery is offering free home door-step delivery to all TQ postcodes and some PL and EX postcodes.

More G&T than craft beer? Exmoor Distillery is also offering free delivery within 25 miles of its Dulverton distillery.

If you’re going to be working from home for the next couple of weeks, a good stock of quality coffee is going to be needed. Indy Coffee Box curates beans from the UK’s indie roasteries and delivers to your door (get £5 off your first 3/4 bag box with code: ICB1). Also delivering the goods is Somerset‘s Brazier Coffee Roasters – head to their website where all delivery is currently free, whatever size your order.

Vouch for it

Buying a voucher to use once this has all blown over is a fantastic way to support indie businesses during this difficult period. Here’s a list of some fabulous indies which currently offer vouchers online:

Catch up on the latest issue of food from the comfort of your sofa here.

March 18

Dinner ideas

Hump day dinner plans gone to pot? Venues across the region are getting creative with dinner delivery services – here’s a round up of some of the latest offerings.

The Queens Arms at Corton Denham is launching a lunch and dinner delivery service from Friday March 20. Pair pub classics with your favourite ale – the team will be delivering drinks in two pint takeaway cartons, too.

As well as normal dinner service, The Angel will be serving the people of Dartmouth with a tempting takeaway menu. Dishes include roasted pork belly with creamed potatoes and cabbage, and a range of veggie and meaty pizzas.

The ingenious bunch behind Old Crown at Kelston near Bath have set up a drive-through service from its car park. Pick up the pie of the day or dig in to cider-battered fish and chunky chips.

In Sherborne, the award winning kitchen team at Seasons by The Eastbury have created a hefty menu of takeaway options. Choose from the likes of ravioli of goat’s cheese, 28-day-aged beef burger and roast salmon salad.

The Cauldron in Bristol is to transform its restaurant into a dispensary from 5pm on Thursday. The team will be serving home cooked frozen meals as well as staples including toilet roll, fresh veg and locally roasted coffee.

Still want to treat mum on Mother’s Day? The team at The Salutation Inn in Topsham are offering bespoke French patisserie cakes and afternoon teas for collection or delivery.

Produce by post

Want to raise someone’s spirits with a surprise package of delicious traybake? Exploding Bakery in Exeter is offering 25 per off its whole website range, with free delivery nationwide on any orders on six trays or more.

Or how about a bottle of gin? Atlantic Spirit in north Devon is delivering bottles of its handcrafted gin to anyone within 10 miles of Bideford (for free) and will even pick you up some tonic from the supermarket.

The family team behind Darts Farm near Topsham are offering free local delivery of fresh produce and meats to anyone over 70. They’ve also set up a free collection service for everyone which will operate from the car park.

Catch up on the latest issue of food from the comfort of your sofa here.

March 17

Dinner – delivered

There are lots of restaurants in the region that are diversifying their output and offering takeaway and delivery options.

SQ Bar & Restaurant in Braunton, north Devon is delivering within three miles of the village, whipping up dishes such as macaroni cheese, fish pie and homemade chocolate brownie.

Award winning M Welsh Catering Service is launching a home delivery service from March 20. Covering Tetburn St Mary, Pathfinder Village, Cheriton Bishop, Crockernwell, Drewsteignton, Dunsford, Christow, Bridford and Aston, delivery is free with orders over £10 and main meals include cottage pie with cheesy mash, slow roasted pork belly and vegetable lasagne.

From Wednesday, the team at The Pantry at Trelowarren Estate will be firing up the pizza oven for takeaway and collection orders. Give them a bell and pay over the phone when ordering.

The Pyne Arms in north Devon has put together a cracking takeaway menu which includes the likes of crispy chilli beef, confit duck leg and steak pie. Delivery is free within four miles of the pub (£4 charge within 8 miles) and you can even add a bottle of house wine for £10.

Stock up on the good stuff

Bath’s Novel Wines is offering free delivery to all Bath addresses. Order online and pop in the code COLLECT at the checkout. Also in Bath, Darling Deli Kitchen is winging frozen meals and deli produce to foodies across the city.

Exeter’s Veg in a Box has been inundated with orders but still has delivery slots available in Devon and some areas of Somerset and Cornwall if you’re looking to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.

Bristol’s Wild Beer is offering free delivery for all BA/BS postcodes on orders over £24, plus nationwide free delivery on orders over £50.

Catch up on the latest issue of food from the comfort of your sofa here.