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Restaurant review: Cary Arms & Spa, Babbacombe

Published on May 29, 2019
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At the Cary Arms’ first luxury lobster luncheon, Selena Young raises a glass to one of the hotel’s most famous former guests

Cary Arms

It’s quite something to imagine Sir Winston Churchill and chums tucking into fresh-from-the-ocean lobster and toasting flutes of champagne overlooking Babbacombe Beach’s glistening waters.

In a letter dated November 13, 1942, the private secretary to Churchill wrote to Cary Arms’ former owners, ‘Dear Madam, The Prime Minister has asked me to convey to you his cordial thanks for the lobsters which you and Mr. Cox have been kind enough to send him.’

And while you’re unlikely to find the current prime minister puffing away on a cigar on the hotel’s terrace, a new weekly pop-up barbecue in honour of Sir Winston celebrates his penchant for fine seafood and champagne.  

VISIT for wickedly fresh seafood that tastes as if it’s been flung straight from the bay onto the grill.

The Winston Churchill Menu puts lobster front and centre, and a starter of potted Devon lobster and crab piled on freshly baked bread sets the bar sensationally high. The main that follows – a crisp, buttery bun stuffed with hunks of succulent lobster and oozing with aïoli and wild garlic mayonnaise – takes the humble lobster roll to hero status, while a side of grilled claw is the jewel in the luxe lunch crown.   

Dining on a sea-facing terrace and sipping something sparkling against a backdrop of rugged coastline also takes some beating.

DON’T VISIT if you’re not up for splashing out on a gourmet ingredient. Locally sourced lobster is a delicacy (hence the £15 starter, £49.95 main course price tag) but hey, there’s always a special occasion worth pushing the boat out for, right?

WE LIKED the dedication to the sultan of the sea. Every dish on the three-course line-up incorporates lobster – a dessert of lemon and thyme ice cream with champagne jelly even features a petit piece of crustacean hidden at its core.

INSIDER’S TIP: Urge to splurge? Splash out on a bottle of Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2008 for the ultimate lobster accompaniment.

What we ate (Winston Churchill Menu)

Starter Potted Devon lobster and crab, freshly baked bread
Main Lobster roll, new potatoes, salad
Pud Lobster, lemon and thyme ice cream, champagne jelly

3 courses from £52


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