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Restaurant review: Dukes, Sidmouth

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With a prime spot overlooking Sidmouth’s pebbled beach, a menu brimming with fresh fish and a tranquil blend of rustic wood and maritime blues flowing through its interior, Dukes certainly lives up its title of ‘the inn by the sea’, says Kathryn Lewis

Dukes

Rousing to the sound of waves crashing on the beach below, cradling a pleasing fullness from a good feed the previous evening, and savouring the thought of the cooked breakfast waiting downstairs … we challenge anyone to find a better way to start the day.

VISIT FOR the fish. If you plump for one of the meaty mains on Dukes’ 35 mile menu you’re in for some good pub grub, but the piscatorial plates are where the chefs shine. A chunky fillet of Brixham hake topping a heavy-on-the-garlic-in-all-the-right-ways cassoulet and a dollop of zesty lime crème fraîche came up trumps on our visit, with the lobster-laden crayfish cakes coming a close second.

DON’T VISIT for fancy thrills and fine dining. Grab your better half, a few friends or the dog, and enjoy honest food with a glass of something good at this laid-back local.

WE LIKED the thoughtful touches littered around our lodgings. Starting to rain? There’s a brolly waiting in your room. Forgot your specs? Pick a pair from a pot on the bar. Feeling the first September chill in the courtyard? Grab a blanket from the basket.

INSIDER’S TIP Take a post-dinner, pre-bed stroll along the historic promenade and marvel at the town’s towering cliffs. The absence of ice cream-fuelled children and greedy gulls that come with a twilight wander is a happy coincidence.

What we ate (dinner)
Starter Lobster and crayfish cake, sweetcorn puree, red pepper coulis
Mains Brixham hake, smoked garlic, spinach cassoulet, lime crème fraîche
Pud West Country cheese board

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