An unassuming backstreet reveals a rather special under-the-radar restaurant to savour, discovers Kathryn Lewis
Just beyond the town centre and a short stroll from the seafront, Saveur is a delicious break from Exmouth’s Mr Whippy and chippy culture.
And while fish still receives star billing at the family-run restaurant (when you’re in sniffing distance of a salty breeze, nothing else scratches the itch), all similarities end there. The local catch from Brixham Market is treated reverently, while spuds are more likely to be of the sautéed persuasion and tinned mushy peas eschewed in favour of locally-grown veggies.
VISIT for refined food that centres on seasonality.
Head chef Nigel Wright and general manager Kerry Dutton took over Le Saveur in July 2017, dialling down the French overtones (both name and cooking style) and shifting the focus to the flavours of the surrounding coast and country.
The daily menu is only finalised just before service and depends on exactly which local ingredients Nigel has managed to source (or forage) and what the dayboats landed that morning.
The result is a pleasingly casual dining experience where the colours of the season adorn each plate – our spring visit revealed a golden fillet of turbot with the fresh green spears of English asparagus, saffron-spiked potato and a rich Devon crab sauce the shade of its shell.
DON’T VISIT with picky eaters. The short menu is testament to the intricacy of Nigel’s dishes, and the dependency on the Brixham boats mean that, if you’re dining late, you could miss out on your first choice.
WE LIKED the starter of cured wild sea bass. Punctuated with sharp notes of apple and pickled fennel, dainty dollops of earthy beetroot puree, tangy buttermilk dressing and savoury toasted soda bread, the dish demonstrated finesse in both flavour pairing and presentation.
INSIDER’S TIP Schedule a daytime jolly to make the most of the prix fixe lunch menu (two courses for £16, three for £19.50).
What we ate (dinner)
Starter Cured wild sea bass, pickled fennel, buttermilk dressing, soda bread
Main Roasted guinea fowl, nettle and pecorino gnocchi, shallot puree, grilled artichoke, forest fungi
Pud Treacle tart, apple compote, buttermilk ice cream
3 courses from £28.90
As featured in food Magazine’s June 2019 issue.
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