A cracking night out is guaranteed at SQ Bar and Restaurant, where crowd-pleasing plates and carefully crafted cocktails bring on the good times, discovers Selena Young
The village of Braunton is probably best known for Squires, its 50-year-old fish and chip restaurant which lists Damien Hirst and Rick Stein among its famous visitors.
However, locals and insiders looking to skip the queue head over the road to sister venue SQ Bar and Restaurant. This vibrant casual-dining joint is owned and run by Lucy and Olly Seymour, third generation members of the Squires family.
With such pedigree, the couple know how to put together a restaurant that’s all about the good times, and have done a stonking job of replicating the lively Squires vibe – just with an added dash of luxe and a fabulous drinks list.
VISIT for family-friendly dining in a buzzy setting – this is the kind of haunt you’ll want to round up the gang for. The menu features sharing platters which’ll feed a crowd in a sociable everyone-get-stuck-in kinda way; alternatively, opt for a medley of small plates and let everyone pick and choose a little of what they fancy.
Mains may not be cutting edge – you won’t find quirky execution or look-at-me styling – but if you’re up for modern classics cooked well, this ticks the box. Lick-the-plate-clean dishes include the likes of succulent lamb striploin with creamy mash, roscoff onion, savoy cabbage and black garlic puree.
Desserts centre on simple but effective treats such as crème brûlée – think unctuous spoonfuls of vanilla-flecked cream with shards of caramelised sugar and fresh berries.
DON’T VISIT for a hushed dinner for two. This is less quiet-cooing-at-your-partner territory and more of a stomping ground for spirited feasting with friends.
WE LIKED exploring the beautifully curated drinks list which takes visitors on a whistle-stop tour of South West artisan distilleries. Wriggle through the horde at the bar and order your perfect serve from a 50-strong craft spirits list, or take your drink order next-level via an expertly constructed cocktail.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter Smoked duck salad with orange and caramelised walnuts
Main Roasted lamb striploin, braised lamb shoulder, black garlic puree, roscoff onion, savoy cabbage and mashed potatoes
Pud Crème brûlée with raspberries and strawberries
3 courses from £15.95
As featured in food Magazine’s November 2019 issue.
Chilled chocolatey stout on tap, old school authenticity and utterly stonking food in the countryside: paradise found, decides Jo Rees