Rebecca Fox indulges at Kingsteignton’s fine-dining establishment
When chef Colin Seymour and his partner, Chris, joined The Thatched Cottage Restaurant three years ago, they were determined to establish a great reputation for fine dining and à la carte evening menus. "The ingredients we get in Devon are absolutely fantastic – and a chef is only ever as good as his ingredients," says Colin who has been in the industry 24 years. "I source my fish from a Teignmouth day boat – you can't get fresher than that – and I often get gamekeepers turning up at my door with half a dozen rabbits."
Colin enjoys the change of flavours that comes with using seasonal produce and his lunchtime specials menu reflects this. "For the best meat in the area we use Turtons of Devon in Cullompton, for fruit and vegetables we use Steers greengrocers and we source our dairy produce from Hawkridge near Crediton, or Riverford Dairies." During the summer, Colin and Chris grow some produce in the restaurant garden, from cherry tomatoes to strawberries, and a large selection of herbs.
Based in an old farmhouse, the restaurant's dining area is quite big and is a great venue for parties or wedding receptions. It has a homely feel, with an open fire, wooden beams and cosy decor. The service was impeccable but not too formal, so the atmosphere throughout the evening was fun and friendly.
We were treated to an amuse bouche of melt-in-the-mouth fried feta, before our starters arrived. I chose seared red mullet fillets, which were bursting with flavour, served with a generous amount of linguine drizzled in basil oil, toasted pine nuts and parmesan shavings for an Italian twist. My husband chose the tian of succulent white crabmeat, served with avocado and tomato.
Next came roasted venison with sweet braised red cabbage, perfectly cooked boulangère potato, and a delicious juniper and red wine sauce. The juniper berry really lifted the dish, adding a layer of complexity to it. To complement the venison, I enjoyed a glass of Australian shiraz.
My husband chose the medley of seafood and shellfish, with langoustine broth and horseradish crème fraîche. With haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns, plus mange tout to add colour and crunch, the dish was a vibrant mix of tastes and textures. More sophisticated than a chowder, each spoonful of the broth had a delicate flavour that was not overpowering.
For dessert, I couldn't resist the walnut shortbread carefully stacked in a tower with spiced poached pear, clementine and orange syrup. The shortbread was thin and light, and the highlight was the delicious spiced pear. My husband's toffee cheesecake was heavenly, not too sweet, with a thick texture, beautifully served with clotted cream and spun sugar.
Completely full, we had to skip coffee and the most amazing petit fours that I spied on the next table. But it is always nice to have a reason to go back!
Published 2 January 2013
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