Fiona Griffiths receives a warm welcome from this relaxed, family-friendly restaurant
30 April 2018
The Phoenix is the kind of venue every small town should have: open for breakfasts and coffees, through to light lunches and evening meals, it caters for everyone and every occasion.
Ian Nixon (head chef) and his wife Tracey (front of house) have used their considerable experience in hospitality and raising a family to make The Phoenix a very welcoming place. There are sofas for lounging on, a big box of toys, homemade cakes and lots of great value offers: soup and a sandwich £4.95; coffee and cake £2.95; under three’s eat free with a paying adult; and fish and chip Fridays, £20 for two.
The restaurant is spacious, with a relaxed, easy vibe. We felt right at home dining with our two children, alongside other families, couples and groups of friends. The evening menu offers some ambitious-sounding dishes, all based on high-quality, local ingredients.
I started with the smoked salmon mousse vol-au-vent, a retro dish successfully brought up-to-date with some lemon aioli and dressed rocket leaves. My husband’s king prawns – coated in an unusual ‘red velvet’ breadcrumb – tasted really fresh, as did my main course of Crediton chicken supreme marinated in crème fraiche, coriander and lime, accompanied by a fine herb and pine kernel salad.
Richard’s main was the pan-seared lamb rump with a herb crust, nicely cooked, served with Mediterranean-style roasted vegetables and a pearl barley jus. Our two boys were more than happy with their sausages, beans and chips and macaroni cheese with garlic bread from the children’s menu. The fat chips with the sausages (and the skin-on fries I had with my main course) were cooked to perfection.
For dessert, Richard had the Bramley apple tart simply served with crème anglaise, while I was intrigued by ‘Ian’s signature cup’. It turned out to be a cup, saucer and spoon made out of tuile biscuit, with the cup hiding a rich dark chocolate mousse inside.
Fiona loves: the excellent chips – both fat and thin, the family-friendly atmosphere
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