Written by Josephine Walbank
If there’s one thing that the South West does best, it’s setting new foodie trends (well, it’s either that or repping English beaches). With this in mind, we’ve gathered our pick of some of the region’s top trendsetters, who are doing things slightly differently and paving the way for the future of foward-thinking foodies.
Court Arcade, Wharf Rd, St Ives TR26 1LF
St Ives has never been a place to follow convention, and Yallah sticks by the region’s standpoint on originality, for sure. You’ll often find the roaster hanging out (literally) of this unusual coffee pit-stop, and the feel-good vibe is infectious. If you’re after your next quality cuppa, just keep your eyes peeled for the switcharoo-mermaid illustration. You can’t miss it.
12-14 Butchers Row, Barnstaple EX31 1BW
From its North Devon base, Block cafe boasts a menu brimming with global, soulful dishes. The friendly, urban cafe unites a charming small town vibe with a menu listing a world of scrummy, intriguing innovations. Plus, if you’ve booked some time off for a North Devonian coastal trip, keep an evening free for one of Block’s famous supper club events; long tables of shared-style informal feasting… you don’t need to ask me twice.
42 Brook St, Bampton, Tiverton EX16 9LY
After the huge success of The Swan, Paul and Donna took flight once more and launched Spelt in Bampton (with the name paying homage to the site’s former bakery which dated right back to the 1700’s). The Barcelona-inspired venue has made its own twist on tapas dining, with the couple’s own take on sharing-style dishes; ditching the British ‘starter, main, dessert’ rules and regulations.
The ‘Simply Spelt’ menu is brimming with treats, including dishes like Exmoor lamb scrumpet with tomato jam, and sweet potato with a carrot and brie roulade, bolognese sauce and basil. Tuck in.
50 Fore St, Totnes TQ9 5RP
This chirpy team of young guns sure know how to rustle up some fantastic grub. The restaurant started out in Totnes as the passion project of three young friends – Declan, Harrison and Oli – who met during their studies in Exeter college. The trio are quick learners, and continue to grow from strength to strength. They champion Devonian produce, and their venue utilises the more forgotten foragable foods from land and sea.
Pasta Ripiena, Bristol
33 St Stephen’s St, Bristol BS1 1JX
This is the UK’s very first ravioli restaurant, no less, and the menu is simple in its ambitions; firmly ethical Italian and Spanish produce cooked traditionally and elegantly. The pasta is made fresh daily in house by the team, and the indulgent menu includes innovations like wild boar tortellini with pork belly, roast grapes, Pedro Ximenez and caramelised chicory. Plus, this sister venue to Pasta Loco has certainly inherited the luxurious and honest good-food genetic traits of its Bristolian family.
Unit 9 Cargo 1, Gaol Ferry Steps, Bristol BS1 6WP
Veggies and sharing plates are the two big hitters in the latest foodie trends, but if you’re struggling to pick your fave, Root ticks both boxes. This gorgeous Bristol hot-spot, perched right by the River Avon in trendy Wapping Wharf, specialises in casual and unfussy with a gorgeous menu listing inspired funky veg combos. Take your pick from a lentil and mushroom kiev, chicory with ewe’s curd and candied walnut, or beetroot with berries, hazlenuts and seaweed.
The Angel Taste of Devon, Dartmouth
2 S Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH
It’s a joy to see that more and more women are joining the ranks of the nation’s top chefs. At the very top of the industry is Elly Wentworth; the inspiring chef behind the sensational Angel restaurant, prepping exceptional food with a firmly local focus. In 1974, the then-owner Joyce Molyeneux was one of the first UK women to gain a Michelin Star, and now the legacy continues, as the torch has been passed on to this 2018 Masterchef Professionals Finalist.
Barley Wood Walled Garden, Long Lane, Wrington, Bristol BS40 5SA
Bristol has always been one to set the country’s trends, so it’s not surprising that a good few of their own made this list (plus we loved a walled garden, after all). This veg-centric venue champions the very best of nature’s larder, in its colourful and delicate dishes. The menus are titled after the shifting seasons – scarcity, growth, fruiting, harvest, festivity – and showcase the triumphs of each natural phase of the calendar. Vegetables and fungi are grown on site and prepared with great care, with charcoal roasting taking place on the kitchen’s own stunning open charcoal grill.
The Strawberry Tree, Dorset
Ed and Giselle have combined their expertise in Spain’s sensational food, drink and culture, to provide their guests with gourmet evenings of ‘slow Spanish food’, sounds dreamy right?
The couple’s busy events calendar includes popup tapas evenings, Cook & Dine days, tutored tastings, supper clubs and even guided food and wine tours both at home and abroad. Once your bellies are full, the evenings encourage guests to indulge in some quality ‘sobremesa’ (a Spanish word for that special post-dinner chit-chat around a table) with loved ones.
Bahama Mamas, Falmouth
15A Killigrew St, Falmouth TR11 3PN
At any time of day, from breakfast right through to your late evening cocktails, you can be sure that this Falmouth hotspot has got the goods to brighten your day. The hang-out atmos and laid-back vibe of this Jamaican-inspired restaurant pairs perfectly with the nutritious, authentic menu. From Jamaican ackee and salt fish roti wraps, to a rack of ribs infused with the house rum and BBQ sauce, the delicious dishes are sure to introduce you to something new.