Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Archive for March, 2018

The Salutation Inn, Topsham, Devon.

What to do to break up a 200 mile journey to your holiday destination? Lunch on the way, of course. And I can think of no better way to start a holiday than in The Glasshouse at The Salutation Inn.

Topsham is well served for food outlets. There’s straight pub grub and many a gastronomic pub. And a lot of restaurants. And this hotel, which converted what would have been the entrance for Carriages in the 1850s. A dead courtyard space has been glazed over to make an indoor outdoor style eating experience particularly pleasant.

There is one item if available on a menu that I find hard to resist. Moule Mariniere. I tend to stop reading as soon as I see it there. These are local, River Exe dwellers. What’s not to love? We only wanted lightish lunches, so J had an open local Devon Ruby beef sandwich. And I just had the starter size of the mussels.

 

Topsham Mussels

I just wish you could sniff too…

 

They arrived with the usual aplomb and accompaniments. Lots of bread for mopping up the unctuous liquour. A bit of salt free butter (on a tiny bit of slate – lovely touch). A finger bowl to wash up your stickiness afterwards. And reverential silence as you sniffed the fabulous mixture of garlic, shallot, wine, herbs and samphire.  And it’s that level of ingredient that sets this place apart.  Samphire – sometimes called Poor man’s Asparagus, (shape not taste, I think), – is just a perfect accompaniment to any fish. Far more expensive than just parsley or similar additions.  And it signifies  the attitude level of the chefs here.  Only the best ingredients are good enough

I am sorry the innovators of the IT world can’t let you scratch and sniff the photos yet. One day. Suffice to say I had to tell our servers that I felt I had died and gone to heaven. Perfect food. They suggested a dry Rose to complement the food, and boy, it did.

The beef wasn’t bad either…actually, it was amazing too.  Take a look…

Topsham Beef

Lovely non rushed service, tight and calm and professional and involved. What a fabulous start to a holiday. We managed to get the last table…book to prevent the potential for missing an absolute treat.

And here’s the other things you shouldn’t miss – the choice of Patisserie fantastical creations, and a beautifully constructed Macchiato – the king of coffees for my taste.  A sort of tiny Guinness style concoction, with the head on the Espresso replaced with frothy milk.  A fabulous ending…

 

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Jean’s Big Birthday

Celebration Meals

It was my sisters big birthday – it had a zero at the end, and that’s as far as I will go! But what do you do when you are recently confirmed as Gluten intolerant? Or even Coeliac?

I am amazed to learn how many people suffer from this auto immune gut inflammation condition. It has many symptoms including bloating diarrhoea, nausea, indigestion, constipation, malabsorption, iron or Vitamin B12 deficiency, fatigue, and more. Just do a search – you will be amazed. And 1/100 suffer from it…which maybe an underestimate. Milder symptoms may lead to misdiagnosis as (e.g.) Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

And you will all know many people who have cut out Gluten as they are intolerant of it. Every supermarket has lots of gluten free products nowadays.

I had a couple of people away on a residential training course with me recently who were Coeliacs. 2 out of the 12 there…

Both said how much easier it was eating out nowadays, and the catering team at the venue really did know what was what.

Jean 60 family

Which brings me nicely onto our Jean’s birthday bash! She really did want to go out with the family, and had found a restaurant in Liverpool that catered very well for anyone who was Gluten intolerant. It didn’t major on that as its unique difference, but it made it quite clear that they did make sure that their food was suitable for all. I suspect the owner manager might have been a sufferer himself? Also, it is best not to just market as “the gluten free place”, as you might put off ordinary punters? Anyway, they seemed to be doing very well with afternoon tea and bubbles, especially for Baby Showers!

Jean sparker 60

Jam Restaurant (see their website here), was vibrant happy and noisy. The staff were very attentive and helpful, and also seemed to love what they were doing. That doesn’t always happen, as you are probably well aware from your own experience. The menu is light bite, to big appetite to afternoon tea level, to wine bar and snacks. As you can see, we had a grand old time – and a gluten free birthday cake at the end!

Jean birthday cake

Congratulations Sis. It was great to be there…X

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