Advantages Fresh, modern restaurant in a beautiful Devon setting
Disadvantages Can't really think of any!
|Value for Money|
|Standard of Menu|
|Standard of Service|
Mrs NC and I do like to have a time in the week that is just for us. It's not that we don't adore Little NC but when she's in nursery and we have a chance to ourselves, we take it. This usually manifests in a trip to the cinema or walk along the beach but last Friday we decided on a trip to a local restaurant that had recently been completely refurbished. The Redwing Bar & Grill is only a short walk from the house which has its benefits not only in a bit of extra fitness from walking but also because it meant I could try out some of the beers! The restaurant is in a small village in Devon, called Lympstone. It is off the main road from Exeter to Exmouth but it truly worth a trip from the beaten track.
The restaurant is situated on the main road through Lympstone village. As you would expect from such an ancient village, the road was not made for modern vehicular traffic so you must drive through very slowly. I like this feature of the village and wish more were like it. There is ample parking by the restaurant and within the village.The entrance, itself, is perhaps the only negative we could think of for the entire visit. The entrance door on the side of the building opens in to the path of the disabled ramp. If trying to enter with a wheelchair, it might present a bit of a problem but I would expect that I am wrong on this as I am sure there are rules that govern such accesses. It did just seem to be a bit of a squeeze.
As with the outside, the inside has a very modern yet upmarket feel. There is a wooden bar serving a range of domestic and international drinks; you can order food to sit in this area too. At the rear is a conservatory-type space that looks out on to the garden. This is where we sat after good advice from the waitress. It was a lovely temperature in there and had a great view of the garden area.
Our waitress returned to us after approx 5 mins to ask for our drinks. I ordered a Brooklyn Beer (imported from New york) while Mrs NC had a J2O. They were delivered swiftly and congenially. On delivering our drinks we then gave our food order. Our waitress knew all the specials, was able to give good advice and even made suggestions without having to consult the kitchen first. We decided to share a Baked Camembert with Red Onion Relish while Mrs NC had the Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomato & Rocket Salad and I had the Penne Carbonara with Grilled Chicken. Mrs NC is not that partial to Tomatoes or Rocket and so the waitress was quick to offer delicious alternatives. While waiting for the starter, we were given a small selection of bread and salted butter, complimentary too. Our starter took approx 8 mins to arrive and was simply divine. The Camembert was bursting in its crust and a small prick with the fork resulted in it erupting like lava across the platter. It was a large cheese that we wolfed down with freshly warmed baguette. While tucking in to that, the owner (Fitz Spencer) came across to ensure all was ok with the meal. He noted the beer I had chosen and politely enquired as to why I had selected it. Apparently, it is a bit of a pet project for him to source certain items from his travels across the world. We had a quick chat about it and he then moved on. A completely unobtrusive interruption that showed he and his staff really did care about our experience. After no more than about 15-20 mins, our main courses arrived and what a feast! Mrs NC was delighted with her salad change and immediately dived in to the salmon. Crispy on the underside and moist & juicy where it mattered, she was very pleased, especially as fish isn't usually her first option. She'll be trying that one again soon! My penne carbonara was about as close to perfect pasta as I've had. The sauce was ever so slightly salty from the ham, complimenting the chicken and salad perfectly. It was a good thing we had walked down to work up an appetite as the portions were very large. For the price (more later), we were not expecting the greatest of portions. We were very wrong and pleasantly so. The only downside from the portion size was that we were too full for desert. Of course, it does mean that we will have to go again in order to sample that side of the house.
All important, an atmosphere is what truly makes an establishment. As I said, it was approximately 1/3 full at the time and we were seated in the same area as most of the others. Looking around, everyone seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. while there was lively conversation going on, we did not feel like our meal was being intruded upon. The layout is spacious enough to give you your own privacy while still feeling part of the overall ambience. From the warm welcome to the decor, we felt like we were part of a truly local, village experience.
As with our entrance to the restaurant, we were given warm smiles and goodbyes as we left.
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