Thursday, 29 April 2010

Farewell King Billy... Welcome Ocean House!

Ocean House Café & Deli

Yet another local landmark has been lost with the demise of Budleigh Salterton's King William pub. It's a sign of the times, with 52 going out of business every week at a cost of 24,000 jobs over the past 12 months, according to research carried out last year for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

The King William Hotel, fondly known in Budleigh as the King Billy

Equally a sign of the times is the success of King Billy's replacement, the Ocean House Café & Deli, where new owners Robin and Nikki Townsend have made their mark on the Budleigh gastro scene by providing healthy food with a strong salad theme and a dash of the Mediterranean.

I tried one of their platters some months ago and was impressed by the care which had gone into the arrangement of all those green leaves and other healthy items on the plate. A few days ago I went back with a hungry son-in-law and two noisy grandchildren, this time with my camera to record the happy family scene as well as the colourful dishes.

The food took just a little longer than expected to arrive, but we'd arrived at a busy moment, the waitress was politely apologetic and of course the Ocean House Café's boast is that "We don't serve fast food, we prepare good food as fast as we can." Anyway, just sitting and waiting in the light and airy surroundings which make for a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere is no great hardship. And there is a good selection of beers, wines and soft drinks.

I was relieved to hear full marks being awarded by my demanding foodie family from Tunbridge Wells when the dishes did arrive. "The best steak pie I've ever tasted" was son-in-law Tom's verdict. He'd arrived before us so I finished off the remains of his bean and chilli soup (£4.95) to keep me going. Deliciously hot and spicy.

I then had a bruschetta, shown above, with slices of Parma ham and shavings of Italian Pecorino cheese (£5.95).

Meanwhile my friend Annie was tucking into the excellent hand-raised Ocean House platter of hand-raised pork pie and salad, pictured above, which I'd had on the previous occasion. The platters range in price from £6.95 to £8.95. I noticed pizzas on the menu (£6.95/£7.95) to match the Mediterranean theme but there was also Devon Rarebit - "Cheddar cheese with a pinch of English mustard, a glug of Devon ale and a dash of Worcester sauce served on a generous slice of toasted artisan bread (£5.95).

There was a large range of delicious-looking cakes and pastries but the grand-children were getting restive and we felt it was time to move on. Maybe next time.

The Ocean House Café and Deli is open every day from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm and serves lunch from 12 noon - 2.30 pm.
Ocean House Café and Deli
7 High Street
Budleigh Salterton Devon
Tel: 01395 442676
For more details click on

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