Sunday, 4 January 2015
First-class lunch at Budleigh's Premier Café
There’s a limit to what you can do with the rest of the turkey after Christmas Day. Catering for those seasonal massive family gatherings can also get a bit much for any cook.
So it’s quite a relief to get away from loading and unloading the dishwasher for the umpteenth time and go for the occasional meal out.
And living by the sea as we do, it seemed only natural to impress our guests with a visit to The Premier Café, Budleigh’s only fish restaurant.
We had a warm welcome from owners Simon and Liz Blissett: the complimentary dish of whitebait fillets and sweet potato balls was a nice touch and kept us occupied while we made our choice from an extensive menu.
I first came across Simon in March 2009 when he was cheerfully standing in a bucket of mushy peas on Budleigh High Street to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day. I was so struck by the unusual sight that I wrote about it at http://exmouthroadies.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/i-saw-some-funny-things-today-on-my-way.html
Simon enjoys having fun but he takes this fish business very seriously. The informative website tells us that there has been a family-run fish and chip shop at 7 Chapel Street since 1937.
The Premier Café, on Chapel Street. Only a few minutes' walk from the beach
Only the best, freshest ingredients are used, say Simon and Liz. All the fish comes from sustainable sources and is supplied by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) registered companies. Chips are, whenever possible, produced from Maris Piper potatoes, as they believe these to be the best potato for chipping.
Previously my only acquaintance with The Premier Café had been with the ‘take away’ side, so the dishes in the restaurant were something of an eye-opener. Prawn twisters with sweet chilli sauce were a popular choice of starter for our party, but I had Exe mussels cooked in cider, which were excellent. Among other fish dishes listed on the menu were wild seabass, lemon sole, mackerel, crab and swordfish.
For the main course, fish cooked in traditional batter with chips proved irresistible to some of us, as did the seafood medley. After all that turkey and Christmas pudding and innumerable glasses of wine back at home I thought I would go for a ‘healthier’ option when I spotted ‘grilled cod with vine tomatoes’ on the specials menu. But I have to confess I was pleased to be told it came with chips. In fact extra helpings of chips are free!
I must also confess that my meal was accompanied by two pints of the excellent cider which goes by the name of St George's Temptation, from the Darts Farm-based Green Valley Cyder Company. This slightly sweet variety, one of various local brews stocked by The Premier Café went extremely well with the fish, which was beautifully cooked.
There’s a full range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Among other locally produced dishes on the menu were Budleigh’s own Georgie Porgie steamed puddings, including some made with orange and Cointreau, apple and cider and lemon and Pimms. The younger family members coped well with dessert, but I found that two courses were more than enough for me.
We paid £103 for six people, including drinks but excluding service. That was for a meal which we all felt was thoroughly enjoyable. We’ll definitely be back.
Naturally The Premier Café is a Corporate Friend of Fairlynch Museum.
The website is http://www.budleighfishandchips.co.uk/