Can’t get a table at any of the seaside dining spots? Escape the coastal crowds and enjoy cosmopolitan thrills at one of these city restaurants instead
Barbican Kitchen, Plymouth (pictured above)
Well established as a gourmet go-to on Devon’s culinary map, Chris and James Tanner’s Barbican Kitchen continues to deliver the gastronomic goods 16 years on.
Situated inside the historic building that’s also home to the Plymouth Gin Distillery (and where the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night before setting sail on the Mayflower), the location makes for an inspiring experience, even before you’ve tasted the delicious cooking. The ancient stone harbourside building is set off by contemporary styling to create a successful meeting of old and new.
A relaxed-dining vibe pairs well with a smart-casual menu. Dishes are built around locally sourced ingredients such as fresh Cornish fish landed by Looe dayboats and meat from the excellent Philip Warren Butchers in Launceston. This fine fare is expertly crafted into creative dishes such as slow-cooked pork belly with tiger prawns and masala-spiced cauliflower, among a fleet of modern British classics.
Rock Salt Cafe & Brasserie, Plymouth
Make it a foodie weekend away and pair a visit to Barbican Kitchen with dinner at Rock Salt, where delicious dining is in the capable hands of award winning chef patron Dave Jenkins.
Dave has combined his love of Asian cuisine, local ingredients and creative cooking at this unique all-day-dining spot where, come the weekend, smart brunch plates such as truffle mac ’n’ cheese with smoked tomato relish and homemade garlic sourdough riff on classic compilations. Indulgent dinner dishes such as sticky pulled pork with fresh papaya, and molten cocoa fondant pudding don’t disappoint. Vegans are welcome too; creative plant-based options include pulled jackfruit bao buns and tempura tofu.
Hooked! Restaurant & Bar, Truro
Bold blue punctuates the interior at this laid-back Truro spot, and the bright statement carries through to the Hooked! Restaurant menu where moreish dishes throw the spotlight on the gloriously fresh catch plucked from surrounding Cornish waters.
Who could imagine leaving a scrap on their plate when digging into a Hooked! shellfish platter of mussels steamed in garlic, white wine and cream; spiced king prawn skewers; scallops; whole jumbo prawns; and crispy squid, served with salad, aioli and fries? Choose the large portion for date night – it’s perfect for sharing.
The open kitchen gives diners a sneak peek at the team preparing seasonal, globally influenced dishes such as Japanese-style vegetable ramen and Goan seafood curry. Locally inspired tapas dishes provide winning options for picky eaters with a taste for dishes such as rich Cornish crab soup with homemade bread, and beef carpaccio with parmesan, white truffle and rocket.
The gold-slicked Second Floor Restaurant inside Bristol’s glam department store isn’t necessarily the first place you’d look for seasonal and local cooking, but the team revel in surpassing diners’ expectations.
Harvey Nichols’ in-house restaurant has built a gleaming reputation for delivering smart, crowd-pleasing menus crafted with creative flair. And, just like the ever-changing collections in the clothing department, dishes change with the seasons and in line with what’s fresh, ripe and available from the South West’s bountiful larder of produce.
Treat yourself to a well-deserved lunch break in the middle of a shopping schlep around Bristol – it’ll feed your soul as well as your exhausted body – and take advantage of the special lunchtime menus which are priced extremely keenly. Or head here for dinner with friends (this is very definitely dinner with the girls territory) and settle in for a long and sociable supper at this comfortable oasis in the city.
Harvey Nichols has recently launched its summer dining offer which includes three courses and a cocktail for just £30. Find out more here.
The Mint Room, Bath
Local produce is given a sparkling Indian sub-continent makeover at this glittering restaurant on the edge of Bath city centre. You’re not likely to stumble over this one, so it’s worth knowing about The Mint Room’s delightful offering if you love good cooking and an exotic aesthetic.
A glamorous interior is the setting in which innovative chefs Soyful Alam and Sheikh Ahmed’s smart fine dining dishes shine. The pair play with flavour combinations which draw from both traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine and hot, sour, tangy, spicy and sweet notes delight the palate in their breadth and depth.
Dishes are matched with wines to complement the flavours and heat of the dishes, so you can have fun experimenting with suggested pairings and try combinations that are out of the ordinary.