The South West’s original fine-dining guide launched its 30th anniversary edition at a multi-Michelin-starred lunch at Michael Caines’ Lympstone Manor on Monday October 31
For 30 years, the Trencherman’s Guide has revealed the most notable dining experiences in the South West, including exceptional places to dine and stay. It’s also tracked the careers of some of the region’s most notable chefs, from Michael Caines and Nathan Outlaw to Mark Hix and Elly Wentworth.
Each annual edition of the guide is launched at a special lunch event, attended by chefs and restaurateurs who feature in the book, and this year Lympstone Manor, the award-winning country house hotel owned and run by Trencherman’s Guide chairman, Michael Caines MBE, played host (scroll down for a gallery of images from the event, taken by photographer Guy Harrop).
The lunch kicked off with canapes and Salcombe Gin and tonics before a fabulous feast. Each course was cooked by a leading Trencherman’s member chef: the starter was a ruby beetroot, Exmoor caviar and alliums dish created by Chris Cleghorn of The Olive Tree Restaurant in Bath; the fish course of scallop, carrot and chilli crafted by Adam Handling of Ugly Butterfly in Cornwall; a main course showcased Powderham venison, red cabbage, beetroot, juniper, jasmine and red wine sauce and was from Michael Caines’ own brigade. Lunch closed on a delicious high with a geranium, verbena and sorrel tart with fennel honey and yogurt, by Ian Webber of The Farmers Arms in Devon. The courses were paired with fine wines from Hallgarten & Novum Wines and beers from Sharp’s Brewery.
Trencherman’s editor Jo Rees said: ‘The feedback from the chefs and restaurateurs who were part of, and attended, the launch event was that it was the best yet – quite something for a guide that’s been going for three decades! The food and drink was incredible, as you’d expect from so many highly decorated chefs, the service on-point and the surroundings uber glam.
‘Anyone who hasn’t yet got the new edition of guide really should get their skates on as it’s a passport to 116 fabulous independent restaurants – including 40 new members – from across the South West which are only included because they’ve reached the extremely high criteria. These are the kinds of places serving fish landed just down the road, that are growing their own veg and making bread from scratch in their own kitchens. Having a copy of the Trencherman’s Guide on your coffee table is a guarantee of exceptional dining this year.
‘Beyond that, when diners visit these independent South West restaurants, they’re also supporting the region’s unique and vibrant food culture and its farmers, growers, butchers, wine merchants and the local people who work in those businesses.
‘Big thanks to everyone who cooked, took part in the event, attended and, of course, the incredible partners who work with Trencherman’s to keep this institution so fresh, relevant and high-end: Darts Farm, Frobishers, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, Noble Isle, PKF Francis Clark, Salcombe Distilling Co., Sharp’s Brewery, South West 660 and Total Produce.’
The glove-box-size guide can be purchased from the website (which also includes write ups on each of the current member restaurants) and sourced from member restaurants. To stay up to date with new finds, foodie events and recommended places to visit, foodies can sign up to receive the weekly Trencherman’s email newsletter.
Scroll down to see what went down on the day. Photographs by Guy Harrop.