Lucy Baker-Kind enjoys inspired home-cooked vegetarian food in tranquil surroundings on her recent visit to this popular café and nursery.
There can’t be many places you can sit by a babbling river, surrounded by nature, eating from vintage china, being interrupted only by the occasional steam train whistle! Staverton Bridge Nursery is just such a place. This oasis of calm and tranquillity is just off the main Totnes road but, once you are seated in the pretty garden and chic café, you could be a million miles away from civilisation.
The focus is on home-cooked vegetarian food, using local produce – it certainly delivered. We visited on a sunny lunchtime, and it was popular with both families and groups of young friends. Steph, the owner, has run the café for five years, and she and her staff gave us a warm welcome to match the sunshine.
We chose from the ever-changing seasonal menu. I chose the salad of charred sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, sugar snaps and salad leaves on a bed of labneh, with a chimichurri dressing, and was presented with a colourful combination of summer flavours. It could not have been fresher, with the salad leaves grown metres away in the nursery, and the sugar snaps adding a satisfying crunch. There was a hint of barbecue from the charred sweetcorn, plus a subtle kick from the chimichurri dressing. The overall taste was zingy and uplifting.
My husband went for the Balinese spiced chickpea curry, with coriander and coconut chutney, cauliflower, cashew and raisin couscous. The curry was wholesome and filling, with plenty of firm chickpeas, and had enough heat without being overpowering. The chutney was deemed “incredibly good” and was a refreshing companion to the creamy curry. The couscous had a hint of sweetness from the raisins and contributed to the dish being a runaway success.
Our boys enjoyed the children’s cheddar with a home-baked roll – the cheese was declared “delicious” and the roll’s seeds added nutritional value.
We finished our lunch with a chocolate chip cookie and rye brownie with salted caramel. The boys demolished the cookie in seconds, and I can announce that the brownie was the best I have ever tasted! It was gooey, fudgy and moreish, but not stodgy – the perfect companion to Organic Fairtrade espressos served in delicate vintage cups.
The boys sampled Tom Morrow’s elderberry cordial, which was not as sweet and sickly as a standard children’s squash, and had plenty of fruit flavour. The drinks menu includes local beers, ciders, wines, loose leaf teas and even Champagne if you feel like celebrating.
Steph’s ethos is to use local produce, home-made and home-grown where possible, and this results in tasty, hearty, and healthy meals. With a wooden playhouse, summerhouse, a yurt, tables by the river, and indoor seating complete with vintage chandelier and quirky objects for sale, there is enough room for everybody in this little slice of idyll.
Breakfast (until 11.30am)
Homemade organic sugar-free granola with yoghurt and seasonal compote
Toast, organic butter & preserves
Dip, flatbread & green salad
Breakfast from £2
Lunch from £5.95
Check the board for daily specials. The Nursery holds regular Pop-Up Supper Club evenings for £25 per person, plus Friday Nights on the Deck events (the next is on 2 September). Visit the website for further details.
Published 22 August 2016
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