Such is the view from The Jetty, the restaurant overlooking the estuary in the Salcombe Harbour Hotel, that I would have been happy with a glass of water and a dry cracker. Almost. However, that would mean that I missed out on the other star of the show – the food.
Headed up by award-winning chef Alex Aitken, The Jetty is all about celebrating fresh local flavours, and it achieved that in abundance.
The restaurant and bar, decorated in shades of blue and sand to reflect the coastal landscape outside, were lively on a chilly night, and we enjoyed a Salcombe Gin (naturally) before being shown to our beautiful table for two in the window. Having placed our order at the bar, the starters arrived swiftly (after a complimentary amuse bouche: a rich, creamy soupçon of sweet potato soup). I had the delicate wild mushroom risotto, whose extra punch of flavour came from the truffle oil drizzled on top. Nick had the crab croquette (the crab had probably been landed on the quay a few hours before), with a salty samphire that accompanies seafood so well.
For mains, my stir fry of Sichuan chicken with king prawns was mouth-watering; the tender chicken pieces delivered a warmth and kick, while the succulent prawns were soft. Topped with bok choi, al dente tenderstem broccoli and cherry tomatoes, with a generous amount of peanuts and cashews, all served on a bed of egg-fried rice, it was a dish packed with flavour and freshness.
The huge rib-eye steak that Nick tucked into was tender, with a smooth Béarnaise sauce. The chunky chips had a pleasingly crisp exterior concealing a fluffy centre.
I noticed that the wines range from £20 a bottle to a blow-the-budget £550.
Due to the generous portions, we decided to share a dessert, and finally narrowed our choice down to lemon posset. It was perfectly refreshing and light, yet with a tart hit of citrus that is needed. Accompanied by two gorgeous homemade shortbread biscuits, it was the perfect finale to an amazing meal.