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Fish dish served at the Bucket and Spade

Review
The Bucket & Spade, Shaldon

Come for the sea views, stay for the exceptional finishing touches

As anyone who lives near Torquay and Shaldon will tell you, driving along the A379 is like being in a computer game. You need complete focus, a steely nerve and perfect positioning as you negotiate the extreme twists and turns on this scenic but bendy route. It’s why I’ve probably never really noticed the Bucket & Spade until we went there for lunch recently.

I felt a bit daft when we turned into the entrance, because the Bucket & Spade café, kitchen and bar is a sizeable building, set within the Coast View Holiday Park, overlooking the A379. How could I have missed this place?

Inside, it is full of stylish seaside charm. We were early (I lunch like a pensioner – 12pm on the dot) and had the choice of the best seats in the house. The first thing you feast on here is the view. Sea as far as the eye can see, fishing boats on the horizon, some guy bravely trying to waterski… we forgot what we were here to do for a minute, until the lovely waitress handed us a menu.

Local ingredients not mucked about with is the reassuring flavour of the food here. My husband Luke went for a West Country steak and blue cheese ciabatta with a caramelised onion relish. The steak, from Gibbins Quality Meats in Exeter, was really melt-in-the-mouth tender – a fact that surprised us both. Usually, steak sandwiches are a way to use up the cuts that don’t quite make the cut. Not this one. This was a celebration of prime beef fillet, and the addition of blue cheese made a great companion.

I ordered the fish goujon ciabatta: lightly battered Brixham haddock with rocket and tartare sauce. What a lovely thing to eat beside the sea. The batter was really crispy, the fish flaky and full of flavour. Again, it was all of a quality far higher than you’d expect from a sarnie. And the bread – often the least considered but vitally important component – was exceptional. Just the right softness. We also ordered fries because posh sandwiches and fries are just the best. I would happily eat that for lunch every day because I’m a carb queen.

Both ciabattas came with a colourful side salad, topped off with a seasoned chickpea and quinoa mix. Luke also ordered a side of pickled slaw. These little finishing touches maketh the meal, I reckon. Stale bread and sorry-looking leaves so often let down a quick-fix lunch like this.

We’ll return to the Bucket & Spade for lunch, and maybe even dinner, again soon. Now, that I know where it is.

Lunch is served daily (including Sunday), breakfast from Wednesday to Sunday, and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.

Sample Menu

(subject to seasonal changes)

  • Chorizo, halloumi and sun-dried tomato sourdough pizza
  • Peroni-battered crispy prawns
  • Smoked duck, peach and walnut salad
  • Fish and chips: 6-8oz Brixham fillet of the day in a light tempura batter, thick chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce

Prices

Lunchtime meals from £8

Chrissy loves: the sea views, quality local ingredients and finishing touches
The Bucket & Spade
Coast View Holiday Park
Torquay Road
Shaldon
Devon TQ14 0BG

01626 818450
thebucketandspade.com

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