My husband and I were lacking in the festive spirit, and we were hoping an evening meal would provide the warm atmosphere we needed. Luckily The Steam Packet, a family-owned pub on the banks of the River Dart in Totnes, didn't disappoint.
We were seated in a cosy room overlooking the outside decking, with candles on the tables and subtle music playing. The different light fittings throughout were a quirky touch and it had that relaxed vibe that made you feel you could almost be in someone's home.
Now on to the main reason we were there – the food. Harry, the Manager, was attentive and friendly, and presented us with the standard and specials menus. My starter of pea and asparagus ravioli was excellent – plump parcels of pasta filled with light and delicate flavours. It was topped with rocket, sun-blushed tomato, pesto and generous shavings of parmesan. Nick had the (very generous!) rosemary baked camembert, and the whole mini cheese was smooth and creamy, matched with a tangy red onion marmalade and toasted ciabatta, all beautifully presented on a board.
I plumped for the vegetarian option for the main course – a goats' cheese and beetroot burger, and I wasn't disappointed by the lack of meat. The burger had just the right texture – small cubes of beetroot and soft cheese, with a crunchy coating. The earthy tones of beetroot blended so well with the mild yet creamy goats' cheese. It was served with skinny fries, which were light and fluffy with that satisfying outside crispness, and a ciabatta roll with leaves.
The other main course chosen was home-cooked beef bourguignon, containing tender chunks of beef in a rich meaty sauce that was complemented perfectly by a mild and creamy mash and al dente green beans. Nick is not a fan of mushrooms, yet declared the button mushrooms in the sauce 'brilliant'!
The chocolate brownie was light and moist – not stodgy as some can be. It came with hot chocolate sauce and salted caramel ice cream, and it was a fabulous hit of rich, warm, cold, sweet and salted. It got the thumbs-up!
The Sol Del Oro Sauvignon Blanc from Chile was smooth and zingy and very enjoyable. The wine list had a good selection of white, rosé, red and bubbles to cater for different tastes and budgets. The portions were very generous, but we decided that, as the food had been excellent up to this point, we would like to sample the delights of their desserts. The apple crumble was piping hot and had that gorgeous rustic home-made quality. The apple filling was tangy and soft, and the crumble was crunchy with nuts – perfect combination. The sharp redcurrant garnish finished it off perfectly.
The restaurant was pleasantly busy for a Tuesday evening and it was a convivial atmosphere. I couldn't help but overhear a party on another table declaring it 'delicious'!
If you're wanting excellent quality food and a venue that's welcoming on a winter's night but would be equally inviting on a warm summer's day, then head down to The Steam Packet. You can even stay the night in their newly refurbished bedrooms; I'm sure the breakfast would be outstanding!