The Woolacombe Bay Hotel in North Devon is worth a visit for its spectacular setting alone. The sea views are unbeatable and the spacious, upmarket hotel adds a touch of class to any occasion.
Within its walls lies Doyle’s Restaurant, where the relaxed, yet impressive, surroundings set the scene for memorable dining. Chandeliers are suspended from high ceilings, William Morris-style wallpaper, mahogany furnishings and crisp linen napkins all add to its elegance.
Doyle’s has recently been awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence, so we were keen to sample its menu.
My partner set the expectation bar high when, out of character, he ordered a vegetarian starter of fresh fig and Driftwood goat’s cheese salad. The flavours and textures – goat’s cheese dressing, port-infused raisins, walnuts, pea shoots and ciabatta crisps – were perfectly balanced.
In another break from tradition, we chose a Chardonnay wine from Romania, which was zesty and peachy, and just the right partner for my starter of pan-seared queen scallops. They shone texturally and were fresh tasting, served on a warm, creamy diced potato and tangy chorizo salad, with lemon, rocket, tarragon and a wholegrain mustard dressing.
I followed with a 28-day matured sirloin steak – rich, succulent and juicy. It came with a delicious brandy and green peppercorn sauce, garlic baked field mushroom, balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes and the best home-cut chips I have ever tasted: a crisp outside, encasing a fluffy centre.
My partner’s roasted Creedy Carver duck breast was luxuriously rich in flavour and sweet to taste. It was beautifully presented and served with vegetables that enhanced the flavour – dauphinoise potatoes, heritage carrots, broccoli, caramelised pear, and a zesty port and orange sauce.
He finished indulgently with sticky toffee pudding, served with vanilla pod ice cream, salted caramel sauce, white chocolate fudge and fresh redcurrant – a sweet and intense take on a British classic. My dark chocolate and pistachio tart with a chocolate glaze, citrus-frosted almonds and coffee cream was sumptuous with hidden layers of taste.
Watching the crashing waves of the Atlantic from our table added a sense of complete contentment to an evening spent in fine surroundings, with excellent service and outstanding food. We had no hesitation in sending our heartfelt compliments to the chef.
Taste Buds is published by We Make Magazines, a family-owned Devon company. Taste Buds is produced using Devon-based writers, chefs, photographers and sales team. It is printed on environmentally friendly paper.
… just like the food we write about, Taste Buds is lovingly made using the finest local ingredients!
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Jeff Cooper: 01626 871161
Jennie Cooper: 01626 871161
Julie Hutchins: 07843 621463