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A CHEF'S GUIDE TO NORTH DEVON | THOMAS CARR

10th August 2018

Categories: Visitor News

A Chef’s Guide to North Devon

Eateries, dining experiences and all things tasty, food is something we have in abundance here in North Devon. To find out where the best places to eat are in North Devon, we thought we’d approach Michelin-starred chef Thomas Carr. He told us a range of his favourites, including where he likes to head for a light bite, an evening meal or traditional North Devon Fish and Chips.

An Interview with Thomas Carr

Q. Where is your favourite place for a pub lunch?

A. I think the Pyne Arms in East Down is a great little pub, serving delicious dishes from a great menu all featuring quality local produce, which is something I love to see establishments promoting.

Q. Where is your favourite place for a Sunday roast?

A. Mother’s house! You can’t beat a home cooked meal, true comfort.

Q. Where is your favourite place to visit for fine dining?

A. I don’t really get the time to eat at fine dining restaurants but for me fine dining isn’t always about being sat in a nice restaurant. As long as you’re eating something fresh and local, you are on to a good thing. My equivalent would be some great fish and chips from somewhere like Lynbay in Ilfracombe.

Q. Where is your favourite place to eat overall?

A. I really like the Siam Bistro in Braunton. A great place for delicious and traditional Thai food.

Q. Where is your favourite place for seafood?

A. There are far too many great seafood restaurants to choose from, next on my list is The Boathouse in Instow, i’ve heard great things!  

Q. Where is your ‘guilty pleasure’ place to eat - one that you know you shouldn’t like, but can’t help it?

A. To me, you can’t beat a pizza from Munchies takeaway on Ilfracombe High Street and enjoy it in front of the TV, a real guilty pleasure of mine.

Q. Where is the best place to buy local produce?

A. We are so spoilt for choice in North Devon for local produce and wherever you are in the area you can find some great suppliers. I really like delis like Johns of Instow and The Deli on Ilfracombe High Street.

Q. Which are your favourite local products?

A. Obviously I am a huge fan of local fish, especially mackerel, lobster and crab. We’re also really lucky to have some fantastic local veg too.

Q. What is your favourite thing to cook using local products?

A. Mackerel and beetroot, they accompany each other perfectly

Q. Which town is the best to visit to get the best food in North Devon?

A. It has to be Ilfracombe. It’s a beautiful town with great access to fresh, local produce with such a fantastic array of restaurants.

Q. Which restaurant would you recommend for friends visiting?

A.  There are lots of great local restaurants but I would have to be a bit biased and say Thomas Carr Seafood & Grill. We’re really proud of how the new restaurant is growing and it’s such a great place to relax with friends, enjoy some great food and take advantage of our bar and cocktail menus. Now that the outside courtyard is complete with the wood-fired oven it’s a lovely place to spend a few hours catching up with friends and family.

Q. How do the seasons affect the local produce?

A. It’s great to see the variation in local vegetables plus as we get into the colder months I think the quality of the seafood improves.

Q. What are your favourite seasonal local products?

A. I’m a great fan of Autumn. I love the array of colours, especially when it comes to vegetables, it’s a special time for vegetables like squashes and pumpkins.

Q. Do you have a favourite foodie activity in North Devon?

A. I really enjoy going to Twitchen Forest with my son, Ben. It’s really close to where we live and it’s perfect for walking and picking up ingredients like wild garlic or blackberries which we take home and cook with.

Q. Where is your favourite place to go that the tourists don’t know about?

A. I can’t tell you as it’s a secret! Although I will let you know that some of my other (now less secretive!) favourite places are Combesgate Beach in Woolacombe and my favourite surfing spot is Lynmouth.

A massive thank you to Thomas Carr for letting us in on some of his best kept food secrets, that are less secret now! Are you a fan of any of the establishments Thomas mentioned? Where are your guilty pleasures and favourite hidden gems in the area? Let us know over on our Facebook or Twitter pages, we’d love to hear them.

READ NEXT:  3 reasons to visit North Devon this August

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