Bilby Bites - the food blog from Bilby Marketing

Premier Café Budleigh Salterton

In recent months I haven't ventured outside of Exeter for food very much. This is sad, but mostly down to a lack of time. My paid work and volunteer work at The Real Food Store - both of which are great fun and very enjoyable - are my main focus at the moment and my poor food blog is suffering as a result. Well, maybe suffering is too strong ... it is just slipping down the priority list a little. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, JC and I jumped in our lovely new Fiat 500 and skipped town for the evening. The weather was gorgeous and JC had suggested we try the seaside for some fish and chips. A might fine idea as far as I was concerned.

I'd never been to Budleigh Salterton before, which may seem a bit odd, but that East coast of Devon still holds mystery patches for me having lived in Mid and North Devon for the best part of 13 years. Exmouth, Sidmouth, Beer and Branscombe are all familiar coastal destinations, but the gem that is Budleigh had evaded me until now. I was quite taken with the sea front, the lovely buildings and snazzy shops in the high street although they were closed that evening. Probably a good thing. We parked up and walked towards town to find ourselves some fish and chips. The weather was spot on - early September can be such a fantastic time of year - the wind was low enough to sit outside, the temperature was clement and the daylight would hang around long enough for us to munch through to the last chip.

Following signs to the Premier Café, we headed down Chapel Street to find a very sweet looking take-away and café with bunting adorning the front of the building, opposite the inviting Salterton Arms pub. Peering through the pub door I experienced a tiny hint of a wobble about eating outside, before being convinced by JC that our fish and chips on the beach excursion was a much better plan. Cod and chips is the standard order for both of us, so we ordered up at £5.50 each, grabbing a tin of Ben Shaw's shandy and a Diet Coke for good measure. Other fish offerings on the standard takeaway menu included plaice, haddock, scampi and fishcakes. There is also a large option for the cod, haddock and scampi if you fancy pushing the boat out, so to speak. The usual extras are available including mushy peas, curry sauce, onion rings and the interesting choice of either a pea or pineapple fritter which I will definitely add onto my order next time. All extras are a reasonable £1.00 each.

Whilst I don't immediately focus on the hygiene standards of a restaurant unless things are obviously shoddy - for me atmosphere and the flavour of the food is paramount - I will say that the Premier Café stood out as a very clean and organised establishment. Not clinical and soulless, which is altogether different, but noticeably tidy. The restaurant alongside the takeaway bar looked inviting too in a quaint and comfortable way, whilst the menu showcased the local product nicely. Their goat's cheese croquettes with Otter Vale chutney, Brixham crab cakes and Cornish butterfly lemon sardines as starters all sounded incredible (£4 single or £6 to share) and the main option of homemade fish pie (£6.50) almost put the stoppers on the fish and chips on the beach idea once again.

So we shuffled down to the beach and sat overlooking the water with a lone seagull for company. The seagull wasn't too pushy either which was a comfort. The whole experience was wonderful. Staring down the Jurassic coastline on both sides, I internally applauded JC for his clever, spontaneous plan. We had a walk along the promenade, ending at the far point where those magical, ancient trees were silhouetted on the horizon. I found it hard to believe I hadn't got myself to Budleigh Salterton before now.