When you’re looking for the perfect evening out for dinner it’s safe to say that it’s about more than just the food; it’s the whole package – ambience, good company, staff that make you feel special and perhaps a table with a view. Because of course, what’s fine food without the perfect location? Ocean’s Deck Restaurant provides the full package and adds a little garnish just for good measure.
Having grown up in Exmouth myself I find it all too easy to take the seafront for granted. But after a quiet evening stroll taking in the sights and sounds of the seafront, it’s not long before my head and heart are filled with all of those warm feelings that have kept me living here for all these years.
A sun-drenched May evening was the perfect time for us to experience what Ocean’s Deck Restaurant has to offer. Boasting unparalleled views across to Dawlish Warren and out to Berry Head, the view on this particular evening was absolutely stunning, helping to again renew our love of Exmouth, serving as a reminder as to what attracts so many to our town.
As soon as we stepped inside I was immediately taken with the decor and layout. A welcoming colour scheme, coupled with a spacious mix of tables and chairs, comfortable seats and sofas from which to enjoy either coffee, lunch or dinner, made for a relaxing atmosphere where casual and more formal dining blurred together wonderfully – it had already won me over here.
It’s not until you’re seated that you are then struck with that stunning view I keep talking about – did I mention that already?
Such a warm, summer’s evening gave us the perfect chance to enjoy one of the restaurant’s best party tricks – the open front thanks to one of three large glass sliding doors that can be opened up during warmer weather. It’s one thing being able to enjoy a nice view, but being opened up to the smell of the fresh sea air made us part of it too, heightening the entire experience. You can go one step further again by taking the option to sit out on the terrace too – something I’ll have to save for my return trip.
Whilst ruminating on the menu our waiter greeted us with a selection of warm artisan breads, olive oil & balsamic vinegar on which to graze while we heard more about the story behind The Deck and how it came to be. Opening some months ago, The Deck have recently hired a new chef who is passionate about using local produce and this shone through in the menu choices which were all varied and somewhat unusual, with Devon producers at the core.
So much so, we had difficulty choosing – what’s new there? In the end, I selected the Handmade Runny-Yolk Scotch Egg served with a baby leaf salad (£6.50). It was clearly freshly cooked and was delicious; light with a wonderfully crispy thin shell coating and a great tasting yolk. My husband had the Pan-fried Duck Breast Salad (£9), cooked to a perfect pink, which our waiter was keen to check was to our preference.
For the main course, my husband had no qualms or hesitation in choosing the very generously portioned Braised Devon Beef Short Rib (£18), paired with a crisp potato rosti, kalettes and pancetta while I chose the Crab and Chilli Pappardelle (£13) with a side of Chilli Crab Bites (£3). My pasta dish had plenty of crab and the waiter was able to relay my confusing description of the amount of chilli that I required pretty much perfectly, giving me a decent kick to complement the crab just as I was looking for. The chilli crab bites were an excellent choice and married up with the Chill Crab main as you would expect. When they arrived, I was expecting them to have a tough outer shell but it turned out to be fine and crisp, letting you easily make your way into the melt in the mouth chilli crab filling.
Pudding was hard to resist, especially when I spotted the Devon Cream Panna Cotta (£5) which turned out to be creamy and sweet in perfect balance, topped off with handmade honeycomb – my absolute favourite sweet treat. My husband had the Chocolate Brownie (£5), a sure fire winner and the staple of any dessert menu. No negatives to report here – a safe dessert option is always welcome on any menu when it’s done right.
We left The Deck feeling full, relaxed, giddy from the sun, sea and sand in the air and with a lot of love for our beautiful seaside hometown. To me, that’s the sign of a great success. I feel sure that Ocean’s Deck Restaurant will bring that feeling to both locals like myself and those from further afield for many years to come.
Words: Esther Baker
Visit The Deck Restaurant online at: www.oceanexmouth.co.uk