Proudly situated on Cullompton’s High Street and aptly named, The Bakehouse would be known to many of the town’s longstanding residents as a working bakery. Now renovated into a homely café/restaurant, the building retains its history everywhere you look, offering a setting where olde-world meets contemporary to create a rustic-chic feel that is proving increasingly popular. A suitable setting for evening diners as couples or groups, or a relaxing boutique where you can bring a book on your own and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, The Bakehouse offers a truly unique space for relaxation and delicious food.

Although the menu at The Bakehouse is always changing to keep things fresh and in season, the quality of the dishes and friendly reception remains constant. The combination of seasonal ingredients and locally-sourced produce creates a winning combination, and makes for an intriguing experience each time you return serving as a great way to try new food with the reassurance of a restaurant you can trust.

We visited on a Thursday night, which offered a wide selection of tapas and specials on the menu for us to peruse. I find that knowing how much to order when it comes to tapas can be tricky, especially as my eyes are often much larger than my stomach, but our friendly waitress was on hand to offer her suggestion of three dishes per person. It’s worth noting that Thursday nights offer a great deal where you buy five tapas dishes and get the cheapest free – a perfect excuse to start the weekend early!

We opted for Marinated Olives, Sun Blushed Tomatoes & Manchego Cheese with Greek Bread (£4.95) as a starter dish, as well as Patatas Bravas, Chicken Wings in Lemon, Cumin & Garlic, and Spicy Lamb Meatballs (all £4.95) plus Prawn & Crab Thai Fish Cakes with Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce, and Arancini – deep fried risotto balls stuffed with deliciously gooey Mozzarella (both £5.95).

Our food was brought out to us quickly, and soon our table was filled with an array of beautifully presented dishes and complementing aromas. The difficulty was knowing where to start! The meatballs were subtly spiced and very filling, which worked well when accompanied with the smoky chorizo flavour of the Patatas Bravas. The portion of chicken wings was more than generous, and the home made sweet chilli sauce made for a unique pairing with the fish cakes. The Arancini was the star of our selection for me. Crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, I could have continued eating these all evening – I highly recommend these if you’re choosing tapas!

When dessert came around I was intrigued by the ‘Peasant Girls in the Mist’ (£5.75). A special concoction consisting of Scandinavian apple, cream, meringue and an exquisite toasted hazelnut crumble. All feelings of fullness subsided as soon as I tasted the first mouthful. The taste of the nutty crumble provided a real contrast against the tangy fruit flavour, and the meringue pieces added an extra layer of texture to keep things interesting. The flavours were balanced wonderfully to provide a dessert that wasn’t too rich, but still made an impact. We also chose the Iced Trio (£5.75), three delectable scoops of homemade mango sorbet, vanilla and double chocolate ice cream served with shortbread biscuits. The chocolate ice cream was naughtily rich, almost like chocolate pudding with the mango sorbet providing a refreshing balance. The Bakehouse’s ice cream flavours are always changing, and our waitress told us about the delicious cherry pie ice cream that featured on the menu a week previously – something that would certainly see our return!

Words & photos: Jake Tucker

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