A last-minute invitation to The Salutation Inn was too good to pass up. Thankfully I was still on my Easter break from teaching so I hot footed it home from a coffee and cake date with a friend to get my glad rags on, surprise Steve with the news and jump on the next train to Topsham.
What a treat! Having never been to The Salutation Inn before but knowing its reputation, we arrived full of excitement. Not only were we spending the evening with like-minded foodies, it was an opportunity to sample a seven-course discovery menu by the super talented Jamie Raftery. His menu was 100% plant-based and full of the finest local seasonal produce alongside exotic superfoods from around the world. With a lot of the food I prepare at home on a daily basis being vegan and vegetarian I was intrigued to sample new flavours and textures with the possibility of taking these flavour combinations home to recreate.
Jamie’s background is distinguished to say the least. Having worked alongside Michael Caines, Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay and Corey Lee to name a few he has kept great company. Jamie is renowned for his creative and unique cuisine inspired by ayurvedic philosophies and his world travels.
You might be wondering how Jamie Raftery ended up in the kitchens on The Salutation Inn? Having worked together at Gidleigh Park, Chef Director of The Salutation Inn, Tom Williams-Hawkes, welcomed Jamie into his kitchen. “Amelia and I are excited to offer customers a completely different offering to The Salutation’s usual style of cuisine. Using impeccable ingredients, refined technique and creativity, Jamie has the ability to show the versatility of plant-based foods, which we know will blow our guest’s minds.”
Blow my mind he did, producing seven courses of the most delicious food I think I have ever eaten. Even Steve as a meat eater was impressed.
Each course was presented beautifully from the exquisite canapés to the petit fours. In all honesty, I couldn’t fault a morsel. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before whilst out dining.
Jamie was joined for the evening by Debbie Warner from Bibendum. She had prepared a fabulous biodynamic wine flight from Chateau Maris to accompany the meal. Based in the Languedoc region, Chateau Maris produces fine wines from a 79-acre estate. The chateau was the first estate in the AOC Minervois La Laviniere region to be fully certified biodynamic. Wine-maker Robert ‘Bertie’ Eden believes wholeheartedly that the holistic, ‘supercharged organic’ approach to biodynamics vinification brings out the true quality of the wines.
The evening was relaxed and flowed beautifully with a communal dining feel. Steve and I shared our table with two other couples who enhanced our evening no end. We were lucky to be seated with such lovely folk. Emails and numbers swapped, we vowed to meet up over supper again. Not only was the evening a culinary sensation, new acquaintances were made which certainly enhanced an already wonderful evening.
We really couldn’t fault our evening at The Salutation Inn and would recommend this dining experience wholeheartedly. Keep your eyes peeled for the next event. Now we have sampled what is on offer we will be biting the hands-off Amelia and Tom for a ticket or two!
Disclaimer: I was kindly invited to The Salutation Inn. I was not paid for this post and all views are my own as always.
Photos used with kind permission from Nick Hook.