“We are delighted to report that early July saw the cautious reopening of many of Topsham’s most well loved cafés, restaurants and pubs.”
August 4, 2020 Topsham’s varied and many hospitality businesses reopened in early July and are now up and in many cases almost fully running. Of course, not everything is back to how it was. All have had to adapt not only to comply with government guidelines but above all to ensure that their own customers and staff are kept as safe as possible. In some cases, businesses are remaining open for takeaway only and this has been a big success, with happy diners able to take their delicious foods to the new benches on Topsham Quay, by Matthews Hall, or the Recreation Ground, thanks to the efforts of Love Topsham and Councillor Andrew Leadbetter.
Eat Out to Help Out
Throughout August, the government scheme to encourage us all to return to eating out, enjoying ourselves, and at the same time supporting the hospitality industry is taking place. The scheme runs from Monday through Wednesday and means you can enjoy 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a value of £10 per person. No vouchers are required; the discount is applied by those establishments that have registered to take part. In Topsham, at the time of writing, businesses that are taking part include:
Lord Nelson – now with the Goose & Gander offering an exciting new and popular menu. Also a great place for Sunday lunch.
Passage House – dine by the Exe estuary outdoors or inside where you will be well looked after by Carly, Neil and team.
The Globe – an always popular favourite, offering menus for all tastes and appetites, great beers from St Austell, and a good wine selection.
The Lighter Inn – Topsham’s inn on the Quay has plenty of space for safe outdoor dining under large, heated umbrellas.
Bradbury Café @ Nancy Potter House – during the dark days of lockdown, Nancy Potter House and the League of Estuary Friends was a lifeline for those in need in our community. The Bradbury Café is open once more, welcoming all.
The Café – another popular favourite especially for mid-morning coffee, lunch, or afternoon tea. Great cakes, homemade foods, and an easy relaxed atmosphere.
Matthews Hall Café – while the Matthews Hall Saturday Market is just once a week, this friendly café is open most days. A full range of homecooked food is available, and the freshly baked scones are rightly hugely popular. There are outdoor tables or you can dine in.
L’Estuaire – also located on Topsham Quay, with an attractive outdoor deck or a spacious interior, serving food and drink all day and into the evening. Come here to enjoy casual, continental inspired dining.
Pig & Pallet and The Dog Shack – Topsham’s smokehouse inspired barbeque joint is as rough and ready as the name suggests, a casual dining option for those who love burgers, ribs, brisket and more. The Dog Shack on the Quay is now open for outdoor dining.
Darts Farm Restaurant and The Shack and Fish Shed – the award-winning food hall has outstanding dining options, whether in the indoor restaurant for breakfast, coffee, lunch or afternoon tea, or The Shack, for outdoor dining in the Darts Farm field and tee-pees. Fabulous fish & chips from The Fish Shed, too.
Fine dine in Topsham
Neither The Salutation nor The Galley, Topsham’s premier fine dine destinations, are taking part in Eat Out to Help Out, but rest assured they remain very much open for business for both lunch and dinner, and have been earning rave reviews from loyal customers who have missed them as well as from new fans who have discovered them for the first time. The Salutation, in addition to serving food all day and evening, is in the process of creating a new wet fish shop, Salt @ The Salutation which we are eagerly looking forward to. The Galley will celebrate its tenth anniversary under the ownership of Nigel Mitchell, a notable achievement.
Fabulous takeaways (or dine in)
Pebblebed – Topsham’s own wine estate, producing stunning rosé sparkling as well as still, white and red – and pizzas cooked to order for takeaway.
No 3 – ‘Posh pizzas’ are now also available at No 3, a coffee house by day and gin and cocktail bar by evening – enjoy the secret garden in the back.
The Boathouse – hugely popular roadside takeaway offering freshly baked cakes, light lunches, fabulous coffee and more.
Route 2 Café – Is this the first ‘cycle through café’ anywhere? Make your way through the arches to order from Ryan at the Route 2 window, or else purchase ice cream from the Route 2 ice cream bike on Topsham Quay. Open for early morning coffee and pastries and fish & chips on Fridays: take your goodies to the tables on the Quay.
Plum Café – Topsham has no shortage of really good places, all with their own following and fans. Plum is particularly popular for its baked pastries, sandwiches, and afternoon tea. Some say Plum has the best ice cream in town.
Denley’s Essence of India – award-winning Indian restaurant offering regional Indian cuisine for takeaway or else to dine in.
Sara’s Petite Cuisine – Sara has just a few tables indoors and also offers her amazing cakes, pastries, coffee and other hot and cold drinks to take away.
In addition to the pubs already mentioned (Lord Nelson, Passage House Inn, The Globe, Lighter Inn), there are two additional pubs located at opposite ends of the town. The Exeter Inn is the first pub you encounter when coming in to Topsham from Exeter; the Bridge Inn is the last before your leave town on the road to Exmouth. The Bridge Inn now has a marquee set up in the car park and ample outdoor seating, some along the bank of the beautiful Clyst River. Come here for the best range of cask-conditioned ales not only in Topsham but (say some) the whole country.
Shopping for food and drink
Never has the value of local shopping been more apparent than in the long months of lockdown that we have all just been through. Those of us who live in Topsham have hardly needed to go outside of town to source outstanding food and drink. We are grateful to these local businesses who worked so hard to satisfy local demand and in some cases delivered to those in need. Please, as life begins to return to something approaching ‘normal’, let’s all continue to support them!
Arthurs Butchers and Delicatessan – Tony, Neil, Sharon or Karen will look after you well in this family butcher and delicatessan. Beef is Scottish, pork, lamb and poultry is local. There is a good range of freshly prepared foods, including pasties, pies and quiche and much more.
Richards Fruit & Vegetables – Richard and Janet may no longer be here (we hope they are enjoying a well-earned retirement!) but this friendly greengrocer is as popular as ever. Much of the produce comes from local farms.
Country Cheeses – quite simply one of the best cheese shops in the country, bar none. Gary and Elise Jungheim not only source the best local West Country cheeses from small dairies, they age them to perfect condition in their own cheese cave. Gary even makes some of the cheeses himself. Ask Rachel and Fiona to recommend something for you – they know absolutely everything.
Topsham Wines – we are so fortunate to have such a good independent wine merchant here in Topsham. Jim sources a unique and interesting range of wines from both Old and New Worlds and will recommend something just right to suit your taste and budget. He even offers free local delivery.
Matthews Hall Saturday Market – indoors if the weather is wet, outdoors on fine days, this popular market has an increasing number of food stalls, offering everything from olives and mezze, to bread and freshly grown vegetables.
Darts Farm – the aforementioned food hall is the place to shop above all for outstanding local food and drink. Vegetables at the entrance have been picked that day from the Dart Farm fields. The Darts Farm butcher offers an outstanding range of meats, including Red Ruby beef from the farm’s own cattle. There are local wines and beers, while cider is even made on the premises. Darts Farm rightly wins national awards as the best farm shop in the UK. We are lucky to have it on our doorstep.
Nourish – zero-waste shopping has come to Topsham! This small, packaging-free grocery store has a large choice of loose, package-free products. Bring your own container or else use one of theirs.
— Marc Millon 4/8/20