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Riverford Field Kitchen: Bliss for £17.50

February 25, 2010

How one cook and a vegbox guru produced 60 smiley faces in their eco-cafe in South Devon.

It’s hard to escape the general bonhomie in this slightly futuristic-looking restaurant deep in the gorgeous Devon countryside (near Dartington and Totnes; a few minutes off the A38). Guy Watson and chef Jane Baxter’s rather wonderful restaurant is bang next to the veg box packing zone. I’ve visited a number of times – the food is irresistible and incredibly well-priced at £17.50 (children half price). Giles Coren called his meal there ‘the lunch of my life.’

There is one lunch sitting a day (do check and book) and everyone shares tables – it’s all very communal and friendly but not in an annoying way.

Before our meal was served, there was a slight ripple of tension as everyone wondered how this communal food was going to be shared out: were they going to get enough to eat? But we were assured that there would be plenty for everyone, and so there was. Lovely rustic bowl after bowl of appetising looking and smelling food was soon placed along the centre of the large refectory tables. Riverford’s organic vegetables take centre stage with Guy’s brother, Ben’s organic locally reared meat being stared at by greedy eyes. Oven roasted carrots and beetroot, squash, goat’s cheese and pecan ‘wellington’, spiced parsnip puree were just some of the dishes we could sample. A wide range of local fruit juices and organic wines are available. Everyone tucked in, chatted, fretted about their various muddy hounds left outside, talked about how they ended up here and why they love Riverford. All were agreed that this was a very special experience.

Before I forget: Puddings! There are about TEN different amazing puddings (and you can go up for a second go – it’s encouraged so not really embarassing). So far I’ve tried sticky toffee pudding,  caramalised pineapple pavlovas, apple tarts, crumbles…. and obviously need to go back asap to keep on researching.

If you reckon you can manage afternoon tea after this you could head to my favourite spot in nearby Landscove (five minutes down the road). Hill House Nursery is completely wonderful: beautiful house, garden, healthy and affordable plants, excellent scones – a resident rough-haired dachshund…

Riverford Field Kitchen: Make it yourself
Thanks to chef, Jane Baxter’s (very useable) Riverford Cookbook recipes we can all recreate the Field Kitchen experience at home.

Riverford chef, Jane Baxter, hard at it in the kitchen

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