Category Archives: Restaurants

SB Review: Toucan Wholefoods, Minehead

Eastern themed cuisine evening – pudding and coffee

The vegetarian cafe at Toucan Wholefoods in Minehead is one of my favourite places to eat in this little part of the world that we now call home. The food is varied, interesting, tasty, local, organic and cooked on the premises, sometimes even to order (lime pancakes with poached eggs) and they will serve almost anything to take-away, which suits me very well. Over the past year, I have got to know the staff, and it is such a pleasure to be greeted by people that remember what you are up to and what you like to eat.

Quite often, I will sit in the first floor cafe for my lunch break, eating my main meal of the day (last week was goats cheese, butternut squash and sage lasagne with three side salads) and reading a book.

So, it was with pleasure that husband and I attended their inaugural themed food evening last night. It was an eastern theme and they had collaborated with Sara from No. 7 Harbour Studios (sorry, I don’t think she has an online link) to decorate the room with Sara’s signature Indian cushions covers. The food itself was lovely – 3 courses including popadoms with beautiful accompaniements, various curries served with cardamon rice, lemony bombay potatoes and pathata bread.

Highly recommended.

Toucan Wholefoods
3 The Parade
TA24 5NL

Tel: 01643 706101


Shop opening hours: 8.30am – 5.30pm. Mon – Sat.
Café opening hours: 8.30am – 5.00pm. Mon – Sat.



SB Review: Exmoor Cooking Company (Porlock Weir)

A few weeks ago a piece of paper came through the door. Fish and Chips, it proclaimed. For delivery on Friday nights. Run by the Exmoor Cooking Company – whose kitchens are based at Porlock Weir and who bake rather tasty bread – so we decided to give them a go. Now, our cottage might be reasonably ‘remote’ to those who don’t live round here, but it’s not *that* hard to find. Or it shouldn’t be, we gave them the postcode. When they did arrive, slightly cooled, they were nice. Not too greasy, decent chips, decent tartar sauce. Reasonably priced at £5.50 a portion. We rang to complain that they weren’t so hot on arrival and we were offered a free portion the next time we ordered. Pleased with the customer service, we decided to give them another chance next time we fancied fish & chips.

This weekend was our 9th anniversary and, in our timed honoured tradition we like to have fish & chips and champagne. We telephoned, reminded them of their offer and they remembered. Only, they’d abandoned delivery. A wise move I thought, as everyone can locate them pretty easily, delivery is much harder. This time they were piping hot and tasted pretty good, washed down with a Billecart Salmon Nicolas Francois Billecart 1998. They haven’t reduced the prices though despite collection only. Even so, I would order them again.

Out of interest, I went to the website.  I was surprised to see customers are describing the fish & chips as “better than Rick Stein’s and a damn sight cheaper”… We have eaten Rick Stein’s fish & chips on several occasions and can definitely vouch that they are better than these. Not that these are bad, just Rick’s are better. I also recall Stein’s prices as around £6.95 to their £5.50, so cheaper but not overly so. Still, compared to what else Porlock has to offer, the Exmoor Cooking Company’s fish & chips are well worth the order.

Apparently they are also suppliers to the BBC, so we’re in good company…

Exmoor Cooking Company

6 Anchor Stables

Porlock Weir



TA24 8PB

07792 558383

Serves fish & chips Friday evenings, contact company for other food.

Website here.


SB Review: Piggy in the Middle (Porlock)

There are many things that I miss about London. I thought restaurants would be one of them but there is a surprisingly good selection of places to eat to choose from down here. We are slowly attempting to try out them one by one.

Surrounded by pubs and hotels, Piggy in the Middle is situated bang in the middle of Porlock, along the stretch of ‘high street’ which is lit up by pretty little lights and looks so welcoming as you come down the hill and through the village.  On Exmoor we are lucky to have a fantastic selection of local produce being both on the moor and coastal. We have organic produce everywhere we turn and thankfully Piggy in the Middle serves up yummy dishes full of local food.

Fine dining it’s not. The house wine comes in a carafe, the napkins are black linen, it’s a little faux french in decoration and the coffee is less than desirable but the food is nicely cooked and the service is friendly. Too many viewings of Masterchef and Junior Roux have led me to notice things like plate choice, symmetry and style of the food and precisely how acidic the beurre blanc is yet what really matters on a Thursday night when you book with ten minutes notice is that the food is cooked by someone who knows how to choose their ingredients. We shared a prawn, rice and salad dish and a herb and tomato crusted salmon fillet with a sticky toffee pudding and felt satisfyingly full but not overstuffed. The chef came out to speak to us and there was a happy atmosphere.

Not somewhere to go on a first date but an enjoyable place to have a casual supper.


Piggy in the Middle
High Street
Exmoor National Park, Somerset
TA24 8PS

SB Review: Millers At the Anchor

A log fire burning brightly in a cosy sitting room filled with antiques and curiosities is a warm welcome after a chilly winters walk along the beach. We happened on this place by accident although I did recognise the name from an article in Somerset Life magazine. We were drawn in by the curiosities, the owner (Martin Miller of Miller’s Gin and Miller’s Antiques) and the presence of cream tea on the menu. I have been having cream tea every weekend and have yet to have a bad one. The scones here were warm and plain and served with plentiful cream and jam. We liked what we saw during the afternoon (including books everywhere even in the loo – even a Sweet Valley High much to my childhoodmemory delight) so we opted to come back for a meal in the evening.

It started so promisingly: drinks by the fire whilst we considered the menu and then each table/group taken in turn into the dining room, evoking somewhat of a private dining experience (although as someone new to being the driver I was disappointed by the lack of choice of soft drinks, although I suspect they would have mixed me something more exciting if I’d asked). The food looked great on paper but somewhat sadly the chef must have been having an off night. The boy’s steak was overcooked and undercooked in equal parts and my chicken was overdone and served in a sauce which was far too sweet. For some reason, although I am usually good at complaining in most other circumstances, I find it hard to send back food in a restaurant. I was happy to point out to the Boy the terrible wine glasses but not prepared to actually tell them. He however has less qualms. And given that he eats in some of London’s finest restaurants every week in the line of duty for his work, he knows what he is talking about. So complain he did. We were given complimentary puddings and coffee which was nice. We probably wouldn’t have considered returning though if it weren’t for another couple, with whom we bonded over part cooked fish, who told us to come back another time as the food had been wonderful the night before.

We haven’t been back yet but I suspect we will. There are several places we still want to try but good restaurants are somewhat sparse down here. I liked Tanya Miller who runs the place and who was very sweet to us. I liked the curiosities, the coziness, the log fires and the concept. I just wish they’d had better glassware. And a consistent chef.

They also do movies and a film on Sunday nights in their cinema room which sounds lovely. Just waiting for the right film and we shall be booking tickets.

Millers at The Anchor
Porlock Weir
near Minehead
TA24 8PB
Tel: 01643 862753

Food was £25 per person for 3 courses

Limited wine list. Excellent Gin and Tonics.

{Image from the Millers at the Anchor website}