Sunday 13 September 2009

King's Arms in Strete, Devon

And so to a pub called the King’s Arms in a village, next to Slapton Sands, called Strete. Meandering along this stretch of coast is like leafing through my lever arch file from my pre-GCSE geography lessons. Spits, spurs, tombolas and stacks whizzed past. I’d never really thought about these features as being anything more than just diagrams! And now I see what all the fuss is about. The scenery was breathtaking.

Our BnB, proudly displaying its Silver Award like a goodie twoshoes school boy wears his prefect badge, was a delight. It was hard to believe that our room was actually the loft on top of a garage. The view, overlooking this sensational stretch of coast, was awesome. Cows sloped past our balcony as if they had been told to frame our view.

View from room

We dashed down to the headland to soak in the remnants of the day’s sunshine and found ourselves lost for words by the beauty that surrounded us. We nestled down in the sheep grazed grass overlooking the twinkling bay and opened a bottle of chilled white wine, hit play on itunes and felt all the stresses of the world dissolve. Cheesy as it sounds, it was one of life’s perfect moments.

Saunton sands

Wine music view 2

Cowie smiling

We floated along to the King’s Arms in a blissful trance that didn’t disappear for the whole meal. The site of Diana Henry’s book on the side was a subtle indication that we were in for a memorable meal.

Gastro pub cookbook

Cowie’s fish soup was deep, textured and gutsy. As masculine as the Gurnard’s Head version had been feminine. It was the first of many confirmations that the King’s Head has a wizzard's touch with fish.

Fish soup

My herring roe looked horrific. Like small grey calves tounges or ash coloured giant snails. They’d not only fallen out of the ugly tree but clattered into every branch and twig on the way down. And then been snotted on. However, they were as ugly as they were delicious. They swam around in garlic, parsley and lemon butter which oozed out of my lightly charred toast. Dare I say they are they best thing I’ve eaten this year?

Herring Roe

Cowie’s skate with brown caper butter was everything that Sam’s wasn’t. It was perfectly cooked allowing Cowie to tease strands of flesh of like a child dissecting a cheese straw. The butter had been treated perfectly by a kitchen that could knock this dish out in its sleep.

Skate with caper butter

My lemon sole in a lime butter was quite unusual. The skin was gently charred and the flesh was perfectly moist. The sauce balanced the acidity of the lime with a touch of syrupy sweetness. I had worried the cooked lime may have become bitter, as it often does, but it had been handled by a pro and added late in the cooking.

Lemon sole with lime

We swooned throughout and left on the same cloud that carried us in singing the praises of such a first rate pub. It deserves all the praise it gets. Just don’t listen to a word of the drivel that the gaunt lady next to us was spewing about the lighting and the décor. When the food’s this good it’s worth travelling a long way for.

Kings Arms in Strete

On our walk home we stumbled across the Laughing Monk which was alive with gregarious diners. If you’re in Strete for two days, it might be worth checking out.

Laughing Monk

This is part of a series about our trip around the South West.


Unknown said...

B... Strete is in Devon.. not Dorset! x

Browners said...

@Victoria - of course it is! Not sure why I got myself so confused. I'll change it now!

Helen said...

wow, those roe sure do look scary! Good job the menu doesn't have any pictures.

Browners said...

@Helen - If I'd seen what they looked like beforehand, I doubt I'd have had the balls to order them. But thank God I did as they were delicious.

Unknown said...

laughing at the image of Skate falling out of the ugly tree

Browners said...

@Gourmet Chick - Glad you like the image. It was the gross looking herring roe that had toppled out of the ugly tree. The skate was beautiful in every way.

Dan said...

Devon - never been there to my shame, looks idyllic. Next year perhaps. Have to also say, excellent photos. Oh, based on your recommendation I bought both the Diane Henry Gastropub books and was pleased to find a place near me that Id previously visited (and liked) mentioned.
Your right, they are cracking books and well worth owning for hunting down somewhere good to eat if you happen to be in a different part of the country.

Browners said...

@Dan - You've got to make it down to Devon. It's a beautiful county that we are falling in love with.

Glad you like the Diana Henry books. They really are very good. Haven't let us down yet.

And glad you like the photos too.

Su-Lin said...

Gosh, all your outside London eating has me thinking about getting a car...

Browners said...

@Su-Lin - I love our little road trips. We are trying to explore as much of the country as possible. But how I wish we could hop in a convertible MG and do it in a touch more style.

meemalee said...

Talking of having the balls to order them - I think roe is a deliberate misnomer for milt :)

Browners said...

@meemalee - it might well have been milt. I'll have to do some research. All I can say is that it said roe on the menu and that it taseted fantastic.

Terry said...

Strete is surely along from "BLACKPOOL SANDS", not Saunton as Browners described.

Paunchos said...

@Terry - How embarrassing. Well spotted. I've changed it. I actually meant Slapton Sands but was thinking about playing golf at Saunton Sands at the time.


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