One of the best things about this job is that every now and again you come across something very special…
Review by Chris Dyson. Photography by Collette Dyson.
Imagine someone coming up with the idea of a restaurant with only 10 covers; a countertop at which the diners sit overlooking the chef’s preparation table, and a multi-course tasting meal using ingredients sourced mainly from the local ‘UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’. The menu changes daily – subject to season and availability, of course- and dinner starts at £105 per head. What’s more, the restaurant only opens three days a week: Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
To come up with such a concept you would need to be incredibly talented and confident in your abilities OR you would have to be pretty delusional (and probably based in central London to boot). But Noel Corston has done exactly this and he has done it all from the seaside resort of Woolacombe in North Devon. Rest assured this man is not delusional. Far from it…
Dining at Restaurant Noel Corston
We visited Restaurant Noel Corston earlier this month with no idea what to expect. We had heard on the grapevine that it was well worth booking dinner and a quick glance at their example menu checked out. From the minute we arrived at the small but perfectly formed restaurant, we were personally welcomed by Noel and his wife Nora, and we realised more or less straight away that we were in for something special.
Once all 10 guests arrived and were seated, Noel pointed out the blackboard which listed the culinary journey ahead:
As previously stated, the vast majority of the produce Noel uses to craft his menus is sourced from North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It’s clear that he is passionate about what he cooks, as well as it’s environmental impact and its impact on the local area. For example, we enjoyed duck from Crediton, fish from Brixham, butter from Okehampton, and cheese from a farm only two miles up the road. What’s more, most of the herbs, salad, and vegetables are grown or forged from nearby.
However, it is the way in which these ingredients are treated and cooked that makes Noel’s menu such as delight. Everything is prepared and cooked in front of your eyes. Noel is no performer. He gets on with the job in a professional and efficient manner and it is a pleasure to watch someone who is so clearly on top of his game. Each course is explained to you prior to eating, but this is no narrated or choreographed performance for his dining audience. It is simply Noel Corston doing what he enjoys and what he does exceedingly well; all supported by the wonderful Nora out front.
Should you visit Restaurant Noel Corston?
This is no regular restaurant, so I’m not going to waste any time providing you with a step by step analysis of each course we enjoyed. Personally, I think this is one restaurant you simply must experience yourself. If you’re prepared to pay £105pp and you value unique, inspired cooking, you really ought to get out your diary and book a seat for yourself. This is a very special foodie experience in North Devon (just don’t forget to mention The Devon Foodie!).
To book, visit: www.noelcorston.com or call 01271 871187