We visited the charming Devon seaside town of Sidmouth recently on a cool day in May. It was still outside the main holiday season and the beach was desolate, although there were some young surfers braving the cold. We had a small wander and then decided on lunch, fancying something hot rather than a sandwich. We chose The Loft Restaurant on Old Fore Street. The menu changes regularly and is described as Mediterranean. The ingredients are locally sourced – dishes included a nice selection of sharing boards, salads, pizza, Italian flatbreads and a tapas menu on Friday evenings. They also serve breakfast and homemade scones. Those on gluten free diets were well catered for with all of the pizzas, most of the pasta dishes and scones available as gluten free.
The restaurant is nestled in between two shops and up a small flight of stairs (it is called The Loft for a reason). There is a nice bright and airy dining space with a beamed ceiling and a roof terrace. Sadly, the terrace wasn’t open as it wasn’t the warmest of days. The decor is quirky – wooden tables, wicker chairs and what I can only describe as a mid 20th century living room scene on display, with a standard lamp and toys 🙂 We had a couple of locally crafted drinks to start with – some refreshing Luscombe elderflower bubbly.
We then chose ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, spinach and walnuts and a fish dish from the daily specials board – sea bass with kale, mash and veloute. The sea bass dish was good – cooked well and tasty. However, the velouté was not as velvety as other veloutés we have had previously and the portion size was fairly small, although it was fine for lunch (we are probably greedy). We did think that at around £15, the sea bass dish was slightly expensive. Having said that, we do appreciate that local seafood is not cheap to buy and the dish (good as it was) was overshadowed by the star of the day, the ricotta gnocchi!
The gnocchi was homemade and as light as a feather – not a hint of stodginess. The sauce was lovely – rich, creamy and cheesy with gorgonzola but not overpoweringly so, with the spinach and walnuts as perfect complements. The seasoning was just right for me – I could have eaten this dish all day but not sure if it would have done the waistline much good…! There was a lot of sauce and we were going to order some garlic bread to mop up the sauce but we managed to hoover it up and didn’t need the bread.
We did not stay for dessert as we intended to sample some Devon ice cream while walking along the seafront or part of the Jurassic Coast. However, it turned out to be too cold for this so we should have had dessert afterall! If we return to Sidmouth, we will be sure to pay The Loft a visit.
UPDATE 1st September 2016: The Loft have changed their menu since writing this post and the ricotta gnocchi is no longer available.
The Loft Restaurant
Upper Floor, 3 – 5 Old Fore Street
Devon. EX10 8LS
Tel: +44 (0)1395 489681
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 – 16.00 (opening times can vary depending on the season and local events)
Typical cost per person for 2 courses excluding drinks: Up to £18