Cafe ODE, Shaldon

This weekend, having a get together to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I was treated to a very different dining experience in the village of Shaldon. I had never heard of Cafe ODE, or its big brother ODE, but when you have friends with serious foodie cred you tend to let them pick where you are going when you eat out. As it happens none of the six of us had eaten there before but its reputation preceded it.

Located just above the Ness with views of the sea (and the not so attractive public car park) you can find Cafe ODE in a converted stable.  The focus is on providing sustainable food in an eco friendly environment. At present Cafe ODE is the highest rated cafe/restaurant in the UK per the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The interior has a laid back, earthy vibe with lots of wood and there’s plenty to look at what with the view, the on-site microbrewery and the open kitchen.

Having settled down to a round of G&Ts our waiter gave us a bit of info about the ethos of Cafe ODE, followed by the specials and information about the dishes. The menu changes according to what is available locally, and this weekend I was sorely tempted by the open venison steak sandwich. As well as the seafood which you would expect there were also great meaty options including organic sausages and the fabulous burger that found its way onto my plate.

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Well, I say plate but actually the crockery and cutlery aren’t exactly standard. The cutlery is all biodegradable (although designed for multiple uses) as are the glasses. The food was delivered in vegware compostable containers, with a wooden crate rather than a tray.  It was a brilliant experience, and it was quite a contrast between the relatively simple yet very well done food and the laid back presentation and style of the surroundings. Unfortunately in my rush to get out of the door in time I forgot my camera and my phone only gave me one decent picture so take a look at their website to see more.

I really enjoyed my food – salt and pepper squid, followed by a burger with bacon, fries, raw slaw and a garlic mayo dip. Choosing was difficult as there were so many great sounding options although the menu isn’t vast. The dessert of ginger cake with ice cream went down well too and the girls who chose lemon posset were making faces and noises that suggested they liked it!

Getting ready I panicked about what to wear but was happy to find the sort of place where you could pitch up in deck shoes and shorts and be just as comfortable as the person on the next table (or on the same table if you are into communal dining) in a dress and heels. for the current hot spell they have outdoor seating but I can imagine it being very cozy inside, what with the lovely log burner in situ.

Eating here was something of an experience and was about a lot more than just the food. The bill was pretty reasonable, especially with the wine and G&Ts in mind. I’d definitely visit again, and am hoping that will be some time fairly soon.

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