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Food & Drink – The Best of the South West

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food in a bowel and pitta bread

Sumptious Food at the Award-Winning Broomhill, North Devon

Broomhill Art Hotel and Sculpture Gardens is a community interest company based in a beautiful valley, just outside of Barnstaple in North Devon. It is owned and managed by the Van de Sande family and has been for over 20 years, and with each year, Broomhill and all it offers smashes expectations with each visit. They promote arts and culture, serve incredible food in a stunning setting and make these pleasures accessible to all walks of life, whether that’s a group of students, a large family out for a treat or a retired couple, from near and afar, all are made to feel welcome and comfortable.

 

Food… Oh my goodness… The food!

The ethos at Broomhill is centred around the slow food philosophy. This approach promotes high quality produce, that is beneficial and healthy for the body, has a low impact on the environment and guarantees fair prices and conditions for the producer and purchaser.

 

The philosophy ignites a passion and love for culinary delights and mouth-watering dishes which are grown, made and sold by a skilful and passionate team.

 

bowl of food with pitta bread

 

Broomhill takes pride in sourcing the ingredients used in their dishes from local suppliers and independent producers. The meats and fish come from the nearby towns of Ilfracombe, Crediton and Braunton. The menu has an incredible selection of dairy produce from Devon, with cheeses and milks coming from all over the county. The fruits and vegetables are either from the Broomhill gardens or the Barnstaple pannier market, ensuring fresh, seasonal produce with variety.  There is the addition of some truly authentic and irresistible items, with some of the ingredients coming from the heart of the Mediterranean.

 

plate of cured salmon

 

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, like I am, Broomhill needs to become your go-to place to eat! There is an extensive menu suitable for meat and dairy free eaters. You won’t be limited to the typical choice of bean chilli or a vegetarian lasagne here! You will rejoice when you see the fantastic selection, each full of flavour, colour and deliciousness! Not only is the taste incredible, but the presentation alone is an artistic creation!

 

vegetarian dish from Broomhill Sculpture Gardens

 

All the dishes and meals are astonishingly very reasonably priced considering the quality, portions, flavour and environment you get to enjoy! During my stay, I ate during the lunch time and had a three-course meal for £16.95 and the following day I went for three dishes from the tapas menu, at £9.95. All the meals were stunningly formed, with the tapas arriving in terracotta bowls, filled with the delicious and filling samples. You won’t leave here hungry, or wondering whether you got your money’s worth. I can promise your bellies and taste buds will be more than satisfied as each forkful takes you on an adventure.

 

dessert at Broom Hill Sculpture Gardens

 

Awards

This year alone, Broomhill Art Hotel and Sculpture Gardens has won 11th place in the Sunday Telegraph’s Top 50 Best Value Hotels in the UK and has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor. It is a hidden gem and a secluded and peaceful haven, offering a great alternative to heading into one of the local towns for a bite to eat, and in my opinion, it is more than deserving of the awards they have achieved.

 

Sculpture in a lake

 

Surroundings

On a dry day, eating outside doesn’t take much convincing, as you are surrounded by the captivating views, with luscious greenery and interesting sculptures. Inside is equally as pleasing, you are welcomed into the building with the smell of freshly baked breads, the light airy rooms comfortably offer enough space for large groups, or there are more intimate and secluded spaces which are perfect for a quiet evening with a friend or partner.

 

Sculpture of a person in a garden

 

Sculptures and Gardens

Even if you’re not a lover of art, a tour of the garden, whether it’s a long or short visit, is a must and with free entry with every meal, there is no excuse not to. The artistic environment provides a pleasurable and relaxing place to be. The gardens have intertwining paths, some hidden and others more obvious, each with fascinating contemporary art awaiting to be discovered along the way. Each encaptivating installation is conversation sparking, and draws you deeper into the woodlands, past the wild meadows, lakes and rivers that carve the landscape around the hotel and restaurant.

 

sculpture and fern leaf

 

Accommodation

I was lucky enough to spend a night in this oasis and the accommodation was just as charming as the rest of the place. My room during my valley retreat was tastefully decorated and fitting with the rest of the décor inside and out of the building. It felt fresh, well cared for, with colourful artwork brightening the walls and attractive soft furnishings. Best of all, the bed was comfortable and the shower was powerful! I would bend over backwards to stay again!

 

Sculpture of a man bending over backwards

 

Events

There are regular events held at Broomhill and during my stay, a jazz evening was taking place. Typically, it isn’t my kind of music, but as I didn’t have much planned for the evening I thought it’d be a waste not to pop down and see what it is all about. The ambience of the place changed, as the art gallery was transformed with a stage and a seating area for guests, there was an absorbing buzz around the room. The anticipation and atmosphere during the evening, with the wine and conversation flowing and the performance in full swing all contributed to a relaxed and entertaining evening. The gig was intimate, with the musicians just a few meters away, I was captivated by their passion, knowledge and love for what they were doing. The space allowed the performers to interact with the audience which gave a friendly and warm vibe to the gig. I left a converted jazz fan and incredibly eager to see another performance at this fantastic venue.

 

Ceramic sculpture in a garden

 

Have you visited Broomhill for the delicious food, sculpture gardens or one of the fab jazz nights? Let me know via my social media channels.

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