Last Sunday’s first anniversary celebrations at ODE Cafe in Shaldon were a demonstration of how a little English Summer Rain (that inevitable contribution to so many outdoor events) can’t spoil your day if you don’t let it.
It was a lovely day out. The relaxed but busy atmosphere was a great way to counter the intermittent light showers and our day started with a far nicer wet – a good cup of fresh and tasty, rich, hot coffee.
The storyteller, The Travelling Talesman, told the tales of the king of the fish to a rapt audience of adults and children, for the second tale the adults were still listening, some keenly, by now some of the children had the bug of activity in them. It was quite impressive seeing the storyteller continue in his flow, whilst making passing adaptations to his stories referencing the line of small children who were now running in a tight circle around him. A novel performance addition.
As he finished the childrens energy was fast drawn to the various games on the lawn for them to play with which seemed to provide all day entertainment for many of them, certainly at the end of the day I saw a number of children still grasping wooden blocks or bits of rope from the various activities. Little ones were also drawn to the lovely cheerful real lemonade stall on the lawn (raising funds for the local pre-school) and the visual element of the massive bubble making. I enjoyed sitting back and watching the relaxing liberty of the very few bubbles which escaped small fingered popping as they drifted off up into the sky with a background of deep green trees on their way.
Whilst others took in the wonders of the brewery tour, we chose to sample the brewery’s produce and some of the wonderful looking food we had been watching being delivered to the other eager customers. Our party chose the classic fish and chips and the more unusual venison burger. The fish was local pollack, chunky and moist and meaty, cooked to perfection with a wonderful even swirled batter that was light and crisp all round with not a single soggy or gooey spot to be found. The venison burgers were moist, juicy and incredibly tasty: utterly delicious with the chilli jam. The rich thick garlic mayo was clearly freshly made and complimented the perfect golden fries, which really were perfect. By our standards all fries should be, crisp and golden on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. These were. Perfection. Refreshingly the selection of leaves served with the meal was more than the usual sad trimming on the side and was a tasty and well thought out element in it’s own right, a good balance to the red meat. It was a pleasant surprise to find an old friend, the great quality Luscombe ginger beer (and other flavours) on sale too.
ODE ale was a real treat: gently tasty, smooth and friendly with a bright refreshing aftertaste. I was very aware on the first sip some caution would be needed as it was so very remarkably drinkable and fun as it might have been to give in to temptation I’m no longer young enough to knock back a pint at speed at lunchtime without it having a noticable impact on the rest of the day and however pokey the coffee earlier I didn’t want to spend the afternoon napping on the benches, even if they are recycled from Eden.
Sitting outside we had been admiring the sedum roof and reading all about ODE’s eco awards, we rapid concluded they were well deserved, everything about the place seemed to be at once both efficient and relaxed, friendly yet professional, ecological and yet centred around delighting the customers. Tim has struck a great balance in what he’s done with the place, and clearly it is much appreciated by the regulars who all seem to know him and many of the staff by name.
Adjourning inside thanks to the rain for more stories from the sea, including an appropriate tale which urged anyone who doubts we can save the planet/all the starfish to do what we can, when we can, with what we have, we were able to enjoy the open barn space, which thanks to the use of windows through to the lawn one way and the brewery the other, is pleasant and light, yet at the same time cosy. It had space enough to fit in musicians who entertained us with music for much of the afternoon and even had some people dancing, and more still foot tapping or singing along as orders of more delicious looking meals and puddings arrived.
Much entertainment was had watching long benches full of kids trying to eat sugary doughnuts without licking their lips. Then another brewery tour happened and just when you were ready for a last sit down there were more stories from The Travelling Talesman, in the barn at the end of the entertainment.
We rounded off our visit to ODE cafe with a delicious treat – Rose, Almond and Cardammon icecream, not in the least bit over floral or perfumed as my partner feared, but just as the rest of the day had been, just right for a perfect day. Rich without being sickly, gently spiced and clean tasting, and served in an awesome crunchy ginger biscuit cone.
Our whole day out was finished off with a recommendation from the ever helpful staff – that we couldn’t go home without taking a walk down the Smugglers Tunnel to the beach, which we dutifully did and were suitably impressed.
ODE true food Cafe (to give it it’s full title) is a delightful cafe, with lovely staff, delicious food, excellent drinks, and to know all this is done with a respect and reguard to the environment, and using local high quality produce, really boosts the enjoyment of it all. I have been finding myself recommending them to various people since as a lovely place to visit for the sake of visiting for a lovely meal, not just if you’re in the area, but worth the trip in their own right.
I was very glad to share their first birthday with them and wish them very many more happy returns (and very much hope to return there soon myself).