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64


restaurant review THE OYSTER SHACK


W


hen venues change hands, there is often the unspoken


question : ‘will it be the same or different’ … fear not! Our beloved local seafood shack is both the same and different - in a good way; still that quirky place for fantastic seafood; that familiar, friendly place for relaxing over South Devon’s finest freshest fish; the place to party… whatever, whenever, The Oyster Shack makes the ideal venue. As evidenced by the happy mix of diners on our visit from couples enjoying aphrodisiac oysters to birth- day celebrations across all ages. Headed by Operations Manager Ali, the front of house team are bub- bly, bright; attentive, not intrusive; professional with that fine balance between friendly and overfamiliar, perfectly judged. Our principal serv- er, the charming Orla, a delight (no, no side line in handbags!) Former owner Chris now concen-


trates on his distinctive Rocktails business so it seemed churlish not to order his faintly effervescent Distilled Botanicals – Citrus Spritz and Or- angewood were seriously grown up drinks for drivers or those going alco- hol free. So good, just spend Sober October at The Oyster Shack…! Long standing Chef Andy Rich-


ardson still reigns supreme and although tempted to indulge with the newly introduced 18 course Taster Menu, we saved that orgy of fishy-ness for a future occasion.


BY AMANDA BLOOMER


We selected from that evening’s a la carte menu and their Top Secret choices – and with the variety of special offers available, I defy any dedicated pescatarian to eat better for less.


“still that quirky place for fantastic seafood”


Following tangy hummus


amuse-bouches, Shack Crab Soup for me – dense in flavour, delicate in tex- ture, rich and warming, bursting with crabmeat; crunchy parmesan crou- ton, an ideal contrast. Su’s Beetroot and Beenleigh blue cheese bruschet- ta even better than expected with its innovative use of white beet, rather


than the familiar Boltardy. Atop really good bread, these combined well with the salty-spicy nuttiness of Ash- prington’s renowned sheep’s cheese; the rich balsamic spike bringing the whole together harmoniously. Su’s steaming bowl of Shack mus- sels (in their scrumptious signature bacon, leek, cider and cream broth) appears on the main menu with bread for mopping up but Orla kindly requested this as a ‘special’ Top Secret option so Su enjoyed a bucket of their wonderful fries, which she prefers! Plumply perfect, seemingly never ending, their mouthwatering aroma almost made me regret my own decision but the first mouthful dispelled any such thoughts. For me Shack trio of fish and chips


– crisp crunchy beer batter encasing succulent prawns, firm white plaice under light breadcrumb coating and grilled catch of the day (that


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