The Crab at Chieveley
PUBLISHED: 13:21 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:18 20 February 2013
Let's do lunch with... broadcaster and voice over artiste Nicki Whiteman, who did not have to venture far to eat at The Crab at Chieveley...
Who did you take?
My husband Adrian and (unexpectedly due to a crisis in childcare), my daughter Molly.
Good. The restaurant looks stunning as you follow the gravel drive past fountains and fish ponds, and admire the abundant flowers cascading over the many hanging baskets and pots. The Crab is equally as attractive inside. It is divided into four areas, the first of which is a modern and stylish seating area where we enjoyed a drink and perused the menu. The other three are part of the dinning area, all small enough to give an intimate feel. Fishing nets hang from the ceiling and race cards dangle among the crab shells, reflecting the clientele. There are plenty of nooks and crannies for those after privacy, and more open spaces for the business entertainer.
Tell us about the menu
We were given a choice of the full menu or the smaller lunchtime set menu (two courses £15.95, three courses £18.95).
We both chose from the full menu as we wanted to try the legendary fish dishes, and they were limited on the set menu. The Crab is proud of its daily delivery from the Brixham markets, and that is reflected in your choice. All but one of the starters is based around fish. That said, there is plenty for the meat lover.
The menu is large and varied, and likely to leave you asking the waiter for more time while you try to decide. Thankfully, the freshly baked bread and homemade tapinade and aioli stave off the hunger pangs.
What did you both choose?
I chose my favourite, 'Mussels Marinière' to start, and followed it with a 'Half Native (Cornish) Lobster with garlic butter, new potatoes and a dressed salad'. My husband opted for 'The Crab's Seafood Risotto, with Chorizo and Tarragon Oil' and. to follow, 'Pan Fried Sea Bass Fillet, Tagliatelli Nero, Crispy Fennel Salad, Salsa Verde.'
What did you drink?
I was the designated driver (my turn) so stuck to sparkling mineral water (bottled especially for The Crab). Adrian opted for Lagaria Pinot Grigio.
How many marks for presentation?
Faultless. Ten out of ten.
How did you rate your starters and main courses?
Adrian's risotto was packed full of flavour and seafood, although may have been a little heavy for some. He described his sea bass as the best he had ever tasted, and, from the mouthful I was spared, I would have to agree.
The mussels were beautifully cooked, the sauce rich without being overpowering. It was an enormous portion and I reluctantly left some to ensure room for my petite, but delicious, lobster. (I think I have been spoilt by a recent trip to Alderney where the lobsters are huge yet tasty). The zestily dressed side salad was a big hit, and the perfect accompaniment, although I felt it didn't need the croutons.
Were you tempted by the desserts?
Predictably my husband found room for the raspberry soufflé, served with a shot of champagne and raspberry liqueur.
I was repleat!
What was the service like throughout the meal?
Attentive, but if anything a little stiff.
The acid test: would you recommend it to your friends?
For the set menu lunch definitely, and, for anyone trying to impress. For an impromptu outing with friends or the family, the atmosphere may feel just a little too formal.