Soar into the Devonshire coast at Soar Mill Cove
Soar Mill Cove is a spa hotel near Salcombe, off-grid down a long single track road flanked by tall hedges on either side, and by ‘off grid’ we mean that you won’t pick up a mobile signal with any carrier, and this is one of their selling points – it’s a place where you can get away but at the same time not be too far from civilisation!
Enveloped in a small ‘valley’ there is green everywhere you look, well, apart from there blue sea and sky of course! Everything is on one level so there’s no need for going up and down stairs to get from your room to the bar, restaurant or pool, and although there are steps at the main entrance the side entrance allows you to get out to your car or go for a walk on one of the many recommended routes avoiding the steps.
Reception staff warmly welcomed us on arrival and showed us to our room. If you arrive early and fancy a cuppa and something sweet then it’s worth heading back to the lounge or the public cafe because…
If you book a stay direct and not via a booking site then you can have a complimentary Devonshire cream tea (served between 2:30 – 5pm) and what better way to settle in to your relaxing time at Soar mill Cove!
Warm and fresh with plenty of cream and jam!
Back to our room for the night and Soar Mill Cove get a lot off stuff right. Our room was very spacious with bedside lamps and sockets (so often missing in other places!) and included ground coffee with a French press and in the tea selection was peppermint tea – often a necessity after a big meal! A small fridge was provided (no mini bar unfortunately) but real milk is available at reception as there no UHT at all in the hotel. Plenty of TV channels were also available, and of course a phone, given that it is nigh on impossible to get a mobile signal here. Note that there is still WiFi in the room should you want to chat to someone with Skype or FaceTime etc.
We had more-or-less the same view from the lounge and reception in our room, which had a patio door with loungers outside, and once opened we could hear the local wildlife. If it’s too cold you could to open simply sit on one of the two chairs and gaze out.
The bathroom had a bath with shower and Molton Brown toiletries. Robes were also provided, which was especially handy if going to and from the onsite spa facilities.
The restaurant has 2 AA rosettes and you can view a sample menu, similar to the one available during our visit, on the Soar Mill Cove website.
Soar Mill is family-friendly, so we weren’t expecting too much for dinner but it was actually every bit as good as the lunch we ate earlier that day at Gidleigh Park. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s the Michelin-starred country house hotel where Michael Caines used to be head chef, while it was excellent our dinner at Soar Mill Cove could also not be faulted!
Before the starters arrived, we got to admire the view, which was so peaceful. We both agreed that this was an ideal location for a getaway be it for an anniversary or honeymoon! Warm, fresh bread and soft butter was also delivered to the table, along with a bottle of Bellefontaine Sauvignon Blanc 2017, with a pleasant peachy/apricot aroma and honeydew melon taste.
West Country cheese soufflé, made with West Country cheddar and Stilton (v) (gf) (£10.00)
The soufflé looks a bit deflated here but it was perfect when it arrived. (Well, you know how long it takes Mr Foodie to take a photo…) It still tasted delicious, light, airy and very cheesy!
Jens Gins gravlax with dill, horseradish cream and baby capers on toasted sourdough (£9.50)
At Soar Mill Cove they make their own gin, which they use to cure the salmon starter and is available to buy at reception. This was simple and delicious, not fatty or greasy, but fresh with a piquant mustard, and it made a good match with the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc we shared.
Handpicked Salcombe cracked crab claw linguini with chilli, parsley and lemon (£19.90)
The Mrs loves crab and made sure to sample a few crab dishes while we were in Devon and Cornwall and this was one of the best. Some people shy away from pasta dishes when eating a la carte in a non-Italian restaurant but this was fresh eggy, high-quality pasta with a good amount of crab meat and plenty of spice and flavour from the seasoning.
Confit leg of Creedy Carver duckling, baby palettes, gratin dauphinoise, caramelised apple and mixed peppercorn sauce (GF) (£21.00)
I’m a big fan of confit duck. 😍 The moist meat that just flakes away, and this was perfectly-cooked with equally perfect potato and lots of uncrushed punchy, fragrant peppercorns – it might be too much for some so you don’t need to eat every single peppercorn like I did!
By this point we were both stuffed, but having no dessert would have just been rude, so we shared. Aww romance eh?! This was a Rich chocolate tart with pistachio ice cream, mascarpone cream and chocolate sauce (V) (£8.00)
The tart certainly looked homemade and the pistachio ice cream was not like the green tasteless blobs we’ve had elsewhere, instead it was creamy vanilla filled with crunchy pistachio pieces then drizzled with chocolate sauce. Mmm!
If you want to keep drinking then there is also a small bar at the back of the building but unfortunately it doesn’t have the same view as the restaurant.
Breakfast can be served in your bedroom, the dining room or the less formal coffee shop. There’s also an outdoor seating area where you can also dine in summer, and this coast gets a lot of sunshine.
On this occasion we stuck to the dining room and were seated beside the window with a cold buffet, tea, coffee, toast, jams and marmalade, and a selection of hot options.
Breakfast is included in room rates but it is also open to the public so should you drop in the prices are £14 for continental or £18 for English.
There was lots of fish on the breakfast menu, smoked haddock with poached egg; kippers or ‘Salcombe Smokies‘ the local smoked mackerel; smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (£2.50 supplement). The Mrs opted for the smoked mackerel, two pieces with a poached egg which was rather tasty and a bit different.
While I settled on the filling Devonshire breakfast – free-range eggs, local pork sausage, bacon, mushroom, grilled tomato and sautéed potatoes. All nicely-cooked and non-fatty/greasy.
There is also a veggie alternative to the above fry; porridge made with milk, water or cream, boiled eggs with soldiers; or a bacon or sausage sandwich available.
A great stay with relaxing views, amazing food and friendly staff in a beautiful part of the country. With a range of facilities including a swimming pool, sauna and small spa. There are also plenty of recommended walks and the hotel is dog-friendly. Mrs Foodie enjoyed the peace and quiet after driving and would love to go back for a longer stay.
Self-catering options are also available on site.
To celebrate their 40th anniversary there will be 40% off their B&b rate for all Staycations taken between November – December (ex. Christmas and New Year). See their Latest Offers page for further details.
+ Great location and views with suggested walks
+ Free cream tea if booking direct
+ The food was surprisingly excellent
+ Spacious room with patio doors
+ Real milk for tea/coffee and real coffee in room
+ Fridge in room
– The bar could be cosier/more atmospheric
– The only road in and out is narrow so be prepared to reverse if someone else is coming the other way
Soar Mill Cove Hotel, near Salcombe, Devon, TQ7 3DS
Tel: 01548 561566
Disclaimer: we received a complimentary one-night stay but Fred sez that we were honest about it otherwise we would’ve received kitty claws to the face on our return home.