Fine dining has established itself in Bideford in the form of Number Eight, where you can find fantastic food and a wonderful evening out.
Why it’s on my list
I’m always looking for new places to eat and Twitter provides me with lots of inspiration. I’ve seen some great comments about Number Eight in Bideford and the photos looked stunning. When it comes to fine dining, it’s fair to say that North Devon isn’t exactly spilling over with choice, so it was nice to see somewhere aiming to change that. Time to see what it was all about.
Location: 8a Allhalland Street, Bideford
Opening times: Thursday to Monday, 6pm-10pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
To book: call 01237 237589. Booking is highly recommended.
It is really exciting to see fine dining spreading its wings in North Devon, let alone Bideford, and the couple who run Number Eight are nothing short of extraordinary. Every bite is evidence of hard work, skill and a good understanding of the flavours that people like to eat. Josh and Chloe have been running Number Eight for about a year and a half and have a very happy group of customers, and I sincerely hope they have many more years of success.
What I had
Firstly we had an amuse bouche of a roasted tomato soup with truffle oil and some freshly baked bread with a little onion chutney on top.
My husband and I went for the same starter – lamb shoulder in a crispy coating with pickled red cabbage, salsa verde, a lightly whipped goats curd and mint dressing.
I went for the main that appealed to my post-night-out self, who is a lover of chicken, chips and curry sauce! Of course it was much more delicate than that at Number Eight. I had chicken breast on braised lentils with a fondant potato, carrot purée, mango salsa and roasted cauliflower, shallot rings and a curry cream.
My husband loves duck, so it was a no brainer for him to go for the duck breast with potato croquettes, roast beetroot, pickled turnip, kale, beetroot purée and a juniper berry sauce.
We both had a dessert to round off the meal and with this came a pre-dessert taster. We had a tonka bean cream with a surprise on top – I think it was mango chock full of delightful fizz-wizzing popping candy!
For dessert I had honey roast peaches with clotted cream, raspberries, cardamom, amaretto jelly, apricot purée and toasted almonds.
My husband went for the chocolate option. This was poached pineapple with chocolate mousse, salted caramel, pineapple gel, coconut and a white chocolate crumb.
As soon as I saw that there was a curry cream sauce with the chicken, I knew that I was going to have a wonderful meal. It did not disappoint. It was far more refined than the chips, chicken and curry sauce I used to devour at 3am, but it was just as satisfying. The flavours and textures went together really well, the chicken was superbly cooked and seasoned, and the curry cream was fabulous – it made the whole dish sing.
The bread we had with the amuse bouche is also worth a mention here, it was very special and for me it has raised the bar with what I expect at the start of a meal!
Not the best
Dessert was fantastic, make no mistake, and the peaches with cream were great as a light dessert. However, I adore amaretto, which was the whole reason I chose that dessert, and I think the amaretto jelly could have been more flavoursome.
The location is ideal, tucked away down a small side street and close to a car park that’s free after 6pm.
Inside, the decor is calming and so are the muted colours of the walls and furniture. I love the slate place settings. The huge mirror gives a real feeling of space and spacing is good – you don’t feel like you’ve been crammed in with your fellow diners.
If you’ve taken a look at the menu and find that you’re struggling to choose, Number Eight also does a tasting menu. You’ll want to check their website and social media for details, but at this point in time they’re doing this on Sundays every week. That would certainly make a change from a Sunday roast dinner, which is welcome every once in a while.