The Bude Tourist Information Centre booklet contains just one organic restaurant, at Bangors’ B&B.
Having parked the car on the beach at Bude, on the verge of going to a fashionable restaurant above the vast surfing beach, I rang and asked if they could let me in the next day.
They could squeeze me in, a warm, friendly voice said. That was Gill Faier, who calls herself a “plain English cook.”
Good Food Hunting
Dinner on Friday told me I had come to the end of my quest for good food near the Devon-Cornwall border.
There may be more trendy places than Bangors Organic but none of them offered the kind of food my body was craving for – seasonal food that jumps with life, tastes sublime and, most importantly, makes you feel completely revitalised.
As it happens, not only is Bangors Organic one of just three Soil Association certified B&B hostelries in the UK but their attractive organic restaurant – with a lovely outdoor patio for balmy summer days and nights – is open to the public.
At Bangor Organics, they also offer two thoughtfully decorated, double B&B suites – the Menhir and the Lundy Rooms. The latter has a bathroom akin to those you might find a French chateau – large enough to host a dinner party.
Not that you’d want to spend all your time in the bathroom. There are too many other things to do.
Gill’s husband, Neil, has done a superb job of refurbishing the old Victorian house, as well as building an elegant ‘front’ garden – complete with menhir.
Behind the first garden lie a series of organic gardens that provide most of the edible produce for Gill’s kitchen. Hens, ducks and geese roam here, sharing some the healthy offerings in Neil’s wonderful gardens.
Gill generally offers main dishes of lamb, duck or chicken. However, I chose vegetarian on my first night in reaction to fairly stodgy food elsewhere.
Besides, it was an excuse to try out the range of vegetables available.
What struck me with the kale and roasted baby tomatoes was the intensity of flavours mingling together on the plate.
The vegetables are prepared in a way that brings out the intrinsic taste. There’s certainly no need of fussy sauces at this restaurant.
And the desserts! Heaven on a spoon.
At the end of dinner that first night, I was over-the-moon about securing the Menhir suite after a late cancellation for Saturday and Sunday.
That would give me a chance to find out how Gill handled food for carnivores. I would not be disappointed.
First, though, was an endurance test: a hair-raising, fog-bound drive back to my cottage over the border in Devon. This was so plagued by boy racers that I preferred to take my chances on unknown country lanes and limped in via some very strange places late that night.
On Saturday night, the Faiers had arranged a small party, to eat en famille at a long table. The guests included two of Bangor’s organic suppliers who you will meet in a different review and a charming couple from Australia.
Our host, Neil, regaled us with talk and excellent wine while a charming young college student – enterprising enough to work both as a waiter at the weekend and on the local radio station – helped with the food.
Unfortunately, I lost my notes and photos when my snazzy laptop crashed irretrievably so many of the details have gone forever.
However, be assured that Gill cooks just as well for carnivores as she does for vegetarians, bringing out the essence of whatever she cooks either with swift despatch on the top of the stove or through long, slow cooking.
Again, there was no lack of vegetables to add colour and texture to each dish. I ate quick-roasted, locally caught sea bass the first night and a tasty pub-style dish of sausages and mash the second night.
Incidentally, their guests share a well-stocked sitting room – complete with TV and an excellent collection of classical music and jazz. A nice touch. This provides the opportunity for guests to have a post-prandial drink and get to know each other better.
For those staying over, a simple breakfast of fresh and cooked fruit, yoghurt, muesli and nuts is optional for those who prefer this kind of fare.
Additionally, a cooked breakfast is on offer: golden-yolked eggs that have just walked in the door, eco-friendly bacon and sausage or smoked salmon with additional vegetarian options for all. I tried it all!
Incidentally, Gill cooks her own bread as well. It’s worth a visit just for the ‘crumb and crust’ of her bread.
In summary, I can’t recommend Bangors Organic strongly enough and am looking forward immensely to my next visit. Accommodation starts from £55pn with 10% off for three nights or more. Main courses in the restaurant are about £14.
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Telephone Bangors Organic on: 01288 361297 or email them: firstname.lastname@example.org