Review: The Cove Café Bar, Hope Cove, Devon, UK
Uber average
The Cove Café Bar

Overall rating: * * *

The Cove Café Bar in Hope Cove, Devon, England bills itself as "Uber Cool" which should perhaps have been my first warning, since in my experience, places which are busy being "cool" are often too busy to concentrate on the things which are actually important. It's recently been heavily promoted online and in print, and in fact a short time ago, flagship publication Devon Life published a glowing review, which only added to my desire to visit. The establishment is located in the middle of the small coastal village, a short distance from the sandy beach where children play in the summer, among whom I counted myself a number of summers ago, so it's always with some nostalgia that I return to Hope Cove. From the outside, The Cove Café Bar looks pleasant enough, in a freshly white-painted building, with wooden picnic tables outside, all but one of which were occupied when we arrived. The small interior dining room was surprisingly empty; the reason soon became clear however when the two small children seated with 4 adults in the corner started shrieking at the top of their lungs. We quickly retreated outside, taking the last remaining table at the right hand end of the terrace.

After perusing the extensive menu (heavy on fish and seafood as one would expect) but also with a decent selection of reasonably priced sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and cream teas, I placed our order at the bar. Shortly after our drinks (we tried the rather good craft stout which was available on draft) were brought to our table, a beer delivery truck pulled up opposite, and the driver, assisted by someone from the bar (owner or manager one would assume) proceeded to unload kegs and, loudly, load the empties on to the truck. Since the empties were stacked up behind us, it made for an unpleasantly loud few minutes; the comment from the owner / manager (?) of "Don't worry, we won't take long" prompted me to respond sarcastically with "Sorry if we're inconveniencing you by sitting here", to which he replied with "Oh, don't worry, you aren't"!! Methinks my point was missed?

The food was delivered by a somewhat grumpy looking waitress; we'd ordered three different items in order to try a selection of the offerings. The fish and chips was good value at £6.95 for the medium portion (a good sized piece of breaded fish) served with bread and butter, peas, and sadly disappointing homemade chips, which looked and tasted like they had been made and cooked a long time previously and re-fried to heat them up again; although the waitress assured us that was not the case when we asked. The hot bacon butty (bacon sandwich) was gigantic and excellent value at £4.95 served with leaves and crisps on the side. The dressed Salcombe crab, served with salad and lovely fresh bread and butter was excellent, and not badly priced at £11.50, but after all, it's hard to mess up a fresh crab.

The building across the street from The Cove has recently been painted a nauseous shade of green, as has the Hope & Anchor Pub, which adjoins The Cove. It's not an appetite pleasing color unfortunately, and dominated the view from where I was sitting.

If I'd ordered only the crab, and had not been subjected to the beer truck experience, I might have left with a better impression; as it was, I won't be back.


Food *** (the crab by itself would have rated an extra *)

Drinks ****

Value ****

Service ***

Ambiance: ***

Overall *** (and I feel I'm being generous)


Dressed Crab at The Cove (Photo Stewart Mandy)

Stewart Mandy lunched at The Cove at his own expense.

Article written: June 2016

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