Foodie philosophies at Island Street Bar & Grill

Posted by thewinkingprawn on March 2, 2017

From home made sauces to lobster landed on our doorstep, food at the Island Street Bar & Grill is more than just tasty.  Talking to Head Chef Nick, this is what matters when it comes to food at the Bar & Grill…


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Buying local


The fact that we can see where our crab and lobster come from and where they’re landed is the sort of thing that chefs dream of.  It allows for individuality and quality, and it’s great to know that in the summer, half an hour before that lobster comes into the kitchen it would have been in storage in the estuary.  


Crab is landed and produced in Salcombe as well.  Crab has to be cooked before it’s delivered, and our supplier steams it instead of boiling it, so it has a much longer shelf life and a much sweeter taste - it is exactly what Salcombe crab should taste like.


Chef Nick says: “buying local is important to me for a number of reasons.  I’m a Devon boy anyway, and we have fantastic fisheries, livestock and produce in the area; it’s impossible to beat.  When you have local suppliers who create beautiful products, you would be remiss not to use them.  People want Salcombe crab and Devon beef - it’s part of the joy of being here.


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Making our own


Making our own sauces was one of the reasons for developing the menu again this year, to maximise the amount of homemade food we can offer.  Our desserts are homemade (except the ice cream of course, which is from Salcombe Dairy), our brownies are now gluten free and our cheesecakes and Prosecco jellies are made on site.  


“It’s very easy to fall into the trap of buying sauces for the sake of expedience, but in doing so you lose so much in the process,” says Nick.  “You can get chemical tasting sauces anywhere but with our barbecue sauce for example, we have created something you won’t taste anywhere else because it’s unique to us.  That’s what’s really important to us at the Bar & Grill.  Luke and I are working to give a unique identity to our food, so when you come to have a burger, it’s the best burger you will ever eat.”


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Personal passion 


“I started my career at a tapas bar,” says Nick, “and I have done my fair share of fine dining as well, so bringing those techniques and that professional integrity into a diner establishment is wonderful.  I lived in South London for a long time and that West Indian influence is so satisfying.  As a chef, I think if you’re not inspired by your surroundings and if you don’t bring your experience to your food in the future, you’re not doing your job very well.”


“As much as I love poncing about with food and doing intricate plating, at the Bar & Grill I am cooking food that I love eating.  Ask most chefs what they like eating and this is it: mixed grill, steak and chips, something that’s satisfying to eat, stripping it back and giving people really tasty food.  If people enjoy what I cook it’s lovely and humbling.”


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What to expect


The epitome of what we are trying to achieve is the fish curry.  It uses local fish and brings in vibrant satisfying flavours as well.  At the moment we are using ling, which is a meaty fish that’s similar to cod, but it isn’t over fished.  

Nick says: “something that’s fundamentally important to me as a chef and as a human, is over fishing.  I don’t use cod or haddock, ling is from the same family and has a beautiful, meaty texture that goes really well with curry.  It ticks all the boxes.”