Literally two seconds walk from the beach in Hartland Quay, is the Hartland Quay Hotel). The hotel has a bar to the side of it (Wreckers Retreat), which was once the stables, where it serves lunches and evening meals. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it’s very much a traditional old pub, except there are various relics from old shipwrecks – according to The Hartland Quay Hotel’s website – the sea between North Devon and Lundy has over ten wrecks per mile! It also has some amazing huge photographs on the walls of all the celebs who have recorded various TV series and films in and around the Hartland area, including the most recent Night Manager starring Hugh Lawrie, Olivia Coleman and Tom Hiddleston.
However, lets talk about the food. The lunchtime specials’ offering is all on a blackboard in the bar area, but they also handed us a laminated menu for perusal whilst we sipped our drinks. There was a separate gluten free menu – always a bonus! It shows that they have thought about what’s in the food and how to make it easier for the diner.
The food was traditional, hearty pub grub containing the usual suspects of fish (obviously because of its location), pies and gammon/ham and chips. The really helpful barman pointed out for me which dishes on the specials’ board were gluten free including mentioning that the chilli usually is but it wasn’t that week (always helps to check!), however the curry is and yes the chips were gluten free as they had a dedicated fryer. Now I like very tasty, eclectic food and love spice, however sometimes I also really just like a basic gammon, egg and chips and so I ordered that! I had just walked five and a half miles and wanted/needed a feed!
The starters were traditional too and both hubby and I opted for a prawn cocktail. When they brought the starter out we wished we had opted to share – it was huge! The Marie Rose sauce was just a little too creamy for me, but the quality (and quantity) of the fresh prawns was unsurpassable. Not good news that we were stuffed after the starter!
For main course hubby ordered the traditional pasty with chips and salad. It’s made by local Bideford pie makers Blackwells (we do like eateries that support local small businesses) and so we knew that the quality would be good. Again it was huge! My gammon came with egg, pineapple and chips. The quantity and quality of the food was excellent and all very well cooked.
The only let down from a gluten free point of view was that the choice of dessert was limited to sorbet – but having said that I couldn’t have squeezed in anything as I was so full from the lunch. Hubby was determined to try a pudding (apparently on the basis that he had to review one!), so ordered an apple crumble with custard. It was apparently lovely, but even he couldn’t finish it and bless them they sorted out a ‘doggy bag’ for him to take home.
The staff were all friendly, helpful and very accommodating. I would definitely recommend it for a meal. The only thing I didn’t like particularly was the coffee – but I am a self-confessed coffee snob, so I’ll let them off that one!
Opening hours: 11am until 11pm, Meals are served from 12-2.30pm and 6-9pm. Bar snacks from 3-5.30pm at weekends and every day during the summer.
Gluten free friendly: Very gluten free aware.
Child friendly: Children and babies are very welcome.
Disabled access: Access to the toilets outside is wheelchair friendly.
Dog friendly: Dogs are welcome.