Visit: 4 – 5 March 2023, lunch and dinner for two people
The luxury 5 star Cary Arms and Spa hotel overlooks Babbacombe and Oddicombe beaches near Torquay, Devon. It is thought to have been built around the 1850s and has hosted King Edward VII and Sir Winston Churchill. Purchased by tycoon Peter de Savary in 2006, the hotel was given a major face lift. It was re-opened in 2009 as a luxury boutique hotel and spa, with ten sea facing rooms and suites facing the sea, seven restored cottages, and eight beach huts and beach suites. Food is served either in the bar area or in an adjoining conservatory overlooking the bay. The views over the bay are stunning.
The gastro-pub type food focuses on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. There is a good selection of real ales on tap, including local varieties, and a good wine list which includes some top-end wines from the De Savary cellar.
One note of caution is the access to the hotel which is down a twisting 30% hill from Babbacombe. Its relatively easy to descend, but might be a challenge when you are leaving. There is a pay and display carpark at the bottom of the hill, near the hotel, and the hotel has its own secured parking halfway up the hill. The helpful staff will ferry you and your luggage from the hotel to your car.
We had breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant. All the food is high gastro-pub standard, and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. Head chef Steve Poyner , senior sous chef Thea Warren and the team cook fresh, seasonal dishes using local ingredients such as Devon beef, Lyme Bay lobster and line-caught seafood.
There is a gastro package available where you stay two nights at the Cary Arms, eating one night at the pub and another night at one Michelin starred restaurant The Elephant in nearby Torquay (see my review at The Elephant)
This is a great pub serving excellent food and is well worth a visit if you are in or near Torquay
The Food (Lunch and Dinner):
The Breakfast menu
View from our hotel bedroom looking out to sea
View from the quay looking back at the hotel
The bar and restaurant area
Steve Poyner was born in Torquay in 1991 and after graduating from South Devon College, joined the kitchen of the Cary Arms & Spa when it reopened after an extensive refurbishment by Peter and Lana de Savary in 2009.
In 2010 he went to work at de Savary’s Oxfordshire hotel, The Old Swan and Minster Mill, where his skill and enthusiasm to learn led to his promotion to Chef de Partie after only eight months.
In 2014, Steve returned to the Cary Arms & Spa as Sous Chef. Since 2014 he’s been working with a talented and close-knit kitchen team and has been instrumental in the philosophy and success of the restaurant – from their use of the finest local ingredients to their AA rosette.
Steve was promoted to Head Chef in 2019.