Thursday, 23 July 2015


Hello from another overcast Salcombe - flip me this weather doesn't know what it's doing!!! We have the most stunning weather most of the time and yet thick mist another!!

Either way the Vic is incredibly busy - so please remember if you want to sit inside and eat with us in the evening (or daytime for that matter) please remember to book!! 01548842604 

 I think we lost count over the last few days how many people have been disappointed that we've been unable to find them a seat - particularly when it's 6 or 8's................ I know we're good at turning tables but we're not miracle workers. Pleading and begging (yes you do - you know you do!) won't get me additional seating for you. Nor will swearing down the phone at us!(oh yes, that happened as well this last weekend!)  I could always try for another floor to be added onto the Vic - what say you St Austell??

The (very unflattering pic - thank you SOH!!) of me and our Chefs is the first of our planning meetings for the new Autumn menus.  We're all very, very excited about these.  We've taken the opportunity the last couple weeks to try out some new 'Specials' and my goodness they have gone down a storm. The discussions we've had had been brilliant and we are so lucky to have such talented guys (and girls) in our team. Here's what we don't want:

We don't (won't) put the prices up
We don't want to stray into the territory of a 'Restaurant'
We don't want to move too far away from what our regular customers expect and like (so no introduction of foams and flowers!!)

Here's what we do want to do:

We do want to refine our food offering very slightly
We want to change it every month (outside of summer)
We want it to reflect the seasons
We do want to continue to give great value for money
We want to be recognised even more for the quality of our food

Then there's the thorny question of a 'Gastro Pub' - what the flipping heck IS a GASTROPUB?? Do we want to become one? Here is the definition From Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia   
A gastropub or gastrolounge is a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food

Hang on - light bulb moment alert - that's what we do already?? Ok - that ended that discussion, it's just a word!

So! How are we going to achieve this?? First of all, because my Chefs and ourselves LOVE food (yep, that pic above reflects my love of food!!) we keep a watchful eye on what the great Chefs of the UK are up to. Many of us follow on Twitter the likes of Tom Kerridge, James Martin, Peter Gorton, James Eggleton, Tom Aikens etc and then closer to home we have the incredible John Hooker, Anton Piotrowski, Simon Hulstone, Mitch Tonks and the fantastic Michael Caines (Chef not Actor).

We all love to eat out! We read the trade press and cheffie papers, I personally have dozens of cook books from these great chefs as do my team - so between us we are sitting down, looking at seasonality, looking at these guys recipes, checking if we can adapt them slightly to see if they would work in the Vic. We look at the websites that matter to get inspiration. This summer we adapted a recipe from my personal hero Tom Kerridge (if you go nowhere else in the UK to eat you MUST go to the Hand and Flowers - the MOST incredible food!!) a Pink Grapefruit Merengue! To die for I tell you - absolutely amazing.

So in OUR pub when you sit and look at the menu in September I hope you will appreciate the effort that goes in to making our menu special - just for YOU.

What else? 

From September we are also starting to offer home made cakes. Chef Tania and Sous Chef Kaytie are working on what exactly.  We think we'll start with Cup Cakes and trust me having tasted Tania's cakes I know you're in for a real treat! Light, fluffy, perfect toppings - yum.......

We had an amazing bit of news from our brewery St Austell that we have won a trip to Champagne.  This is because we have been hugely successful in the innovative ways we have sold more Champagne than any other tenanted pub in the Estate.  I think it will be October or November and we are already looking forward to it.  If you are a regular blog reader you will know that a few years ago we won Best Wine House and that was also a trip to Champagne so we know we're in for a great time!

We had a fantastic  picture taken in this last couple of weeks of the man crèche - one of many, many dozens I know but I love the lighting on this.  It's from a visitor to Salcombe (and also a photographer) called Mike Kinsey.  I thought it was one of the best I've ever seen - do you?? The actual sign done by our resident children's author and illustrator Mark Fraser.

As I say, we continue to be hugely busy here at the Vic and we start to have Magic Mark at the pub (he's here this Sunday - lunch hour) Story teller Mark and of course The Old Gaffers (they're here this Saturday starting at 8) I'll endeavour to publish the dates and times on our website in the next couple of days.

I'm also currently working on the newsletter to go out to all of you who have signed up some time this week - I just need a bit of a hand on the technicalities from our website people.............(growls quietly) 

On that happy note (Hah!) I'll say ta-ta just as the sun starts to put his head out of the clouds!

Much love

Liz - Landlady X


Monday, 13 July 2015

Afternoon all

Right, I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood today (although we have just had one very bit of exciting news this morning which I'll share with you soon) so lets get my one main gripe at the moment out of the way shall we!

Trip Advisor!!! Love it or hate it, know about it or couldn't care less about it, there is no doubt it has an impact on business's up and down the country and around the world.  In fact there have been cases where business's have gone to the wall because of it. There has also recently been an enquiry into the authenticity and validity of Trip Advisor and this type of review website.

Now we are mostly in the top three for Salcombe and are currently at no 1 (have been for a little while now) but do you know what - it still manages to bug the hell out of me!

To be in the top 3 and stay there you rely on good consistently scored reviews and lots of reviews.  So mostly, we manage to achieve that. Now just as in life, you can never be perfect at what you do. 

But - We try our hardest, we will of course occasionally make mistakes, but they are genuine mistakes and when they happen  we are genuinely sorry and we always do our best to make things right. IF customers tell us! So, in common with many food outlets - we take the order, fulfil the order, and then we do a 'check back' - 'how are you  doing Sir - is everything all right for you - can I get you anything' type of check. That is the customers chance to say 'well, actually ############!

At the end of the meal when offering the bill we also enquire as to the customers satisfaction with what they've just had. So 2 or more opportunities to say if there was an issue.  But no 'Fliss' from Torquay recently took to TA for her first ever review to have a  moan about a Ploughmans she 'didn't' enjoy and it was a 'rip off', whilst another anonymous person (of course) also had a moan about a Steak which was 'thin and fatty'!!

So the ploughman's in the picture above is generally what we actually serve (although it is missing a half an apple) and how we serve it at £8 - I'm not sure what part of that meal is a rip off? Would you like to comment on what you think?

As for the other person complaining about their steak - well everywhere they reviewed in Salcombe they moaned about something.  They were pleased with one place that refunded and replaced a meal however.  But we didn't refund or replace on this occasion but we did offer a free pudding which they declined.

They also had the most dreadful moan about a fantastic award winning pub in South Pool. Like me the owners responded to the complainant, and like me they seemed genuinely hurt and puzzled at the complaint!  I have even had a conversation with another restaurateur (not in Salcombe) who has had ill founded reviews and is on the verge of throwing in the towel in the business.  

Now of course after nearly 7 years in the trade now I am much less likely to bust into tears at a poor review or post a sarcastic reply (although not always on both counts) but I am still puzzled at the great British public who hiding behind anonymous pseudonyms behave and write as they do???  If I don't like some part of a meal or the service is poor I will say so at the time - if I genuinely liked the experience I'll say so and tip handsomely.

But my thanks and immense gratitude to all of you who do write positive reviews about us and keep us in one of the top spots on this double edged site. Thanks also to the chap who e mailed us this morning to say what a great two visits he'd had to us last week - things like that restore my faith in people and my team are always buoyed up by feedback like that.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh I do feel better now - nothing like a bit of a rant is there!

So back to the normal type blog things - firstly our Gin offering has increased to 17 types of Gins now as St Austell have extended their range that we are able to choose from (remember we're fully tied tenants so ALL of our drinks have to come from them) some utterly fabulous ones as well - already Pinkster Agreeably British Gin is proving to be a firm favourite - this is a small batch Gin with hints of Raspberry.

Others now include King of Soho (fantastic bottle) served with a wedge of Grapefruit (fantastic), Boodles - named after the worlds second oldest members club, Haymans Old Tom and Sipsmith London Gin just to name a few. There's no doubt Gin is very 'On Trend' right now and we hope you enjoy our selection chosen by Landlord Tim (taste tested by me - mostly!).

Our summer team are continuing to join us as school, college and university finish times allow - our latest recruit is Nicholas (Nic) who has joined us in the kitchen - a smashing lad, incredibly bright and not at all afraid of sheer hard work! He's with us all summer virtually and if the rest of the team are grafters like him, we'll have a good summer!  In fact, all of our young people on our existing team work really, really hard and are all a thoroughly great bunch of kids - bless 'em!

Talking kitchen and food etc, there is a growing trend away from innovative plating of food (think wooden boards, slates, boxes, plant pots - yes, plant pots!) back to a simple plate - do you have a view on that?? If so, do let me know please as we are already looking forward to the Autumn and planning of new seasonal menus and different ways of presentation.

Also, do you have a favourite West Country Cheese you'd like to see on our Cheese Boards - my new favourite is Cornish Blue!!! Heavenly.

So that's it for this time, thank you to all those of you recently who have stopped me in the pub to say how much you still enjoy my ramblings (and rants) and I'll try to blog again soon,

Much love

Licensee Liz x