A quaint 150-year-old village pub embraces charcoal cooking.
Situated just metres from the sea wall, in the small village of Beesands in Devon, The Cricket Inn has been at the heart of idyllic village life for over 150 years after opening its doors back in 1867. Tourism is the main industry in Beesands, as one of the most tranquil villages on the south coast, it attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year.
In such a unique location, provenance and seasonality of ingredients are of the greatest importance to Operations Managers, Stuart Downie and Scott Heath. “We always knew we wanted to make the most of the fresh seafood available right on our doorstep” says Stuart. “All of our fresh fish is landed in Plymouth, just a short distance down the coast, while our crabs and lobsters are delivered just hours after being caught by a local fisherman.” It’s not just fish on the menu though, with Scott adding, “For us, quality is essential. Being a ‘seafood grill restaurant’ we also offer a range of meat. We buy different cuts and make sure that nothing goes to waste.”
This commitment to quality is evident in the cooking of the ingredients too, with Stuart going on to explain, “So much of our menu is based around flavours. We choose the very best, seasonal ingredients and other than a few herbs and seasonings, we let the flavours of the fish or meat come through in the way we cook it.”
In the heart of the kitchen and proudly printed on the menu for all customers to see, The Cricket Inn has a stunning Josper Charcoal Oven. “Our Josper has become crucial to our business and our menu” explains Scott. “The Josper is almost like having another chef in the Kitchen! We probably cook about 80% of our menu using it, including everything from prime cuts of beef, to whole vegetables and of course delicate fish such as whole seabass or even wonderful scallops, baked in their shells.” For Scott, it’s the unique flavour that the Josper brings to the dishes that impresses most, as he describes. “The flavour is incredible. Because of the closed chamber, the fish remains moist, yet the skin is crispy. Steaks such as rump, T-bone or Chateaubriand are beautifully tender too.”
This combination of standout ingredients and incredible flavour is something that The Cricket Inn customers just can’t get enough of. “Many of our customers are intrigued by the Josper. Our front of house team introduces the concept to those visiting for the first time, while returning customers often ask what our fish of the day is and whether it’s being cooked over charcoal” enthuses Stuart. “We’re so pleased with Jestic and our Josper Charcoal Oven, we’ve just put another oven in our second restaurant just along the coast!”