Drinking

The Curator Kitchen, Devon

I am a big Italian food lover, as is the other-half, so as soon we heard about The Curator Kitchen in Totnes and what Italian delicacies they offered, we knew what our plans were that evening. 

Recommended to me during my stay in Devon, I was eager to try The Curator Kitchen, especially after I heard they provide what they call “The Italian Experience”.
Though I booked my table in the evening, I did wander past it during the day whilst on my trip around Totnes. By day, the Curator is a unique, quirky café meets vintage store serving great coffee whilst selling a wide range of books and magazines. By night, it is a secret escape into the world of genuine Italian food for a select few, just upstairs above the café and store.

I booked a table for 7pm; we wanted to start early as we heard the Italian Experience was many dishes eaten over several hours – boy, were we in for a treat!

Walking up the stairs to the restaurant above the café, I was greeted by a simple yet stylish dining area. White walls, wooden dining tables and an open window into the kitchen gave this secluded area a real warm and lively atmosphere. I was glad I booked in advance as there wasn’t as much space as I thought, however this was no downside. The intimate area made this charming restaurant feel secretive and exclusive; I felt like I was being let in on Totnes' fabulous little secret.

Sitting down at our table, we were offered bread to nibble on whilst we perused The Italian Experience Menu. The experience consisted of 5 courses: antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni and dolci. There was such a wide selection to choose from and we needed a little guidance. The friendly waitress was incredibly knowledgeably and could tell me what every single meal off the menu was; how it was made, with what ingredients and even where some of the recipes originated from.

After several minutes of deciding, we managed to order and eagerly awaited our evening of eating and drinking. Being in a small establishment and in a prime spot for ogling the food that came out the kitchen, our mouths began to drool at the works of art that were being produced. The smell of the whole restaurant was divine. Watching the plates come out, I realised that the experience was not a series of tasting dishes but a selection of full-sized meals - I was glad I arrived on an empty stomach!

My first course was burratina; a cheese dish made of mozzarella and cream severed with frisée, peas, mint and hazelnuts. My partner had the beef ribs, slow cooked in a red wine sauce. We are both big food sharers, so we try to choose polar opposite courses when out eating so we can both try a bit of everything and these two dishes went splendidly together. The mixture of the creamy cheese and the rich meaty flavours were awe-inspiring; we mopped up every speck of sauce with the bread provided. 

Our second course was bachamel & chard vincigrassia with wild garlic pesto and pappardelle with oxtail ragu. You can see there is a theme between me and the other-half! Once more another creamy dish to match with a rich meaty one, however the flavours were very different from the first course. Different textures and combinations of herbs and flavourings meant that we were surprised with every dish that was placed in front of us.

The next two courses were served together, mine being pigeon breast in buckwheat polenta and his being stuffed hispi cabbage – they were served alongside our fourth course of charred radish and roast potatoes. To finish the entirety of these courses, one needs a big appetite! Us being foodies that we are, we fought on because we knew the grand prize was at the end – desert.

This was the one time we both ordered the same: almond jelly served with a lemon sorbet, mint honeycomb and a raspberry coulis. This was obviously an incredibly well thought out meal as this was the perfect was to refreshed up after the mammoth amount of delicious food we had been devouring over the evening. Crisps, fresh and tart – it was perfection.

After nearly three hours in this charming, secluded restaurant we finally mopped up the last of our food and made our way home - tummies full and smiling. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our beautiful Devon retreats here. 

The Curator Kitchen is a modern Osteria, above The Curator Cafe in the heart of Totnes. Find out more about this stunning hidden gem here

Website | The Curator Cafe. 2 The Plains, Totnes, TQ9 5DR | 01803 865570 

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