Review: The Ginger Peanut

by Melissa Stewart

04 May 2018

This new foodie hotspot in Bampton may have a quirky name, but it's also got bags of character to match

The sleepy north-east Devon village of Bampton is becoming quite the foodie destination. First with the award-winning pub, The Swan, and now with the opening of Peter Mundy’s Ginger Peanut. Peter has long been one of Devon’s most successful caterers, recently winning Best Caterer at the South West Wedding Awards. Now he’s taken his successful foodie formula and applied it to a bricks and mortar establishment. The result is a delightful restaurant with rooms situated slap bang in the village.

While not quite a pub, it’s not a formal restaurant either – picture more of a cosy bistro, with duck egg blue wood panelled walls, tartan upholstered chairs (which, by the way, are some of the comfiest we’ve ever sat on while eating), and low-level lighting. It’s got a country living vibe but with a contemporary edge, and a cosy atmosphere. We’re told the room can be split in two, too, with a sliding wall, to cater for private parties. There are also five bedrooms upstairs, should you fancy making a proper night of it and booking a room for a kip.

With his training in classic French and modern English cuisine, Peter’s menu offers a fresh twist on classics you’d expect to find in this part of the world, like rump of lamb and pan-fried venison. The prices are reasonable too, with mains from £13.95, rising to £20.95 for a steak.

I began with a starter of pan-fried sardines, Portuguese style, with crispy shallots. It’s a hefty portion but one that’s packed with flavour, with the juicy sardines perfectly paired with a sweet, smoky sauce. Across the table, a recommendation of ham hock arrives tender, moist and just the right side of gelatinous. It’s brought to life with a dash of curried dressing and a side of Welsh rarebit.

For mains, I feel a little predictable, but just can’t say no to the local venison loin, particularly as it’s served with giroles, winter veg, fondant potatoes and a blackberry sauce. It provides the perfect antidote to the rain falling outside, oozing warmth and a rich depth of flavour. Of note is the venison itself, perfectly pink in the middle, superbly tender and packed with flavour. One of the best cuts of deer I’ve tasted in Devon – and believe me, I’ve tried a lot.

My dining companion opts for the rump of lamb, braised shoulder, root veg gratin and celeriac purée. Again, an impressive dish. His only criticism being that the lamb was perhaps a bit on the fatty side.

Both mains were hearty helpings, and we can see that this will appeal to diners who like to leave the table fully satiated. This is fine dining, but it’s also not overly fussy or intricate. It’s locally sourced produce, cooked well.

I finished with poached pear, chocolate ganache and salted caramel brittle, the juicy pear cutting through the gloriously decadent chocolate, which was rich but not overbearing. On the other side of the table, a raspberry and pistachio parfait with Champagne and raspberry posset was devoured.

All in all, we reckon The Ginger Peanut has got it going on. It straddles that line between pub and restaurant perfectly, and it’s got a warm, buzzy atmosphere. It’s reassuring to see it so busy on a cold late-February evening too, and we’re sure it’s only going to get more popular.