River Cottage Canteen & Deli Axminster


SquareMeal Review of River Cottage Canteen & Deli Axminster

As you might expect from a man who made his name living the life of a smallholder for TV, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘store and canteen’ champions all things local. Walk through the shop selling locally reared meat and bread from the nearby bakery, and you come to a high-ceilinged dining room with simple wooden tables, an open kitchen you painted brick walls. Fearnley-Whittingstall doesn’t actually get his hands dirty at the stove, but the mop-haired celebrity does provide recipes for dishes such as crab, mussel and squid stew or crispy pig’s head salad (made with tongue, cheeks and even ears). Producers and growers are highlighted on the menu, and the wine list is also weighted towards English vineyards such as Camel Valley. Outside, there’s a patio and kitchen garden, which is regularly raided by the kitchen staff. It doesn’t get more local than that.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for River Cottage Canteen & Deli Axminster

Trinity Square, Axminster, Devon, EX13 5AN

01297 631862


Opening Times

Mon-Sat 9am-3pm, 6:30pm-9:30pm, Sun 12pm-3:30pm

Reviews of River Cottage Canteen & Deli Axminster

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1 Review 

Christopher J

19 April 2010  
I was excited about Sunday lunch at Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen. To enter the restaurant you walk first through the annexed shop / deli packed with local Cheeses, freshly baked breads and pastries. Then into the light, airy dining room with vaulted ceiling and hotch-potch of wooden chairs. This, I thought is HFW’s showcase for seasonal, local produce and I studied the blackboard menu. Firstly I was surprised that A4 paper ‘Wine List’ offered a ‘Winter Warmer’, given that we were well into April. Secondly that there was no still or sparkling mineral water available (changing suppliers) or any soft drinks apart from fruit juices. The bread momentarily perked me up. Then for the starters, Wild Garlic soup which was losing heat by the second due to being served on a dinner plate, a salad of goats cheese (truffle size shavings) with Hazelnuts (autumnal surely?) all coated with sticky balsamic which killed the entire dish. A glass of iceless tap water later and the £17 Roast arrived I hoped would save the day. Once crispy Roast Potatoes sat soggily in a puddle of jus / thin gravy with decent vegetables, two fatty, chewy pork slices and spoonful of mash. No condiments offered which was a great shame as English Mustard or Horseradish could have brought some much needed flavour to the dish. All credit to the staff, the question of uneaten food was dealt with and we left with some excellent produce from the shop. It seems Hugh is following the well trodden route of celebrity Chefs. Pity that.
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