Technically not a pub, but the bar of a hotel, the Aquarium Bar is named after the rather large fish tank which is built into the wall next to the bar. It is home to the biggest lobster I have ever seen, a couple of flat fish hiding in the sand and some snails. Not exactly exotic, but in the event of an emergency it’s nice to see that there would be a bit of food available. The bar looks out over South Sands beach, which is situated just outside of Salcombe. I’m told property prices here are second only to those at Sandbanks, Poole and looking at the view I can well believe it!
So after a brisk walk up and down the surrounding hills to get here what better way to relax than with a cider. There’s nothing on draught, but a quick enquiry leads to the assertion that I can have a bottle of Bulmers … my face gave my feelings on that away … well, we also have some bottles of a local cloudy dry cider if you prefer? Oooh yes please.
It turns out to be Heron Valley. I take a sip – it’s delicious! Cold and refreshing. Would I like another? I don’t mind if I do. This time I ask if I can have the bottle as well, which tells me that a full ten varieties of apples are used in the cider process – bearing further wonderful original names as well as the usual Dabinett and Kingston Black - Fair Maid of Devon, Hangy Down Clusters, Foxwhelp, Browns, Sheeps Nose, Ten Commandments, Pig Snout and my favourite – Slap me Girdle!
Much like fellow Devon producer Luscombes, Heron Valley also do a roaring trade in organic apple juice and ginger beer. But I can fully recommend their cider – as an added bonus it is totally organic, without any of those sulphites added.
The bar is quiet today, it is a Friday after all and the holiday season is yet to begin in earnest, but I can imagine that it gets packed out in the summer months. I consult the menu … no Tuna baguette here. We’re in Crab country again – and Salcombe Crab at that! A Salcombe Crab sandwich on brown sounds lovely. And it is! Served with a small side salad of rocket and balsamic and a handful of crisps it tastes delicious. Although half is secreted in my handbag for afternoon tea …
Cider - 3 (Not much choice, but then you don’t need much choice when the cider tastes as good as this!)
Tuna - (0 – not on the menu) but Crab – 4 (The only way it could have been better is if it was Tuna …)
Atmosphere – 2 (Much too posh to be a proper pub, but the wonderful view made up for that!!)