If you dream of eating great food that reminds you of sunnier places, how do Roasted feta with peppers, dates and black cardamom or Cappuccino creme brulee, cinnamon and star anise milk and spiced doughnuts sound to you? Giorgio Kostas of The Old Bakery in Kingsbridge, Devon is a chef on a mission.
‘My customers are like family’, explains Giorgio. ‘I want to take them to where I grew up in Australia and Greece, with wonderful, fresh food that reflects the best of the season.’
Giorgio knows how to get the best to the table. His childhood was spent between Australia, where his father taught him to hunt and prepare wild boar and Greece where he cannot remember a time when he was not at the stove.
He fell in love with the kitchen in the islands of Greece, working both for the enduring, four-star Steps of Lindos hotel and an upmarket, bustling local restaurant in Thessaloniki. ‘There were a few tables and no menu, we would cook whatever came in fresh that day.’ Simple, delicious.
Cookery had become the passion that Giorgio wanted to master, he came to Bristol to work for renowned Restaurateur and Chef, Barney Haughton. Haughton’s restaurants Quartier Vert and Bordeaux Quay continue to garner national and local attention for their commitment to impeccably sourced organic produce and intelligent menus.
During that time, Giorgio cooked regularly with Barney’s team for Prince Charles and his guests at Highgrove. ‘What a fantastic kitchen’, Giorgio remembers ‘a really great place to cook using organic ingredients from the estate and these beautiful copper pans dating back to King George’.
Having met his wife, Juliette, the newly-weds moved to Devon where Giorgio soon became Head Chef at the well loved White Hart in Modbury. Eventually, they were ready to find their own place in the distinctive market town of Kingsbridge. ‘Juliette’s family is near and once we saw Kingsbridge, we knew our restaurant was going to be here too’, he says.
Giorgio’s restaurant, The Old Bakery, opened its doors in the spring of 2008. So how does he describe it? ‘We make everything ourselves, from the bread to the sausages to curing the bacon, everything is fresh. You can come for an incredible breakfast, or in the winter months for lunch and dinner we like to serve a variety of beautiful, small dishes, like tapas is to encourage people to share food. Our regular customers often don’t ask for a menu, we just cook them something special.’
Giorgio has a good team around him, his Sous Chef James Gordon Featherstone, is working his way through BBC 2’s Masterchef The Professional heats, the wine list is chosen by Master of Wine, Liam Steevenson with an emphasis small producers from
the Old World and Giorgio’s wife Juliette has made The Old Bakery a place you remember. They offer a fine dining menu on special nights like Valentine’s Day and throughout the summer months. With dishes like Hand dived scallops, fried quails eggs, puy lentils and pickled pears, Roasted wood pigeon, coffee and date purée with almonds and a Dark chocolate and walnut tart with beetroot ice cream, it’s easy to see why people are raving about it.
So if you want to slip away to a place that reminds you of the sun, where you will feel at home, where the chef makes not only three kinds of bread every day but even the table we are sitting at, The Old Bakery should hit the spot. See you there.