Terrace Tapas & Wine Bar
62 Fore St, Ilfracombe, EX34 9ED
It usually falls on the plain. But tonight, on a storm-battered North Devon coast, the rain is lashing down on a long-established Spanish corner of Ilfracombe that is anything but plain. Even on a gloomy Thursday night such as this, The Terrace Tapas Bar buzzes with chatter and a welcoming Mediterranean glow that defies a town that has otherwise battened down its hatches for the night. Think lots of terracotta and wooden tables - The Terrace seats up to 80 - scattered around a pretty alfresco terrace area and about the various alcoves of the former Victorian tearoom and cake shop. Over the last 11 years, this family-run restaurant has made a name for itself as the place to take time over sharing great food with friends. The Terrace serves tapas - as well as a range of Tex-Mex dishes - effortlessly well, embracing a food tradition that rewrites the rule book, gives formality the elbow and makes way for good old chat, cheer and choice. Among others - all excellent - we chose queso Manchego (ewes milk cheese with quince jelly); pan-fried chorizo; pancetta vieras (honey roasted scallops wrapped in bacon); and a grilled goat's cheese salad that fused so well with delicate balsamic vinegar and a scattering of pine nuts. In fact, choose anything from this wonderfully rich tapestry of tapas (£2.95-£6.95) and you really can't go far wrong. Owners Mark and Kelly Richardson have put together a menu that is packed with exciting varieties from all over Spain. Nothing is in there to make up the numbers - rather to ponder over, perhaps two or three dishes at a time, with one eye on the next round, and another on a good Rioja.