The Tides Reach at South Sands

Anna Turns experiences delicious food and tranquil surroundings at the Tides Reach Hotel Salcombe on this beautiful South Devon estuary

The Tides Reach

You feel like you are on holiday, even if only for a few hours, when you arrive at the Tides Reach Hotel and Restaurant on the shores of South Sands beach away from Salcombe’s busy Fore Street.

“We feel like we offer something different. Here you can experience peace and tranquillity, and you can just enjoy the surroundings,” says John Edwards, whose family have owned and run the hotel for the past 43 years.

In the front lounge, my husband, Chris, and I enjoyed pre-dinner drinks from the comprehensive cocktail menu and wine list as we watched the yachts come into the harbour across The Bar. South Sands beach has its own unique character, with the distinctive old lifeboat station building and the South Sands sea tractor standing by.

“Our menu changes every day, which is essential, as some of our hotel guests stay up to 14 nights,” says John. 

Head Chef Finn Ibsen has worked at the restaurant for 22 years and has built up good relationships with all the local suppliers. The team are proud to show off their local sources of produce, with details of how and where each fish was caught detailed on the menu.

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John Edwards explains: “Because shallow harbours like Looe in Cornwall can only sustain smaller dayboats, these fishing boats have to come in each day to offload their catch. We make a real effort to source the best and freshest fish from dayboats in Devon and Cornwall where possible.”

For the main three-course meal we moved through to the Garden Room Restaurant overlooking the hotel’s duck pond and lush green South Sands Valley.

The friendly and attentive staff all gave excellent service and although the restaurant was busy, with some non-residents as well as dinner, bed and breakfast guests from the 32 rooms, the staff gave top service and each course arrived right on cue. On Friday and Saturday evenings in the restaurant, the mellow sound of Paul Hill’s live guitar music creates a relaxed ambience.

As we pored over the menu we enjoyed some delicious fresh roasted-pepper and garlic homemade bread of the day, and even the butter – in keeping with ‘by the sea’ theme – was presented in a scallop shell.

For my starter, I chose the gravadlax, cured in-house, with celeriac and wild rocket remoulade served with chargrilled rye bread... absolutely delicious. My husband had three large Scottish langoustines, served with tomato and chilli salsa and local samphire.

To follow I chose the fillet of halibut and tarragon beurre blanc, with fresh pea and broadbean risotto. The fish had a firm meaty texture, and the tarragon sauce, far from overpowering, brought the whole dish together beautifully. The risotto was al dente, with the fresh green beans and peas adding a light summery feel to the dish, and my glass of crisp, cold Pinot Grigio was the perfect accompaniment.

Chris chose rump of Dartmoor lamb with mint and redcurrant salsa. The meat was perfectly cooked, with an excellent balance of flavours, and accompanied by just the right amount of chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables and beautifully cooked Dauphinoise potatoes.

It was dessert time, and Chris chose the platter of British cheeses – served with home-baked bread and apple and apricot chutney, which offered a good variety of flavours and textures. I chose the fresh fruit platter served with Greek yoghurt, with gooseberries, massive blackberries, sweet pineapple and melon; a great way to finish off the meal.

After dinner, we returned to the lounge bar for delicious coffee and petits fours. where the casual atmosphere gave less of a traditional restaurant feel and more of a ‘whole evening’ experience.

Tides Reach Hotel & Restaurant

South Sands, Salcombe, TQ8 8LJ

01548 843466

Proprietor: The Edwards family

Head Chef: Finn Ibsen

Restaurant opening times: 7pm until 9pm, every night excluding December and January

Prices: �32.50 to include starter, main course, dessert or cheese, and coffee

Sample Menu


Cornish sardine fillets in Parmesan breadcrumbs, with homemade piccalilli

Confit of duck leg, with plum and orange chutney

Main Courses

Fillet of Salcombe sea bass with bacon vinaigrette dressing, seashore vegetables, mountain peach, and roasted new potatoes comp�te

Fillet of Looe John Dory with b�arnaise sauce, girolle mushrooms, leeks and chard, with new potatoes


Strawberry Eton Mess served in a dark chocolate cup with a drizzle of caramel

Homemade ice cream, toasted coconut topped with pineapple pieces

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