Sidford eatery named ‘authentic restaurant of the year’ by European judges

Annette and Andy Witheridge, owners of the Salty Monk in Sidford. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 31

Annette and Andy Witheridge, owners of the Salty Monk in Sidford. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3167-40-12AW. - Credit: Archant

A Sidford eatery offering fresh, local produce that strives to exceed expectations has been named ‘authentic restaurant of the year’ by an independent European body.

Andy and Annette Witheridge have no idea when the Luxury Travel Guide judges visited the Salty Monk, or even that they were entered, so they were amazed to win.

They were also recognised by the guide last year and said they have had a definite upsurge in customers from Europe and America.

“It’s good for Sidmouth and good for the South West if it brings in more tourists,” said Andy. “’Authentic’ means real food – it’s what we’ve always done. No foams, no jellies, it’s just real, quality food without the poncy portion sizes.

“It’s all cooked from scratch, with no colourings or preservatives. It takes time but it’s our passion.”

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After working on the London circuit and in Michel-star restaurants, Andy and Annette moved to Sidmouth with two young children, who customers have watched grow up in the 19 years the couple have run the Salty Monk.

The business is also in the running to be named bed and breakfast of the year and dog-friendly business of the year at the Devon Tourism Awards, but there is stiff competition.

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The Witheridges rarely shout about their awards.

“We would rather exceed people’s expectations,” said Andy. “So often, businesses tell you how amazing they are before you get there, and they don’t live up to it.

“We don’t really tell people what we do. They find out when they get here.”

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