Something new at The Railway in Honiton

New Railway Inn owners Paul Greenhead and Beth Cowley. Ref mhh 21 18TI 3915. Picture: Terry Ife

New Railway Inn owners Paul Greenhead and Beth Cowley. Ref mhh 21 18TI 3915. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

After successful restaurant ventures elsewhere, Paul and Beth are bringing their expertise to an historic Honiton landmark

New Railway Inn owners Paul Greenhead and Beth Cowley. Ref mhh 21 18TI 3915. Picture: Terry Ife

New Railway Inn owners Paul Greenhead and Beth Cowley. Ref mhh 21 18TI 3915. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Exciting developments have been happening behind the scenes at one Honiton’s most historic buildings.

The Railway Inn, which has been closed since April 2016, has been injected with a new lease of life – re-opening as a gastropub under an award-winning chef of 20 years.

Paul Greenhead, who previously owned the hugely-successful Café Catalan in Exeter, has taken the reins at the pub with his partner, Beth Cowley.

It is an exciting time for Honiton’s restaurant scene as one of the town’s most recognisable pubs is now back open - offering modern British and French cuisine, finessed with Paul’s classical twists.

New Railway Inn owners Paul Greenhead and Beth Cowley. Ref mhh 21 18TI 3915. Picture: Terry Ife

New Railway Inn owners Paul Greenhead and Beth Cowley. Ref mhh 21 18TI 3915. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant


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Paul, 51, said: “We chose the Railway because our café was in a residential area of Exeter – and that was the draw of our business [Café Catalan].

“We did not get the high street trade - people came to us because they wanted to come to us.

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“It is the same at the Railway - we are in the middle of thousands of houses.

“We felt coming here that we could pick into what we do well and be successful.”

The revamped Railway Inn will offer a bar area, brimming with a range of international wines as well as a large dining area.

Aside from his regular menu, Paul will be devising a fish specials board, featuring freshly-caught seafood.

A double AA Rosette award winner, Paul says his cooking is not based on ‘gimmicks and tricks’, but demonstrated through his years of working as a classically-trained chef.

He adds: “Our menu will be a mix of modern English and French cuisine. It will be refined dining without being gimmicky.

“I want people to say about my cooking ‘that is really delicious’ instead of ‘that is really clever’.”

The menu will also offer vegetarian dishes, while the option of vegan cuisine could be explored depending on demand.

The revival of the Railway has also created up to ten jobs.

One important piece of the puzzle has already come in – a sous-chef who previously worked under award-winning chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

But Paul says: “We are not about getting accolades. It’s about being busy and making a name of ourselves here.”

Paul and Beth’s Café Catalan was a tapas restaurant, which they ran successfully in the city for four years.

He adds: “I have had restaurants since 2000, including two successful fish restaurants in Cornwall and Bath.

“In between that, I went to New Zealand for two years and worked with Michelin star chefs.”

The couple took the decision to close Café Catalan earlier this year because it became too busy.

Paul says: “We were turning customers away every weekend, which is turning away money.

“We ran out of storage space as well - we were only a small place with 34 covers.

“The Railway has 70 covers in the restaurant and bar for about 20.

“Café Catalan completely bucked the trend compared to all these restaurants which have been closing because they cannot meet their targets.”

The couple have decided to keep the Railway Inn name because the building is a historic landmark in Honiton.

Paul adds:” If we did change the name, people would still refer to it as the ‘former Railway’.

“We are going to take over the old Railway website, and will even try and keep the same phone number.”

Paul said there has been a great reaction in Honiton to his and Beth’s latest venture, with many people stopping in the street to congratulate them.

The Railway Inn can be found in Queen Street.

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