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“Something different in Brixham - well worth trying”

Verna's Pepper Shack
Ranked #3 of 104 Restaurants in Brixham
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Caribbean, Jamaican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Kids, Special Occasion Dining, View, Groups, Cheap Eats, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Description: Brixham's harbour-side restaurant offers Trinidadian Verna's native Caribbean cuisine alongside great local ribs & home-made steak burgers, local seafood and fun desserts. Carnival favourites Goat Curry, Saltfish & Ackee and Jerk Chicken take pride of place among a number of home-grown recipes - Trinidad Chicken & King Prawn Curry, Pineapple Pork, Legendary Lamb Shank and Shack Scallop & Monkfish Curry. Jerk Pork Skewers, Seafood Tart and San Fernando Spicy Prawns appear amongst the starters along with Patties, Monkfish Goujons, Home-made Samosas and Scallops & Hogs. We use local fish in a number of seafood dishes including Fish Bites and battered Catch-of-the-Day. Vegetarians are offered Pumpkin Patties and Goat Cheese Samosas among the starters, followed by Sweet Potato & Black Bean Curry, Chilli sin Carne and even Jamaican Jerk Tofu. Home-made Chocolate Gateau, Banana Cake, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Banoffee Pie, Morgan-spiced Rum Panacotta are complemented by Ice Cream, Sorbets and Fresh Pineapple. For children, there are home-made Chicken Nuggets, Spaghetti Bolognese and more Ice Cream. Pepper Shack is fully licensed until midnight with Red Stripe, Peroni, local Dartmoor and Bays ales, Healey's Cornish Ciders, wines from around the world and a wide range of rums among the spirits. We also offer an extensive Cocktail Menu and even some Ice Cream Liquour Cocktails
Brixham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
102 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Something different in Brixham - well worth trying”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2012

Intrigued by the large advertisement at a recent Brixham rugby fixture (when I learned that the Pepper Shack was sponsoring the match) I decided to try it, being a fan of Caribbean cooking. It's early days for the restaurant (web site not yet there, but it will be www.peppershack.co.uk) so my wife and I booked with an open mind. We shouldn't have worried, as we were made welcome by the friendly waitresses, and by John, the owner. I believe John and Verna are related to the Armitage brothers - England rugby internationals - and this explains the decor, which is a mixture of old travel posters for the Caribbean, and framed rugby shirts. Although I'm told the steaks are good, we wanted to try Verna's Trinidadian specials, and the crab callaloo was our choice of starter. Just one mouthful reminded me of the last time I had tasted this (out in Tobago), and it was excellent. To follow I had the Peppered Pork and my wife had the Chilli sin Carne (and, of course, we tasted each others). Everything was cooked to perfection, and there was plenty of it. We had hoped to go the whole hog (no pun intended) and have cocktails with our meals, but these weren't available yet (so I look forward to trying them on my next visit), but I must commend the wine; I had the Merlot which was very smooth. To finish, I had the Banoffee Pie (which was like no other I had ever had - excellent!) and my wife had Pineapple with Ice Cream. This was altogether a great experience, and I wish the owners well for the future. Please give it a try - it's much better than some of the larger establishments in Brixham (which I have reviewed elsewhere), and is unique in Torbay (and probably the South West).

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank CSD_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShackTalk, General Manager at Verna's Pepper Shack, responded to this review, 31 January 2013
Let me try this again - my third attempt to reply after previous efforts have disappeared into the ether!

So, belatedly, thanks for a great review! Most of the rugby shirts are indeed from our boys. We finally found somewhere to display them properly. The boys do drop in occasionally but most times are tied up playing rugby. Guy is the only one yet to visit ... in spite of my efforts to tempt him with a 16oz rump - still waiting for a free weekend.

Everything has gone very well since your visit. We've followed up a good Christmas with a good level of bookings into 2013 - very encouraging.

Thanks again and sorry for the lack of response before now.
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Torquay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
71 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Good food, nice place.. one or two teething troubles”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2012

My wife and I dined here the day after it opened, largely because I had always wanted to try "curried goat".

Surroundings – Clean and modern, tastefully decorated. The walls are covered with rugby shirts which may not mean anything to anyone not in to rugby.

Food – Good, with some interesting flavours. Good sized portions which are well presented.

Price – Not the cheapest in town, but certainly not “pricey”, and quite reasonable given the quality.

Service – We dined there on the second day of opening, and it has to be said that service was quite slow, especially as the place was half empty. Having said that you can’t expect a brand new restaurant to run at peak efficiency right from day one, but there were one or two “Drop offs” (I have never known a restaurant run out of mineral water, for example, especially on its second day. Also, the credit card machine didn't work - fortunately we had cash on us.)
Hopefully these issues have now been addressed...
.
On the plus side, our host made us feel welcome and was most apologetic, offering free drinks – a nice touch.

Overall we enjoyed our meal here, and the problems that we did encounter were almost certainly a result of "newness".

We wish the owners good luck with their new venture.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul-B4j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShackTalk, General Manager at Verna's Pepper Shack, responded to this review, 20 October 2012
Thanks for the good wishes - we've had fantastic and understanding support which as been an enormous help in getting started

The mineral water is easily explained!

Having been delayed by legal niceties for 3 weeks, we wanted to get open as soon as we had the menu up-and-running - "winging it" as necessary. Front-of-house experience on Day 1 was zero.

Our first drinks order arrived some 5 days after your visit, so we were working on inherited stock. We now have a pretty well-stocked bar - just missing Trinidad's Carib beer which apparently can't be rushed but will soon join the Peroni. We've now got Cornish sparkling spring water and give away the still mineral water.

The wine list isn't huge but has a good selection of house wines with a few more for the wine lover. We've gone for Healey's Cyder from Cornwall and Dartmoor Ales - also bottled. We'll soon be having pseudo-draft Guinness, too. The optics boast 8 rums - cocktail menu under development - we've got all the ingredient ready for testing. We'll have our coffee machine turning out fresh-ground concoctions in the next week.

Service is still relaxed but hugely improved from the comedy performance of the first few nights. I'm most of the way through developing the full order system - ridiculously sophisticated for a restaurant of our size but I love the challenge.

The credit card machine (installed on the day of your visit) has been an absolute pain - but I've now got the better of it, haha.

I trust that you'll come again and agree that we've addressed a good number of the issues already.
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Penrith
Level Contributor
88 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Undiscovered”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 October 2012

This is a small restaurant upstairs in the harbour side in Brixham, close to the replica Golden Hind. It is not so easy to spot though, access being through a small door between two other properties.

We found the place clean, well decorated and with clean toilets, offering a view over the harbour if you are seated in the right place.

It is new; so new that "front of house" though very pleasant was at times a little disorganised, with eg some items still missing and there was a lack of detail eg a debris pot to dispose of mussel shells (from an excellent mussel dish) but this did not spoil the experience which was wholly positive. Hopefully with a little more time and a recognition that this part of a business is very important indeed, these small "teething issues" will be resolved.

The theme is spicy, Caribbean, with a few Mardi Gras carnival costume items scattered about to emphasise the point. However, the major visual impact is actually linked to a wide array of rugby shirts - a bit confusing in style terms, but perhaps excused since one of the owner's sons is an international RU player.

There are a number of spicy dishes on the menu, both meat and fish, but there are also some more conventional dishes if you are not keen on hot food. All our dishes were beautifully cooked. Monkfish and scallop curry (delicious) was just one example. The selection of desserts was adequate, but again some teething issues meant that all items were not available. Sticky toffee pudding was first class.

Late in service, Verna took the trouble to tour the tables and how things were, something she should continue to get direct feedback from customers.

The drinks menu is limited at the moment, with a few modest wines all priced he same.

Our recommendation is to go there and try it. We did and we were very pleased that we had.

We wish the owners every success in the future. On the basis of our experience, this will be a good addition to the local food offers but they need to start making their presence known. Having a website is a good idea, but at the time of writing it is not working.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank langdale12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShackTalk, Owner at Verna's Pepper Shack, responded to this review, 15 October 2012
We'll settle for that for our first review!

I think you've got it about right. We certainly got in a few muddles "Front of House" in the first few days. Shades of Basil Fawlty, though we're not aiming for Raymond Le Blanc. Whilst our chefs have cooked professionally and privately for decades, John now has 2 weeks in the business under his belt.

I'd hope the atmosphere is now solidly over 3 as the early sound issues have now been addressed and we can focus more on the soft side of the experience. There has certainly been a good buzz about the place.

As a we gear up, I've been happy for us to get the right orders in the right places - preferably with cutlery. We're getting better and our new order system will be in place in a few weeks. We're aiming to stay relaxed but increase the efficiency and maintain an honest welcome.

Thanks for taking the time to get it down & the recommendation to give us a try. We've still got a long list of tweaks but we're pretty happy with progress to date.

Hope to see you again as we move on up.

John (& Verna)
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