Where can you find a truly unique dining spot that doesn't serve the regular beach fare and that is not overrun with tourists?
Tucked away in a remote back corner of Grayton, just off one of the main roads, is this spot. Not a restaurant, Roux 30A is a chef's table and more.
For one week each month, Chef Nikhil Abuvala presents an Around the World prix fixe dinner menu he designs from studying different countries, giving 30A an opportunity to experience a different cuture's menu each month. He has done this for three years, repeating only Italy and India. Abuvala is half Indian.
Last week, Abuvala and staff hosted their 26th Around the World dinner menu when they allowed 30 guests to visit Great Britain without ever leaving South Walton.
The chef prepared an elegant five-course dinner that caused diners to rethink any idea of British food being bland.
The first course was a refreshing watercress and rocket herbal soup with garlic, red onion, crème fraiche and lemon that left foodies begging for seconds.
This was followed by a traditional United Kingdom dish known as bubble and squeak, named for the noise it makes while cooking. It's traditionally made with shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The main ingredients are potato and cabbage. However, Abuvala prepared his version with pressed root vegetables and Brussels sprout leaves wrapped with bacon and drizzled with caramelized onion jus.
The iconic fish and chips followed, but this also was not the traditional version. Abuvala's lightly-battered Atlantic cod was deep fried and paired with a duck-fat confit potato and topped with a picked radish and drizzled with malt vinegar aioli.
The main course was meat and ale pie made with Guinness beer, angus beef, and paired with carrots, mushrooms and roasted tomato beer puree.
Although everyone was stuffed, no one turned down the finale of sticky toffee pudding with dates served with toffee caramel and bourbon ice cream.
Abuvala works his magic in his state-of-the-art kitchen in 1,200-square feet of space making for intimate dining for small groups. Fun décor and distressed-wood farm tables make the dining experience fun. Most come with family and friends who take a seat at long tables and make new friends. The venue accommodates only 34 people and a few lucky ones get the bar seats with a bird's eye view to watch every dish being prepared.
"My love of cooking has been with me as early as I can remember, standing on a chair rolling out Indian flatbreads with my grandmother on a counter too tall for me to reach otherwise," said Abuvala.
He has cooked since age 13 both as a job and as a hobby. After studying music and business, the realization came that cooking was what he really wanted to do at the age of 18. Five years ago he opened Roux 30A.
Three years ago, Abuvala was asked to prepare an Indian dinner for friends who were about to leave for Morocco. He did and it was such a hit that he decided to keep going around the world with it.
Although he can prepare any country's cuisine, Abuvala said he prefers contemporary American. But in the preparation of all, he uses fresh ingredients, growing herbs in house and getting the best produce he can and then letting them shine -- farm to table, he said.
Roux 30A does not accept walk ins for special dinners and most Around the World events sell out. Reservations are made through the website and Open Table.
However, walk ins are accepted for Tapas Tuesdays and Sunday brunch. View a typical brunch menu on the website.
Most of Roux 30A's events are private as the site may be rented for private events. Most of his clientele are local and repeat customers.
"Most come by word of mouth and 75 percent are local," he said. "I am supported by locals and not affected by tourist trade."
The next Around the World country to be featured will be Argentina in November. After that the chef will take a poll and let the people decide which countries they want to retaste.
"Cuba was super popular, as was Korea," he said.