It seems like Burgers are becoming as much a part of the staple traditional British menu as Roast Dinners, Fish & Chips and Ham, Egg & Chips. Exeter has seen three new burger restaurants appear in the last two years, burgers are now a given part of menus in many pubs and restaurants and even the editor of this blog has managed to succumb to the glorious simplicity of this American invader. When The ODDfellows started their @meateasyexeter nights back in June last year, I was intrigued to see what their interpretation of the gourmet burger was going to be like.
We were recently invited down to try some of their meaty delights, and given the recent news that Byron Burgers is about to arrive in Princesshay, I am pretty confident that The ODDfellows is going to give Byron Burgers a run for their money on what is becoming a battlefield of burgers.
Quite frequently on this blog I get a bit nostalgic for places that I used to haunt when I was but a whipper-snapper, and for a long time I always remembered this pub as The Thirsty Camel. A quick look at Exeter Memories shows that this is one of Exeter’s well established pubs, and despite carrying such monikers like The Thirsty Camel, Molloys and The Gate it is now back to The ODDfellows. These days, the spit and sawdust has long gone, and it is replaced with wallpaper that looks like books and a lovely airy conservatory which looks on to the historic walls of Exeter Castle.
When walking in to The ODDfellows, one of the first things you notice is the open-plan kitchen where you can watch your food being cooked for you in some, as their website puts it, ‘kitchen theatre’, with maybe less Shakespeare and more shaking and spearing, chopping, frying and grilling. The decor is peppered with some curious ornaments such as a collection of mounted butterflies, a poster of the human vascular system and some large mirrors which double up as their specials boards to name a few.
@meateasyexeter nights offer a menu tailored for the evening. There are a lot interestingly named burgers for diners to choose from such as: The BC (Bun, 8 0z local beef pattie, pulled pork, BBQ sauce) ‘You’ve Pulled’ (Bun, 8 0z local beef pattie, pulled pork, BBQ sauce) and The Pineapple Express VI (Bun, 8 0z local beef pattie, pineapple ring, onion ring, cheese) to name but some. All the burgers come with Whips which lie somewhere between a chip and a potato wedge, and a salad which I found by far the nicest accompanying salad that has come with anything I’ve ordered out for a long time.
The menu is explicit about its sources; proving to the diner that this REALLY is a meal that has come from local sources across Devon. Beef comes from West Devon Meats from Okehampton, Pork comes from Hawkins of Tiverton, Fruit & Veg from Darts Farm, Coffee from DJ Miles of Minehead and Fudge Sauce from Roly’s Fudge in Queen St! .
Knowing that having a starter would ruin the space needed for my burger, we dived straight in to the mains. If not for the name itself I went for ‘Not Mushroom in ‘ere’ Burger which was a 8oz beef pattie, sausage, bacon, mushroom, Swiss cheese served with ‘slaw and Whips. Tori went for the ‘You’ve Pulled’ burger which consisted of an 8oz local beef pattie, pulled pork, BBQ sauce, ‘slaw and Whips.
We were looked after by Neil who offered nothing but a seemingly professional service throughout our visit. Although he had lots of other customers, the service to our table was courteous and efficient. And although he had only been at The ODDfellows a few months, he spoke with genuine enthusiasm and passion for the food he served.
The food was, as I imagined it would be, a really damn good burger. The salad that came with my burger was fresh and tasted like I’d gone in to the field and picked it myself and the Whips had a really good taste to them which balanced the whole meal nicely. The burger came in a Brioche bun, which was a curious combination with the savoury juices of the steak mince used in the patties, but it worked really well and gave a good balance to the flavours of the beef. It is interesting to note that we were lucky enough that the chef had brioche buns in that night, as it seems there is a degree of flexibility in bun choice. If you get a Brioche week, you’re in for a treat! We both agreed that the taste of the meat was excellent, it was not greasy in the slightest and upon further dissection we found it was cooked perfectly. A slight slight pinkness in the middle, in between medium rare and well done is my personal preference for a burger and it was spot on.
The temptation for desserts got me fully and a quick look at the selection of desserts on offer had me going for Ice Cream with Roly’s Fudge Sauce. Tori went for the Chocolate Brownie and Raspberry Stuff which was a lovely light brownie mixture which didn’t feel stodgy as some brownie desserts can do.
The ODDfellows is a unique establishment in Exeter, the layout with the kitchen theatre and the quirky touches make this a pub with quite a lot of appeal to those with a sense of humour and a sense of good taste. The upstairs is The Speakeasy Cocktail lounge with its vintage styling and extensive cocktail menu and it is easily bookable for private parties and events. @meateasyexeter definitely stands, in my opinion, as a worthy burger destination in a city with so much choice for gourmet burgers.
The ODDfellows Exeter Gastro Pub, 60 New North Road, Exeter, Devon. EX4 4EP
Tel: 01392 20 90 50
– See more at: http://www.theoddfellowsbar.co.uk/