Product Review: 28 Day Aged Rump Steak – GT Orsman, Shaldon

Please note the following blog post is not Vegetarian/Vegan friendly. May contain pictures of succulent meat that might offend some.

You’ll notice that my previous product review was Shaldon Bakery and their divine artisan bread. Sticking with the Shaldon theme, the next product review is going to be 28 Day Aged Rump Steak from Phil Beatty and his team at GT Orsman, the butchers who just happen to be right next door to Shaldon Bakery.  Phil has owned the business since 2000 and continues to run it with a small team of experienced butchers.

A small traditional west country butcher, this little shop sells some fantastic meat from west country sources including Venison products from Powderham.  This multi-award winning butcher has won a Taste Of The West Gold award two years running including Taste Of The West Butcher of The Year and a few other accolades.

As butchers go, this is a small village shop who provide really good meat for a good price.  They also sell pre-prepared meat ready to hit the BBQ.  Everything is clearly labeled with ingredients and prices clearly marked.  Available are a range of Deli items too including cheese from Quickes and other cheese makers and an extensive range of Hogs Bottom Delights chutneys and marinades.

As well as being recognised as Flavour Champions, this business if part of a cluster Shaldon businesses that really make this town a destination for those who love food.

A few months ago we had been to Darts Farm and bought Rump Steak, so we thought it’d be interesting to see how well we got on with some Rump Steak from Phil and his team.  We managed to get a larger piece of meat for a better price (but can’t remember the weight…??)

So how do you actually cook steak? And what is the best way to do it?

Well my question was answered by the butcher himself and was replicated here on BBC Good Food.  My able assistant is the better cook, and has produced some amazing steaks in the past, so naturally I handed it over.

The meat itself had a fantastic colour to it, the marbling and texture had me staring at it for at least 10 minutes. Hypnotised by meat. Sad really…

Letting the meat stand for a good while to get it down to room temperature is important. It shocks the meat a lot less and you find it doesn’t go tough as easily when you cook it.

Although the end result is down to the skill of the cook, the flavour of the meat and the end texture is very much down to the quality of the cut.  It melted softly on the palette and didn’t need too much seasoning either as it had a fantastic seasoning, the one thing both myself and my able assistant noted was how lean the cut was with very little fat.

If you are in Shaldon, pop in and say hello. Buy some of their BBQ meats, buy some of their deli cheeses.

http://www.shaldonbutcher.co.uk

Follow them on Twitter: @gtorsman

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Chef Rob Dawe – Still tickets left for 8th June Pop-up at The Salty Pigeon

There are still tickets available for Rob’s next Pop-up at the Salty Pigeon restaurant in Magdalen Road on Monday the 8th June.

Starting at 7.15pm with canapes and then a new summer six course tasting menu using the best of the local and seasonal produce.

It’s £35 a ticket and you may bring your own drinks to this venue. If you would like to book a table please text Rob on 07745438481.

HUBBOX wins The National Burger Awards with The Big Kahuna

This is a little out of date in terms of ‘latest news’ but via a new #burgerlove website that I have discovered called AbsoluteBurgers, I found out that HUBBOX Exeter won a national award back in February.

You can see how we found The HUBBOX in Exeter here.  Thanks to Kathryn Lewis for the images!

Did this just completely miss my meat radar? Or did I have my head in a book? I’m not quite sure.

Read the full story here via HUBBOX’s website

So a massive and belated congratulations to Alex Towill and the team for proving how awesome their burgers are, and adding an extra reason why Exeter has a fantastic casual dining scene.

Las Iguanas, Abbey Sands, Torquay

I am genuinely happy to report that Las Iguanas has landed in Torquay; you can read the review for the Exeter branch here. We were invited down to see the latest addition to the Las Iguanas family which is housed in the new Abbey Sands building that has appeared on the seafront. This new build is the resort’s latest move to gentrify itself, smarten up some of the crumbly bits and put it in line to being THE British resort to go to.

And this also includes introducing a 24 hour charging period on the car parking along the seafront which, to be honest, is absolutely insane.  Thanks Torbay Council *slow clap*, thanks.  After driving around in circles and realising that there is a helpful and handy car park right behind Las Iguanas that we had driven past three times, it didn’t seem that bad after all.

The modern exterior of Abbey Sands is reminiscent of a luxury resort, somewhere nice like Monte Carlo or possibly Barbados. Not being an expert on Coastal Resort Architecture of the early 21st century, whether Monte Carlo has a Costa Coffee is a mystery so don’t quote this article.

The restaurant sits at the end of the row of some smart eateries, its glass front exterior lets light flood in. It is crisp, colourfu and airy, allowing a panoramic view of Torbay.  You can see right over to Brixham on a clear day, and during the sunset the horizon is transformed in to a blaze of orange and reds as it hits the buildings across the bay.

Las Iguanas has redesigned its menu since I last visited.  New dishes have appeared (these are handily shown on the menu by the big letters that say ‘new’) which increases the esoteric nature of the selection of food and drinks.  They still have the Happy Hour cocktails, there are still things on the menu that I really liked in the Exeter Las Iguanas and I am happy to say that there are still a huge range of drinks too.

The restaurant was busy. It was a Friday night, there is a light samba soundtrack floating in amongst the laughter and jive of the Friday night revellers.  For some, this is just a meal out and then possibly a drink afterwards and for others this was the embarking point of an epic night of alcohol, frolics and partying.  That is the one thing that appeals to me about Las Iguanas, it can be many different things to different people. It is a party, it is also a lively meal out, it doesn’t fit a narrow stereotype.

We kicked our meal off with a couple of Corona’s, coming with a lime (needed and expected!) we decided to try the new Quesadilla starters.  Tortilla, filled, folded, pan-fried & served with tomato salsa.  You can go for garlicky mushroom, chilli, thyme & cheese or spicy chicken, peppers, onion & cheese both for £4.90.  I liked the idea of this as a starter, definitely could have done with more filling though, but then I have an appetite of a small buffalo.  My able assistant found them a perfect portion.

The main course wasn’t a hard choice for me being the massive burger fan that I am.  I went for the South American Dream, a new addition to their menu.  Lightly spiced beef patty in a toasted bun stacked with fresh herb chimichurri, slaw, sliced beef tomato, baby gem and a creamy tomato & gherkin sauce.  It was a good patty, very dense.  Interestingly I couldn’t tell whether this was a ‘handmade’ burger and I would question whether it was, but then this isn’t a burger bar, its Latin American restaurant and I’m not marking anyone down for this fact.

The chimichurri and the sauce worked together really nicely and yes…I had curly fries. And this leads me on to one thing I admire about Las Iguanas.  They make what could be a really exotic menu quite accessible to the British public, yes you can have curly fries with your flame grilled Latin American burger.  The Brazil and Beyond section has names that you would not find on a pub menu, but the Mexican menu has favourites like Nachos, Burritos, Tortillas, things which would not be out of place in the usual ‘British-ness’ of our collective national psyche.  The balance between the exotic and the familiar is one that could be either too much or too safe, and I think Las Iguanas has a good balance in that respect.

So lets talk dessert.  Again nothing too exotic for me, nothing beyond the Creamy Caramel Cake. I enjoyed it so much last time I was at a Las Iguanas it was perfectly accompanied by two coffees and further fantastic service from Jodie our waitress.

I genuinely like Las Iguanas a lot. This is ‘casual dining’ and it can be as expensive or cheap as you make it.  They have branches across the UK and there are more than likely going to be more in the future appearing, and its easy to see why they have a bit of a cult following too.  With the the happy hour cocktail offer and various other offers that they run, it is definitely Mexican/Latin American with a friendly and accessible twist.

Scroll down for photos of the meal and the new restaurant!

4 Abbey Sands
Abbey Crescent
Torbay Road
Torquay
TQ2 5FB

Tel: 01803 297 053
torquay@iguanas.co.uk

ORGANIC FARM LUNCHES OPEN FOR ALL AT TRILL FARM (AXMINSTER)

Trill Farm, the 300 acre organic farm and education centre in Axminster, is now hosting delicious weekly organic lunches for local residents and visiting guests, prepared in the Old Dairy Kitchen by Chef-in-residence, Chris Onions and his team.

Since the beginning of May these informal lunches take place every Wednesday at 1pm. Each meal is a seasonal celebration of the freshest produce from Trill’s wild larder and organic gardens.

ORGANIC FARM LUNCHES OPEN FOR ALL AT TRILL FARM

Lunches are communal affairs, eaten at large tables so guests have a chance to talk to the staff and volunteers and find out what life is like on this working farm.

After lunch optional informal tours are offered to discover a little more about the farm, the workshops and courses that are run by the Trill Trust, the education charity based on the farm. And of course there is the chance to see where the lunches come from by visiting the Trill vegetable and herb gardens.

Farm lunches are priced at £8 for adults, £4 for under 12s and free for under 4s. To book contact Chris Onions on 07478 733677 or email chris@trillfarm.co.uk

Product Review: Shaldon Bakery Artisan Bread

Shaldon Bakery (The Surfing Bakers) lies at the heart of the sleepy village/town of Shaldon. Shaldon is like the poor relative of Teignmouth, which it overlooks from across the Teign estuary.  But despite being much smaller than its big brother, it has a charm and quaint-ness all to itself that lends it a ‘St Ives’ like atmosphere.  Come summer, its tiny little streets are chocked full of tourists and day-trippers, all part of the rather unique bubble that lends itself to a sleepy part of Devon I thoroughly recommend visiting for any foody. The Guardian reported that Shaldon is ‘the place to go’ for those who loved food a few years ago.  Read the article here.

It so happens that some of the best bread in Devon is baked here (yes I did just declare that!) by Shaldon Bakery.  And it is here at the heart of Shaldon that the bakery is open six days a week selling bread and sandwiches made fresh on the premises.  But you can find them plying their trade at the various Devon farmer’s markets too, and it was last Saturday I bumped in to Ally at The Exmouth Spring Fun Day who stocked me up with a number of bits and pieces.

Opened in 2009 by Simon Hacking and Steve Morgan after a year of travelling around Australia, the bakery specialises in artisan bread using traditional methods and slate bed peel ovens, crafted with over 60 years of industry experience.  The success of the business has risen (pun intended) over recent years, supplying local businesses with sandwiches and bread.

Their recent creation, the Uglibun, has been quite a hit, even boasting its own Twitter account, they are normally the first things to sell out!  They also produce morning goods, tray goods and a range of ambient deli items are available from their shop as well, including ice cream during summer.

Bread is often something I have trouble with.  I am quite fussy about these sorts of things, and the sad fact of the matter is that there is a glut of cheap mass produced bread that is produced in miserable stainless steel factory cathedrals, shipped out en-masse, baked without passion or soul. So it is evident and obvious to get your teeth in to a loaf that tastes completely different from the Warburton’s and Hovis of this world.

Their Honey Granary loaf is a delightfully salty-sweet bread, soft as a pillow and went very nicely with peanut butter.  The texture was soft and went brilliantly with fresh butter.  It toasted evenly and did not instantly turn to charcoal which to me was an indicator of its moistness.  I have three other loaves in the freezer now and enough bread to keep me going for a while.  All of which won’t last long as it is consistently lovely bread.

The Shaldon Bakery,
16 Fore St
Shaldon
England

Tel: 01626 872401
Visit Website

Spring Launch Party: The Gatehouse Bar and Restaurant at The Southgate Hotel

The part of the invitation that led me to believe that I should have dressed in something other than a shirt and my combat trousers was ‘Drinks Reception’ and ‘Southgate Hotel’.  The part of my brain that led me to think that this would be appropriate should really be scooped out, as this was definitely an event for a suit & tie. Thankfully I wasn’t refused entry, and asked to leave quietly.

The organisers also managed to get the name of the blog wrong on our name tags, I only realised halfway through the evening.  So, for the duration of this post Eating Exeter is now ‘Exeter Eating’.

So what are they launching?

I had the honour of being invited to the Launch Party for The Gatehouse Bar and Restaurant on Thursday evening.

Mercure Hotels who own The Southgate Hotel have just refurbished the hotel, and most importantly they’ve refurbished the restaurant and bar.  Serving contemporary British cuisine including seafood, they are catering for a wide range of tastes.

The decor is inspired by Exeter’s history with The Exeter Book playing a key part in the inspiration of the design of the glass panelling and the carpet.  The comedy moment of the evening was learning that the carpet was ‘multi-lingual’ (spot the plebs in the corner chuckling to themselves at this fact).  But no less respect for the design and thought that went in to the interior.

Otter Brewery, Luscombe Drinks and Pebblebed Wines were represented, giving out free samples to party guests (Otter Bright is still my tipple of choice at the moment).

Was there food?

Absolutely; and if the samples were anything to go by, then we are going to be spoilt with having an amazing restaurant on our doorstep.

Personal favourites were the Creedy Carver Chicken Skewers with a BBQ sauce and the Jack’s Burgers sliders.  Also Saffron seasoned Chilli Shrimp was to die for and they even had oysters, but alas I am not the world’s biggest seafood fan so I veered away from them and the sushi.

And the macarons….oh those macarons…

The Gatehouse Bar & Restaurant is open for business now, its a definite opening highlight of the year for this blog and deserves a good go.

Product Review: Morrison’s ‘Signature’ Pork and Chorizo Burgers 4/5

From one end of the meat spectrum (Piper’s Farm Unsmoked Back Bacon) to the supermarket end. Like most foodies I don’t have the luxury of a food budget that stretches to being able to shop at Deli’s and Organic food shops constantly, and for the basic average ‘day-to-day’ stuff myself and my able assistant, who I am luckily enough to be married to, swap between Tesco’s and Morrisson’s for our weekly shop.

So whilst gliding around the aisles, not thinking for a minute I would find anything worth reviewing on ‘The Blog’ as it is lovingly known, I found these in the meat aisle and thought it would provide an excellent contrast to Piper’s Farm’s lovely bacon. For £2.00 we were able to pick up four large burgers.

This offer might not be forever, but the lure of cheap meat is enough for me to hang up my morals and indulge a little bit. No idea where the meat comes from, it says a British Farm so I am assuming that this might meant that its good quality but given the recent scandal over the tractor symbol and Tesco’s, I am not really convinced. I will hang up my Food-Snob hat and say for once I really really liked these despite the fact the meat isn’t overly ethical.

Given they were Pork, there was going to be less fat spillage, but they tasted nice.  The wonderful thing about chorizo is that it can be used to hide a multitude of taste sins, but it wasn’t bad at all. The value makes them a good option for budget meals, the meat itself doesn’t seem massively ethical given they don’t even list where it was reared, just ‘UK Pork’ is as much description as we’re given. Excellent burgers overall, hang up your ethics at the door though especially if you’re farm-to-plate sort of person as yes, its cheap meat.  But tasty.

We’re looking at 80% Pork, 5% Chorizo and a whole bunch of wheat based additives to stick the whole lot together, not great if you’re gluten intolerant or just anti-wheat.

Whistle Wines in Queen St. to become Fat Pig Tabac Bar

Its always a nice suprise when you get wind of change.  It appears that Whistle Wines is going to become the Tabac Bar, run by The Rusty Bike/Fat Pig/Pig & Pickle owner Hamish Lothian.

None of this is confirmed so I might be completely wrong but take a look for yourself and see the Facebook page.

There will be craft beers, they might be cheaper than the wines in there currently? But one thing is for sure, the beer with be crafted and locally brewed.

pig

Waffles at The Glorious Art House Cafe

You might remember a few months ago, I reviewed a new cafe that had opened in Fore Street. That cafe was called The Glorious Art House Cafe, a bohemian paradise that brought together fantastic coffee and art via their 2nd floor gallery which has regular exhibitions of local artist’s work.

They’ve had a tweak and a shuffle of their menu.  Printed on recycled material, I love their new menu which includes more substantial food (Thai Green Curry anyone?).  Recommended to me by a good friend of mine was a new addition as they’ve started doing WAFFLES. I LOVE WAFFLES…

We were impressed at the fact that, despite the menu, they are easily accommodating with their toppings.  I went for the Maple and Honeycombe Waffle, my able assistant who was allergic to bananas was able to have a Fruit Salad and Dark Chocolate sauce waffle which wasn’t on the menu.

For £5.75 you get a freshly cooked Belgian waffle with a choice of toppings and a free hot drink.  All served on their Anthropologie crockery, which is always adds a touch of colour to any cuppa.

The Glorious Art House Cafe continues it’s journey as a bohemian coffee sanctuary in a city full of clones and wannabes (with notable exclusions, you know who you are…).  If I gave awards for cafes, this colourful establishment would have won an award or two by now.

120 Fore Street,
Exeter
EX4 3JQ

01392 490060

http://www.theglorious.co.uk/

Upcoming dates for Rob Dawe’s Pop-up Restaurants

IMG_7543Just to let you know there are still tickets available for Rob’s next Pop-up on Tues 12th May starting at 7.15pm at the newly refurbished Heart of Oak pub in Pinhoe.

It’s £35 a ticket for a six course tasting menu, plus canapés on arrival and coffee with Petit Fours to finish. Please buy your drinks from the bar at this venue. If you would like to book a table please let Rob know soon.

He also has two new dates. Rob will be back at The Salty Pigeon on Magdalen Road in Exeter on Sunday 17th May and Monday 18th May. Starting at 7.15pm with canapés, followed by a summer six course tasting menu, using seasonal and local produce.

You can also bring your own drinks with you to this venue. It’s £35 a head, if you would like to book a table please text Rob on  07745438481

Ruby Modern Diner: The new menu

Ruby Modern Diner has been open for nearly as long as Eating Exeter has been running.  We hadn’t been writing the blog long (our 2nd attempt…) when we were invited to the press night, our first ever.  The great and the good of Exeter gathered to drink the nice beer & wine and eat samples of sliders that were coming from the kitchen.

The consensus back then was that Ruby Burger would surely do well given its position and its niche in providing Exeter foodies with an American diner experience.

So catapult to 2015 and Ruby Burgers is going from strength to strength.  They’ve won a Taste Of The West Award Gold for 2014, which is no mean feat (being a judge myself…might not have meant to have said that…never mind) and a Love The Flavour Award Winner in 2013. Oh..did I mention they also won both Taste of The West Gold and FDD Best takeaway in 2013 and 2014.

They’ve recently had a shakedown of the menu.  Some items have gone (bye bye The Reuben; hello Salt Beef Stack) and some items have changed their name (The One Burger is now called The Bad Man for instance).  But the thing that got me most excited are some of the new items added to an already awesome menu, which we were invited down to have a peek at.

So lets start with the most important thing.  The very essence of any good burger joint is the burgers themselves and they’ve really improved their game.  All burgers have been upped to 7oz patties, and are definitely denser in texture with an improved taste (more juices!) The Ruby Beef is still reered and supplied from the same farm in Mid-Devon as before, with the burgers being made fresh in-house each morning.

The egg glazed brioche buns are still made by Emma Parkin from The Real Food Store in Paris St. and is delivered by Emma each morning on her electric bike.  If you chomp down on the brioche buns you might notice that the buns are slightly different as they’ve changed some of the weights of ingredients (more butter possibly?) to give the bread a slightly tastier bite to it.


Being a spice-head the first thing I noticed was a new burger called The Scorchio.  A well rounded burger consisting of Lettuce, Tomato, 7oz Patty, Spicy Chorizo, Chipotle Mayonnaise, Mexicana cheese piled with Jalapeños.  Tori-wife-unit went for the Mutha Ducker from the House Specials menu which included Smoked Creedy Carver Duck Leg, Spring Onion, Cucumber and Hoi Sin sauce.

We chose some new sides too.  New to the menu is Corn On The Cob served with either normal or chilli melted butter and Spicy Slaw which, for me, had a nice balance of taste and gentle kick.
All of this was washed down with a can of Crafty Dan’s 13 Guns which is new to the list of beers available and Tori-wife-unit went for a can of San Pellegrino Orange & Pomegranate.

The Scorchio is a tower of spicy meaty majesty.  The spicy chorizo pieces work really well with the chipotle mayo and the mexicana cheese. This combination turns the whole burger in to a heavenly stack of umami awesomeness that I enjoyed with every single bit.  The Jalapeños give it a fiery hit and mixed with the seasoning of the burger it creates a really top combination, and certainly one of my favourite burgers so far.  The spice level has to be noted too; it is not challenge just to eat the burger and non of the taste is lost in the burn, as it would be very sad to lose any of the chorus of lovely tastes. With the glazed brioche bun, it works really well as a burger and really hope it stays on the menu for a long time to come.

One of my burger heroes is Burger Lad who has eaten and travelled the length & breadth of the UK reviewing burgers and writing about them.  He recently stopped by Ruby Burgers and wrote about The Scorchio Burger saying about the Spicy Chorizo…

“The Spicy Chorizo was beautiful. Bordering on outstanding… very rich with its signature smoked paprika flavour, thickly cut and a very generous amount on-board. In my notes I described it as highly decadent, oozing with quality bringing another dimension to the arsenal of tastes in my mouth.”
Burger Lad (2015)

Burger Lad also had The Ruby Burger which he rated really highly as one of his favourite burgers that he’s sampled on his travels, Beer Burger and Beyond (our sister blog which I also write) sampled The Ruby Burger as well and I can say that it an impressive burger.  But The Scorchio might just be nipping at its heels for my affections.


The Mutha Ducker burger is an interesting and successful concept.  Duck meat, in a burger? You have to be quackers!? Excuse the pun.  I have to say though, this burger works really well with the lashings of Hoi Sin sauce, smoked pulled duck and the freshness of the spring onion and cucumber, it is an interesting alternative for those who want something a little different.

The smoked duck and hoi sin sauce reminds me of duck and hoi sin wraps that you sometimes get in Chinese Restaurants. The spring onion adds that extra dimension to the flavour and the whole thing is topped off with some fresh Cucumber.  The duck, like nearly all of the ingredients that go in to the food at Ruby Modern Diner is locally sourced, coming from Creedy Carver based a few miles away in Crediton.


The Corn On The Cob is, for me, a welcome addition to the menu. Its griddled and served with either melted chilli butter or normal butter.  We also tried the Spicy Slaw which was more of a delicate heat rather than a ‘blow-your-mouth-off’ number.  Despite not really being ‘new’ we still got in a portion of the Sweet Potato Fries that Ruby does so well.  Seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper, these are hard to cook well and guaranteed each time we come, its gotta be a portion of these as well.

Any good menu needs to evolve and change, and the best restaurants know that a stagnating menu can be boring for the diners and boring for the chefs who have to make it.

Fresh, exciting and interesting menus are the ones that change and adjust according to customer feedback, season and taste.  Ruby Modern Diner continue their award winning journey with a new blue menu with some new and wholesome additions, which I would recommend sampling for yourself.

74 Queen Street, Exeter, Devon EX4 3RX
01392 436168

www.rubyburgers.com

Twitter: @RUBYBURGERS

References:
Burger Lad. (2015). Ruby Modern Diner Exeter. Available: http://www.burgerlad.com/2015/04/ruby-modern-diner-exeter.html. Last accessed 27th August 2015.