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