When it opened two years ago, The Cosy Club really changed the playing field for chain restaurants in Exeter. It was a new, quirky and it did some amazing cocktails. You can read the original review here, its a little old so it is in need of an update.
Entering through what had been the chapel entrance of the old hospital, you are presented with one of more unique bar designs in Exeter. Lofty ceilings with walls adorned with large pictures, the bar area is filled with natural light during the day and fends off any feeling of claustrophobia during the busiest evenings.
Through to the dining area, the clusters of lampshades and the reclaimed lights from the hangar that housed Concorde, cast a yellowy glow across the tables. Two painting that stuck in my mind was the full length portrait of Lenin and another called Lenin’s Plans for Electrification by L. Shmatko, which dominate the walls they sit on. There is also a bookable room called The Snug which I wasn’t able to visit, but I will save this for another day. The interior is a fantastic cavalcade of stuff, it is interesting without being cluttered. Varied, yet sticking to distinct style and variety.
Fun fact – The bits of furniture that are emblazoned on the front of the cocktail bar were original pieces of furniture from the original hospital, of which The Cosy Club occupies of the ground floor of one wing.
When we visited last year, the food was safe yet imaginative – classic British cuisine with a bit of a spin, some friendly service and the sort of thing you expect from what I class ‘mid-casual dining’. You won’t get chucked out for wearing trainers, but the prices and standard/quality of food surpass your average ‘pay-at-the-bar’ kind of establishment.
I didn’t give it a rating at the time as I was part of a large party and this isn’t really fair given the fact that I tend to rate places on there being two people. But had I rated it, it would have been a solid 4/5 and under out new rating system I would recommend this restaurant as a place for a meal out in Exeter. They coped with our large party really well last time.
I like the atmosphere and everyone is friendly, the staff are always eager to please and the food has always been very good. Last week, we were invited over to have a look at their new summer menu.
We were served by Dan, who had this amazing Death Head Moth tatoo on his arm. He was friendly and attentive, he chatted to us about the food and the interior decor (which has to be one of the best interiors for a restaurant in Exeter!), everyone made us feel quite at home throughout our visit. We latched on to the English Garden cocktails that had been recommended to us by multiple friends and relatives, and I could genuinely see why!
Given we had already had a lot of food over the course of the day, we were not massively hungry, so we shared a starter. We kicked off with Asparagus wrapped in Serrano Ham with a poached egg (£6.50) a beautifully cooked bed of asparagus with a strong ham and egg combination was lovely. This is a new addition to their menu, so I was keen to try this given I love ham & egg as a combination.
In comms before out visit with Ed, one of the managers at The Cosy Club, he recommended the Seared Yellowfin Tuna Steak (£14.95). I’m always up for taking recommendations, so I was quite determined to go for this. Tori went for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Triple Fried Chips.
The Tuna was very nice, seared and bedded on a bed of aloo gobi, onion bhaji and mint & cucumber raita on top. It was seared well (its easy to overdo a seared fish steak) and the aloo gobi had a good spice to the flavour which went really well with the tuna. It wasn’t spicy, but had a gentle heat which was complimented by the raita.
Tori’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken (£9.95) was a damn good dish, the triple fried fries were of an epic size but the coating of the chicken was very spicy.
OK OK, this is a Deep South traditional fried chicken recipe and scooting around the internet, if you want to make it yourself then it does have cayenne and paprika in varying quantities.
I fed this back to the manager (lovely lady called Sarah) that this wasn’t evident from the menu. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as we are both spice lovers, but had we been averse to spicy food, it would have been an issue (the title Buttermilk Fried Chicken led us to believe it wasn’t going to be spicy, although it was served chipotle sauce which could denote that it might be hot one…??)
Regardless I would have this dish the next time we go, as despite the heat, was a really well fried piece of chicken, and for a tenner it was excellent value. It was moist and had a good flavour to it, which suprised me as so often chicken is normally dry when eating out – Too many bad experiences at Wetherspoons methinks…
The desserts looked appealing enough to ignore the fact we were already full. Out came a Salted Caramel Cheesecake (£5.50) with sweet and salty popcorn and for Tori a Sorbet made up of orange, mango and blackcurrant (£3.95). The cheesecake was more creamy and mousse-like, this was nice a light and it didn’t feel like I was stuffing myself silly. Tori’s sorbet was fruity and refreshing. It was a perfect end to a really enjoyable meal.
The Cosy Club has cemented itself in the dining scene in Exeter. It has a vegan and gluten free menu as well, and commendation to those behind the menus as this is such a rarity.
I would recommend The Cosy Club as a place to eat in Exeter. Its a great place for romantic meals, family celebrations, cocktails and definitely somewhere a bit special.
The Cosy Club
Halford Wing, Dean Clarke House
1 Southernhay Gardens
Devon, EX1 1SG