Music: Thu 1, Fri 2 & Sat 3 September Food & Craft: Sat 3 Sept
The Nourish Festival will bring some of the region’s top food producers and craft makers to Bovey Tracey, alongside a programme of nationally and internationally renowned musicians.
This year, Nourish Festival launches The Devon Street Food Awards, a lively competition to decide who is the Best Street producer in Devon. Devon is packed full of inspirational and exciting street food producers and Nourish celebrates our Food Heroes. The Nourish Food Fairwill fill Bovey’s high street with some of the best producers from the South West on Sat 3 September. Stalls will be selling a huge variety of locally produced food including artisan cheeses, preserves, handmade chocolates, oils, pies and speciality mushrooms.
A selection of street food will offer Caribbean, Spanish, Moroccan, wood fired Italian pizza, French crepes, Mexican, local seafood and the good old British Banger.
The Bovey Bake Off and Junior Bovey Bake Off will get the community reaching for their mixing bowls. The competition will be judged by Bovey’s own Queen of Cakes, Pauline Woodward. The Nourish Contemporary Craft Fair will be hosted in the Methodist Church Hall, showcasing beautiful handmade craft from across the South West with craft demonstrations and other events taking place at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Exceptional makers from across the South West will present an inspirational selection of jewellery, pottery, glass, textiles and wood.
The NourishMusic programme from 1-3 September will see the internationally renowned Brodsky Quartet return with Schubert’s Death & The Maiden.
The Festival also features the Westcountry debut of the Dutch group, Calefax Reed Quintet, whose flair for performance and communication is matched only by their musicianship. In their 30-year career Calefax have played all the great music festivals and venues across Europe. For Nourish they present a fairytale-inspired programme, including Tchaikovsky, Ellington & Ravel, and featuring Bach’s iconic Chaconne.
Nourish Festival organiser Sarah James said:
“We are delighted that Nourish Festival has been welcomed so warmly to Bovey Tracey. It has been a success for the stall holders and craft makers visiting the town, for the local traders, and best of all for the local community. There is such a buzz in the town with so many people visiting the food stalls, talking to expert craftspeople and taking part in our own Bovey Bake Off. I’m also very excited about the new Devon Street Food Awards, we’ve had a huge response from Devon’s food companies.
“The music programme continues to be a tremendous success, and I look forward to welcoming The Brodsky Quartet once more. Calefax Reed Quintet from the Netherlands is a very exciting addition to our programme. The Devon Guild’s Japanese exhibition inspired us and the Thursday performance at the Guild is an evening of puppetry and music with a Japanese theme. Kagemusha Taiko drumming will raise the roof at the Methodist Hall on Saturday. A weekend to remember”
Torquay is one of my favourite parts of Devon. It has palm trees, beaches, lots of quirky independent shops, strange parking regulations and an even stranger one-way system. It does have a distinctive Bohemian side that is often underrated and a burgeoning arts culture that makes me feel quite at home.
As a performance poet in my other life, I’ve spent a lot of time trekking between Exeter and Torbay on the train or driving down, enjoying such cafes as The Blue Walnut Cafe in Chelston with its tiny cinema and the various spoken word events that have taken place there over the years and The Epicentre Cafe in Paignton that closed a few years ago.
My new favourite cafe in Torquay that isn’t The Blue Walnut is The Artizan Gallery’s Soft Coffee Cafe in Lucius Street, a quirky gem that sits behind The Artizan Gallery.
In Exeter we have The Glorious Art House, a fantastic independent cafe that caters for those craving a bit of boho in the most bohemian part of Exeter. Torquay has The Artizan, a venue to events such as Stanza Extravaganza that happens every month on a Monday night.
Coffee is great value using Maisies Devon Roasted coffee, and a small range of locally produced cakes are on offer too. The garden is a small space of serenity under the awning of an old sail, there are works of art scattered across the wall spaces, all for sale and produced by local artists.
The energy (I don’t often use this as a gauge of quality in reviews) of calm that this place eminates is quite infectious. The hustle and busyness of Lucius Street fades in to the background once you step in to the gallery, but the cafe takes you even further in to this bubble of peace.
The range of food is relatively small, but you’re welcome to purchase items from the local bakery and bring them back if you want something beyond one of the lovely cakes.
With great sadness I have to announced that Ruby Modern Diner, or ‘Ruby Burgers’ is closing their doors in Exeter, but moving to Exmouth instead! They were THE first restaurant to engage with this blog when we had just started five years ago, and we’ve worked with Erin and Dicky over the years as they’ve served some of the best burgers in Exeter. Read our initial review of Ruby Burgers here.
The brainchild of Erin and Dicky Harrison, Ruby Modern Diner opened on Queen Street in January 2013 and was one of the first restaurants to bring the trend of American street food to Exeter.
Since 2013 Ruby has won several prestigious awards, including three Taste of the West Gold awards and Taste of Devon’s Best Takeaway 2014.
Ruby Modern Diner is closing its doors in Exeter on 3rd September and relocating to the sunny shores of Exmouth.
Taking over the kitchen at craft brewhouse The Grapevine, Ruby’s award winning burgers and the Grapevine’s huge range of craft beer and ales are a match made in heaven. The Ruby Kitchen will continue to serve much-loved Ruby classics including the Notorious PIG and Mutha Ducka as well as their famous $5 shakes.
Ruby Owner Dicky Harrison said
“We’ve have just had our first child Jasmine and have made a life choice to move the business to where we live in Exmouth. We’re proud to have blazed the trail of independent restaurants in Exeter and to have given so many local suppliers a platform to showcase their amazing produce, however we love the spirit of Exmouth town and think Ruby will fit right in!”
Ollie Bainbridge, owner of the Grapevine added:
“This is so exciting for the Grapevine and Exmouth. Ruby’s awesome homemade and wholesome food is the perfect complement to our fantastic craft beer and ale selection. Exmouth is thriving, there are great bars and restaurants, beautiful beaches and it’s just 25 minutes on the train or a leisurely cycle ride from Exeter. We’re very excited to be joining forces and bringing Ruby to the seaside.”
Exeter is fast becoming a foodie hub, attracting big named restaurants and retailers in to the city centre as well as homing some of the best independent restaurants in the region. A new addition to the family is Chococo who have made their home in Gandy St. Being already a bit of a fan of Chococo after visiting their shop in Swanage, I was really happy to see them making their third home in our very own Diagon Alley.
We’re working with Chococo by bringing a lucky winner the opportunity to win a chocolate fondue for two! Head over to Twitter and Facebook, answer the question and share the competition to be in with a chance of being entered in to our grand prize draw.
Eating Exeter gave co-founder Claire ten questions about Chococo!
1. I love chocolate. I eat far too much of it, and am really happy to find Chococo opening in Exeter. What made Chococo choose Exeter for its next store?
We had been looking for our next location for a while (we already have two chocolate houses; our original one in Swanage and our second in Winchester), and Exeter was the obvious next destination as it is a fantastic, exciting city that is still relatively close to our chocolate HQ in Wareham in Dorset.
We are delighted to have opened on Gandy St, which is such an iconic street for independent businesses, and look forward to becoming part of both the Exeter and wider Devon foodie community.
We are already working with Crankhouse Coffee, roasted in Exeter, and Emma’s Bread, also based in the city, for the café element of our Chocolate House, and will hopefully work with more local suppliers as we create new Devon-inspired chocolates.
2. What makes your chocolate different from other chocolate makers?
My husband Andy & I set up Chococo in Dorset back in 2002 and we were amongst the first, if not the first UK chocolatier to make truly fresh chocolates. Nearly 14 years later, we still make all our chocolates fresh by hand using local ingredients wherever possible and no additives or preservatives, so the chocolates in our display cabinet have a two-week shelf life. That is very different to other chocolatiers.
Also, we only work with origin chocolate made from fine cocoa beans from such countries as Madagascar, Venezuela, The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Tanzania and Vietnam.
We are very passionate that our customers get to discover the taste of fine chocolate not of sugar, so only work with chocolate high in cocoa solids and therefore low in sugar (and definitely no palm oil).
For example, our house milk chocolate from Venezuela tastes much more “chocolatey” than many other milk chocolates as it contains a whopping 43% cocoa solids.
You can even enjoy a sugar-free chocolate experience with us if you buy our 100% cocoa solids bars or enjoy a hot chocolate made with 100% chocolate from Colombia!
3. I noticed that your chocolates have won more than just a few awards! Are there any awards that you’re particularly proud of?
We have won over 60 fine food awards now and we are very proud of all them but our recent 2016 Gold awards for our Gingerbread Caramel and Tawny Fig chocolates in both the Academy of Chocolate and the International Chocolate Awards were especially exciting. At both awards, our chocolates were judged alongside chocolates created by some of the most expert chocolatiers around the world.
4. How important are local producers and suppliers in your coffee shops?
Hugely important! Working with local producers and suppliers is part of our DNA and something we have done since we established Chococo back in 2002. We have worked with many South West producers over the years to create our very unique flavoured chocolates and also with local suppliers in Dorset, Winchester & now Exeter for our chocolate houses including coffee, tea, milk, ice cream, bakery, fruit juices and more.
We love working with local producers, as they are just as passionate about their cows, bees, vines, vodka stills and coffee beans as we are about fine chocolate.
We are also very proud to be members of both Dorset Food & Drink and Hampshire Fare food groups.
5. Tell me about your chocolate club?
We also offer a nationwide mail order service and a subscription chocolate club. We think it’s the freshest chocolate club in the UK as our members receive truly fresh handmade chocolates every 4 weeks over a 3, 6 or 12 month period of their choice. We offer a range of different box sizes too so our members can enjoy 9 or 16 chocolates every month, or go for our largest box of 25! As you can imagine, club subscriptions increase the most at Christmas as it makes a delicious gift for a chocolate lover and last year, we were thrilled that the Guardian recommended our club as one of the best subscription gifts to give!
As we are a small business, our club is run by Mel & Georgina at our Wareham HQ & between them, they write the monthly letters to all our members, include special offers like tasters of new flavours that we would like feedback on, ensure all the boxes are packed & despatched on time & also look after any special requests from our club members. It is a truly personal service!
6. I hear that there is something in-store for students when they come in to Chococo?
Yes we offer 10% off for students if they show us their student card.
7. Where are your cocoa beans sourced, is there anything you’d like to tell us about the process?
As I mentioned earlier, we only work with fine origin chocolate from a number of different cocoa producing countries – some of which is produced in their country of origin. This is great news for the producing country as it means they are exporting a finished product with the value added in the country, rather than exporting dried cocoa beans, which are a commodity product. This business model has been coined “Raise Trade” and is arguably beyond fair trade.
Earlier this year I visited one of the companies we work with, Chocolaterie Robert in Madagascar. It was fascinating to visit both their factory in the capital Antananarivo and the cocoa plantations in the Sambirano Valley.
If customers want to find out about the process of turning cocoa beans into chocolate, we have created a “story of chocolate from tree to Chococo” using photos I took in Madagascar which you can see upstairs in our Exeter Chocolate House. By the way, if you enjoy one of our 70% house hot chocolates, that is the chocolate you will taste!
8. Tell us a bit about your range of chocolate, do you have a best seller?
As well as our range of fresh chocolates (that are all sold loose so that you can choose which you would like in a box or a bag), we also make edible boxes made of chocolate (which make a fabulous present, eat the chocolates inside and then the box!), a range of studded chocolate slabs, bars, clusters, shapes (including chocolate fish & chips and dinosaurs, as we are based on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast), chocolate biscuit cakes, hot chocolate flakes, lollies and mini shapes for the young and young at heart.
Within our range of fresh chocolates, our best sellers include Cornish smoked sea salt caramel, Passionfruit, Dorset Honey, Madagascan Vanilla and Dorset Black Cow Vodka – but it does vary by time of year.
9. You have stores in Winchester, Swanage and now Exeter. Is there a difference between each store?
Our Swanage Chocolate House is our original and is tiny by comparison to Winchester & Exeter. It has also evolved quite a bit since 2002 as we added on the chocolate café element several years after opening, so it has quite an unusual, quirky layout! Our Winchester and Exeter Chocolate Houses are more “organised” if that is the right word, but Exeter has the most space for enjoying your Chococo experience as we have an upstairs seating area as well. So you can visit us to discover not just our handmade chocolates, but also to enjoy our hot chocolates, coffee, cakes, milkshakes, sundaes and even chocolate fondues!
10. What does the future hold for Chococo? Any more stores in the pipeline?
We always have lots of plans for the future, but for now, we are concentrating on ensuring that our Exeter customers are delighted with their Chococo experience.
1xwhole sea bass
25g chopped parsley
25g chopped chives
25g unsalted butter
4 Tbsp.olive oil
8 x new potatoes
Salt & Pepper
Start by putting on the new potatoes on to boil as these will take the longest, they will
need about 20-25 minutes in salted boiling water.
Slice the citrus fruits into rings and leave to one side.
Now it is time to clean and gut your fish. Remove the guts from the bass by cutting down the middle of the belly and pulling them out. Cut off the fins with a pair of scissors and use the back of the knife to remove any scales, then wash the bass under a tap. If you are not happy about doing this then ask your fish monger to do it for you.
When the fish is clean, stuff with half of the fruit and herbs. Then place the fish on to
the remaining fruit on a grease proof oven tray. Season with herbs, salt, pepper and a good glug of olive oil. Use 12.5g of butter split in to small knobs, and dot this around the fish. Cook for around 10-12 minutes at 200’c.
Drain of the potatoes and add the rest of the herbs, butter and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve the whole fish on a plate, with the potatoes and a few dressed leafs.
Its competition fever here at Eating Exeter! In our third competition this summer, we have a family ticket to this year’s Powderham Food Festival up for grabs. This one is a Twitter competition, so get on Twitter and get retweeting!
As ever our competitions are super easy, and you’ll need your wits about you as you follow the instructions on the image below! Simply Retweet this image making sure you mention @eatingexeter and @powderhamfest using the hashtag #powderhamfest.
‘From The Archive’ revisits posts from a few years ago that get lost in the midsts of time. My first offering is from a time when I had a small obsession with In-store Cafes. I did my research, I visited quite a few and I was happy to find Waitrose had an in-store cafe that topped the best one at the time which was Marks & Spencer’s.
This was before I had a phone camera that worked properly, and any ability to edit them!
I am sad to declare that Marks and Spencer’s have lost their ‘best in-store cafe in Exeter’ title that I gave them years ago. It has been well and truly beaten by Waitrose in Gla…
Not long after I started Eating Exeter I noticed a new blogger in town. Like me, she wrote reviews of places to eat in Exeter but also killer recipes and product reviews.
On my list of ‘blogs I read’, Latoyah Egerton’s blog Sugar Pink Food is one of my top reads; her passion for good food and warm nature come across in her compelling writing style that I enjoy. I recently met Latoyah for the first time, we both commented how strange it was knowing so much about someone and their escapades, yet never having met them in person! She is certainly one of my favourite food bloggers. Latoyah also has reached the finals of the National Blogging Awards three years in a row. I am rooting for her to get the top spot in her category next year as she certainly deserves it.
Sugar Pink Food is a go-to blog for foodies on the Slimming World diet too; recently a friend of mine said that his daughter was following this plan, and without hesitation I recommended Latoyah’s blog. A couple of month’s later he was singing her praises, showing how easy it was to make tasty yet healthy food that wasn’t bland and soul destroying.
In the second of a series of 10 Questions about local Devon Food Bloggers (third if you include Tara’s Busy Kitchen last year), I asked Latoyah 10 Questions.
1. How long have you been blogging, was there anything in particular that got you interested in it?
About 3 years ago my boyfriend bought the domain name www.latoyah.co.uk for me, just because I am lucky enough to have an unusual name that hadn’t yet been taken! For a while it was just an empty landing page and I decided I would start posting recipes for myself as a personal storage place. People started visiting my website and as more people visited the more work I put into the page itself and really it just grew from there! I always wanted to be able to make and create and I think cooking is the only form of making things I am actually good at!!
2. If you had to have a final meal (moving away for instance) in Exeter, where would it be?
I think I would go to Côte Brasserie for their consistently high standard of food, I hate to pick a chain, but it is one of the only places I have eaten in Exeter that has served a perfect meal every single time we have visited (upwards of 10 times!). If I had to choose an independent restaurant it would be Hubbox for their amazing burgers.
3. What has been your ‘blogging highlight’ since you started Sugar Pink Food?
This is a tricky one! I have been really lucky and had some great opportunities through blogging. I think one of my main highlights was when my friend, who had gone travelling to New Zeland, said she was shown a recipe from a blog one of her roommates followed- and it was mine! To think that someone the other side of the world had read and saved one of my recipes is amazing!
4. What annoys you the most when you’re in a restaurant, a pet peeve?
I really hate when restaurants serve food on anything other than a plate! I get that you’re trying to make your food look good, but there’s no need to serve that breakfast on a shovel…
5. You produce some amazing slimming world recipes, what advice would you give someone who is just starting out on the slimming world journey?
Being on Slimming World means you can still eat the food you love, just in moderation. Never deprive yourself. If you want some chocolate, allow some syns during the day to have some chocolate, that way you shouldn’t fall off the wagon! Also drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island with one electrical socket, what one kitchen appliance would you take with you?
The only practical appliance I could think of needing would be a slow cooker so I could make some yummy slow cooked meals.
7. When you’re not blogging about food or creating delightful recipes, what do you do during the day?
I recently started a new job as a quality analyst.
8. You’ve reached the final of the nationally recognised UK Blog awards three years running, and you’re in the Top 100 Food blog lists too! For anyone starting to blog, what tips would you give them?
Make sure that you are writing about something you are passionate about and remember that ‘free stuff’ is never actually free. A lot of people have seen some of the things I have been sent and said ‘I am going to start a blog too if you get sent stuff’. You have to take the time to photograph, review and write all about any products you’re lucky enough to be sent for review, so it is actually very time consuming! 9. Red or White wine?
White wine every time!
10. If you could cook with any celebrity chef, who would it be?
I would love to cook with Jamie Oliver, I think of him as a proper home cook and I think we would have a laugh!
Eating Exeter has been aware of Exeter Cookery School for around a year, and in fact you can read a 10 Q&A blog here to find out more about their founders, Jim and Lucy.
This pre-dates my involvement in EE, however I met Jim and Lucy around October time when they were doing a pop-up cookery course in Sapphire Spaces – I happen to pop in at the time to see what was going on. Since then I have stayed in contact and really championed their efforts to open a cookery school in Exeter. Since meeting them, their enthusiasm for what they do is quite clear; both can be found smiling almost constantly.
Pipers Farm, on the other hand, have been well established in Exeter for many years and I have been on their Beyond the Hedgerow Tour last year, which can be found here. Similarly, Peter Greig’s passion for his methods and animals can be read in his body language quite clearly.
So two passionate businesses joined forces for one of Exeter Cookery Schools first courses and I was so excited to have been invited along. I caught the park and ride bus into town as I normally would, and walked down to the Quay, being greeted by the sunshine reflecting off the water…what better way to start your day, it really is a lovely spot. There are car parks very nearby at approx £5 for the day. Of course, if you have your own boat, there seemed to be room to moor outside too!
So in a great mood I entered their renovated warehouse building; it was so light and airy with the sun shining through the patio doors, and the contrast of concrete, metal, bare brick walls and beautiful oak wood tops. I was greeted by filtered coffee in their lounge area, a table that set the tone for the day and of course their trademark smiles.
I met our other classmates, and after a short H&S chat from Jim, we got started. Peter told us about his animals and farm and then talked through the meats he had brought with him. He then proceeded to carve the shanks off his lamb, so Jim could sear it and then get it into the oven on a low and slow heat for us to enjoy later on. He talked us through various parts of the lamb and what we could do with it. We chopped up some vegetables to go in the stock pot.
We were then talked through Peter’s beautiful chickens and how to tell if it is a good bird. We were shown how to cut off the head and feet for stock later, we removed the giblets and then Jim talked us all through how best to use the whole chicken – so we removed the breasts, thighs, legs ourselves and learnt how to best prepare them for cooking. We cooked the chicken breast with their beautiful skins on, for us to eat for lunch. I’m not going to lie…there was alot of butter involved but the result was absolutely delicious and, in fact, the butter used was for basting and what was left can be saved for later and refrigerated to be used again…so we weren’t really eating all that butter.
We sat for lunch around a lovely table, chatting over the mornings skills and enjoying our chicken lunch with a macerated strawberry and basil ice cream for pudding the Jim had already prepared for us.
The afternoon was then filled with learning the skills of butchering the remainder of the lamb carcass. We worked in teams, all having a go, and Peter was open to allowing us to butcher as much as possible of his precious meat educating us on the various cuts and what to do with them. Jim taught us how to french trim the lamb racks, which were then cooked and we gathered round his chef’s domain to enjoy the cooked chops.
The day ended with us able to take a tub of melt in the mouth lamb home for our supper – I was actually so full from lunch that I saved mine for the next day and enjoyed it with toad in the hole!
It was a very enjoyable day with very patient yet enthusiastic teachers, in a spacious and beautiful building. We had a variety of skills between us students, and everyone got stuck in and felt comfortable enough to ask questions. Price-wise they are inline with cookery schools in the next counties, but this one is right on our beautiful doorstep and excellent value for 7 hour course including lunch.
They have plenty of courses running, from fish to sugar skills to puddings, running on different days and include full or half day courses too. Ideal for yourself, a gift for someone and even corporate events can be arranged – an excellent team building idea considering how well us strangers worked together. The students included people from Totnes, North Devon, Exeter and even Bristol. It’s great to know that their efforts are being heard far and wide.
The beautiful Gaggenau appliances and Bulthaup workspaces were installed by the local and talented Sapphire Spaces, and the fantastic logo’d knives we used are made by I.O.Shen, which can also be purchased from the school.
No matter what your skill level, there really is something for everyone and I hope my photos speak volumes for the fantastic Jim and Lucy and their Exeter Cookery School.
Chococo has arrived in Exeter, Gandy Street to be precise! This independent artisan chocolate company was started in Swanage in 2002 and has grown to three shops including one in Winchester and the original one in Swanage.
To celebrate this, we’ve teamed up with Chococo to offer you a fantastic prize. A Chocolate Fondue for 2 with hot drinks! Lots of chocolate and dipping 🙂
Competition closes on 31st August! Simply answer the question below and share the competition to enter the draw on Facebook and Twitter.
Open Tuesday to Saturday 12pm – 2:30pm and 6pm – late. (Food serve 12 -2 and 6 – 9:30pm). Express lunch 2 courses for £10.95
Circa 1924 is 1 years old – Happy Birthday! A great achievement for a bar and restaurant run by two young friends Rob and James. It is city centre but slightly back from the high street which affords it a great location but with a slight air of secrecy and exclusivity to it and on a quiet street. I have enjoyed post-dinner cocktails before and Chris (head honcho here at EE) tried their pop-up lunches (Circa 1924 presents Skandel@Circa1924 ) earlier this year with much delight.
So when Rob invited us to try their current express lunch offering, I jumped at the chance to experience their food for myself. Working in Exeter city centre, the choices are quite endless, if not, a little overwhelming. Express lunch appeals to me as, like anyone with a 45 minute lunch, it’s nice to know you can eat restaurant food without worrying constantly about the time and actually enjoy the experience.
The concept of the express lunch is simple, honest, tasty and local food served in good time. The menu changes every few days or even daily depending on what their local suppliers have available, dictated slightly by seasonality too. The menu is handwritten, it is that freshly put together and can change at the swipe of their pen. I started off by choosing a drink that was under the cocktail section, but clearly non alcoholic – so I assumed it would be something a bit different, and I was right. Temperance Cloudy Lemonade (£5), which would not be my top choice, but I was intrigued by the flavours of lemon, vanilla sugar syrup, and dill. I was presented with a lovely large icy glass of cool, sweet and slightly sharp lemon heaven, a great drink do go with lunch.
Priced at £10.95 for two courses, this seems extremely reasonable and almost too good to be true. The small menu read well, with fish, vegetarian and meat options. I have said before, I am terrible at choosing. So even on a starter menu of 3 items, I couldn’t decide between two – so I was pleased to be allowed both, for research purposes of course!
I chose the Heritage Tomato and Mozzarella Salad and the Venison Carpaccio. Both were presented beautifully. The salad had very tasty tomato slices, a lovely and generous pesto drizzle, a light textured mozzarella and some really tasty crunchy bread for texture. With lemon balm micro herbs this just gave it another interesting angle – it was delightful. My second starter came with the same tasty bread, layered slices of venison, again generously drizzled with dijon mustard sauce and atop with cornichons (small pickled gherkins for those who don’t know). The meat was so incredibly soft, the dressing was slightly creamy, and the vinegar of the cornichons cut through perfectly – another wonderful little dish.
Now for my main of Fillet Mignon with Skin on Fries and Garlic Butter (£2 extra supplement). Now…I am not particularly keen on set price menus having an upgrade price for an item, but I have to say, even at £12.95 for one of the starters and then this main would be totally worthit. I imagined thin slivers of meat with maybe half a dozen stacked chips, but what I got was so much better. 3 beautiful well proportioned pieces of fillet, cooked to perfection; the meat was cooked medium and was so succulent and tender, accompanied by plenty of thick well seasoned skin on fries and with a blob of fabulously garlicky butter which just pulled it all together. I felt as if I was on the continent. I absolutely loved this dish, it was a triumph. I almost wanted to tell some customers that had just walked in that they must choose it. All served on a hot plate; a simple touch yet often overlooked in some establishments and I am not sure my photo does it justice.
I would say this was one of the nicest lunches I have had in a long time – just spot on, delicious and unfussy food that tasted so good and at a price that you can barely get a main dish for in Exeter. Even with me eating an extra item or two, I was in and out within 40 minutes. Of course, if you’re not in a hurry, then relax and stay awhile.
There are 3 tables in the bar area, another half dozen or so a bit further on in their ground floor area and then 3 tables out the front if you wish to dine al fresco. A great wine menu, an excellent beer, ale and stout menu and of course, their excellent cocktail list too. If you’re circumnavigating town for the best lunch your money can buy, whilst wanting to support an independent, head to Circa1924!
Regular readers might notice that we’ve been running quite a few competitions recently. We quite enjoy running the competitions and giving our readers something special to enter in to, so to keep everyone up to date with competitions, I’ve created a handy competition page.
Remember we’re running two competitions at the moment – Good luck!!
Exeter should prepare for a big slice of sunshine – as Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant and bar prepares to roll into its first city in Devon! It’s all about rum, reggae and jerk this summer! Turtle Bay is set to open its doors to Exeter on the 23rd August, bringing a new, vibrant and delicious Caribbean dining and drinking experience to the city. Think jerk chicken, spicy, slow cooked curries, rice and peas, dreamy desserts and blissful rum cocktails!
We’re offering one lucky winner a free 3 course-meal for 4 with a drink!
Because we love competitions here at Eating Exeter, simply head over to Twitter or Facebook. Follow either Eating Exeter on Twitter or Eating Exeter on Facebook and share the competition. This includes any reposts throughout the competition duration.
You have to do both to qualify for entry to the prize draw (literally names in a bowl) which will be held on the 24th August. The winner will be contacted privately.
Regular readers might have noticed that each Wednesday evening we post a ‘Recipe Of The Week’. These are created by our tame chef Tom Allbrook from Hornbrook Kitchen, a new company based in North Devon. They’ve been doing their share of events and getting themselves out to a wider audience.
I was intrigued to know more about what Hornbrook Kitchen is all about and some of the inspiration behind the fantastic recipes featured on Eating Exeter.
1. What is Hornbrook Kitchen? Where can we eat your food?
Hornbrook Kitchen started as an idea we bounced off each other when me and my partner where travelling across America on our ‘food trip’. We saw so many different food ideas and cultures, we wanted to bring some of this back to England with us.
We came up with the name from a collaboration of our surnames to keep it personal to us. We have worked within the food industry for many years and decided that we were ready to take on a new challenge and start our own venture. Although still early days for us we are hoping to hit up street food events, markets, festivals, etc all over Devon & Somerset. Not only doing street food we can offer fine dining and can be hired out for private catering events.
2. Who is your greatest inspiration in the Chef world?
This is an easy one for me, Jamie Oliver without a doubt. He is my all-time favourite Chef. I started watching him when I was about 8 years old and have been following him ever since. I love what he does with food and the way he cooks, but also the passion he has for great food and good ingredients. He has been a huge inspiration to me in the way I cook now and the chef I have become.
3. I noticed you were part of a team that won a Taste Of The West award? Tell me more…
This is something I had done before at previous pubs so I thought it was a great opportunity to do again but this time it was my own menu so it meant a lot to win a gold for my food and was a really good thing for the pub and boost for myself and the team.
4. As a chef, what is the benefit of living in a Devon with so many fresh ingredients on your doorstep?
I find you can really eat the seasons, just a couple months ago I was out picking wild garlic from the hedgerows and taking it home to cook with. Sometimes I take trips down to the coast to do a spot of sea fishing with my brother in law who is also a chef although I have to say they haven’t been very successful. But this is what food is all about for me -smells, the fun and the flavours.
5. I hear you’ve been on a journey recently to the states?
The idea for this trip came up over a beer one night with some old friends of mine. I never really thought any more about it or that it would actually happen, as it was just an idea. But every time we met up we spoke a little more about it and a few months after that we thought actually why not? I am a massive fan of smoked BBQ food and my friends have their own food van called ‘Lola’s Wings’. They really wanted to get out there and see more street-food for themselves so it seemed like the perfect trip.
So with my partner also we set off in a camper van that we hired and traveled from New York to LA covering about 4000 miles. Searching out the best BBQ and street-food joints that America had to offer, and there were so many. The highlight of the trip for me was getting to Franklin’s BBQ to try some of the well known smoked brisket. After a 4 hour wait, queuing patiently outside the restaurant on a early Sunday morning I finally got to try it; it was well worth the wait.
6. What is your culinary guilty pleasure?
It’s very old school, but you can’t beat Toad In The Hole with mash, peas and onion gravy. I was lucky enough to have parents that are pretty nifty in the kitchen so I was brought up on good quality, home cooked meals every day. I have kept that influence in my own style of cooking.
7. If you had to rescue one item from your burning kitchen, what would it be?
That would have to be my little black book of recipes. It’s my cooking Bible. I started writing all my ideas, recipes and inspirations down at about the age of 4. One day I will use this to write my first cook book.
8. What is the future plan for Hornbrook Kitchen?
HornBrook Kitchen is still in its early stages, its hard to say how the business will develop but we are hoping that it will be a great success. Our main aim at the moment is to get our name out there and be known for serving good quality, locally sourced and sustainable food to the highest standard and to have fun with it.
We are both great lovers of travel so if we can combine our work with being able to travel the country that would be an amazing achievement. We still have many places we would like to experience, Italy being at the top of our list. It’s good to get different ideas for food from a cultural aspect and adapt that to our own style of cooking to ensure our products stay unique.
We have talked about one day having our own restaurant combined with a fresh food deli but who knows what the future may bring. My own personal goal as a chef is to have a cook book published with all my recipes, so that I can share what I have done with others.
9. Do you have any particularly favourite producers or retailers that you use regularly in your cooking?
Local sustainable food is very important to us. We are lucky to be in an area where there are so many good quality suppliers around.
10. What three words would you use to describe Hornbrook Kitchen?
How do you introduce Marcus Bawdon? BBQ blogging master, nationally recognised BBQ personality (he judges at the Grillstock festival) and generally nice chap. He is also incredibly modest when it comes to what he does when he is not being a father, wife or geologist. I have a huge amount of respect for his knowledge and his infectious passion for all things BBQ.
The foodie scene in Exeter and Devon is bubbling and boiling hot; full of awesome local producers doing excellent things with ingredients; restaurants opening left right and centre. In the middle of this, a small army of foodies who share their passion through writing, photography and exuberant cheering on social media – I was lucky enough to share my visit with a few members of this army; food photographer Nick Hook, Exeter GCC Chef Ben Gordon.and the multi-talented food writer/PR guru Harriet Wild.
We were invited to Marcus’s BBQ HQ, somewhere deep in East Devon to experience BBQ how it should be experienced. Slowly cooked and smoked.
After arguing with my sat-nav, I eventually landed in a piece of East Devon that I have frequently driven through but not really stepped back to admire, it was beautiful and so quiet, only the faint hum of the motorway could be heard if you really strained to listen.
Waking through a large circular archway CWS HQ was everythuing I imagined it to be. A large garden and off to the side was a large BBQ area filled with equipment, gizmos and other bits, all designed to create awesome food.
Earlier in the day Marcus had been live on Facebook creating his Mac & Cheese Fatty, so the anticipation was right on the ceiling. What else were we going to be having?
A beautiful smoked Mocha Beef Brisket..
Mac & Cheese Chilli Fatty…
and Cherry Smoked Pork along with a big dish of CWS Mac & Cheese.
The part that I had anticipated as much as eating the food was watching Marcus carve the meat. Clustering around him like bees with cameras, and a particularly large bee with a vast appetite being me, Nick and myself both caught the essence of the meat and its texture.
Ben taking a photo of the amazing BBQ creations before us…
We sat and chatted for a while, eating the tender meats that Marcus had prepared and sharing laughs. The rain started to spitter, tapping on the roof of CWS HQ which was shortly followed by a windfall applr banging like a gun as it hit corregrated steel and rolled down.
For dessert with had pecan smoked peaches, cooked briefly in one of Marcus’s smaller machines. The gentle smokiness really worked and with the creaminess of the double cream, sprinkled with a few pecans, it rounded off a truly BBQ’d dinner.
We’ve been busy coming up with sandwiches for Burt’s Chips Ultimate Crisp Sandwich project. Some have been disasters (you won’t read about those!) The second one we had great fun making was a classic with a modern twist. Search for #ultimatecrispsandwich on Twitter and get the latest on this excellent summer campaign.
Yes, its a Cheese and Pickled Onion Sandwich. The culinary heights we go to at Eating Exeter eh?!
This has a nifty trick in it though, where you marinate the onions in balsamic and sugar in a bowl. This adds a whole new onion based dimension to the recipe. If you’re worried that Eating Exeter’s recipes are a bit weird, fear not! Tom Allbrook has created us a lush lamb recipe.
I was recently invited to a bloggers evening at Base and Barley following the release of their new burger menu. I have seen all manner of burger puns being shared over Twitter recently: “Does my bun look big in this?” and “lets ketchup over dinner then burger off for a dance at the meatball”…let’s move on before this get’s too cheesy!
Having visited previously when they first opened and tried their pizza offering, I can understand why they may want to expand the menu slightly to appeal even more to their target audience. There are already plenty of burger options in the city, but none of them offer pizza too, so I guess this would happily satisfy a family or group of mixed tastes.
On arrival we were offered a variety of beers, prosecco and cocktails to try. Whilst I am already a fan of prosecco (no convincing needed there!) Steve tried some of the beers; their selection has expanded which now includes one of their own local brews on tap. As well as beers on tap, they have bottled beers from the UK and beyond. Steve tried Curious Brew which is a premium lager, re-fermented with Champagne yeast which definitely had that light flavour and fizz at the end of each mouthful. He also loved the Einstock Icelandic White Ale which features the complex flavours of the classic witbier, including orange peel and coriander – all brewed with pure Icelandic water.
The cocktails served included my favourite Espresso Martini, and one I haven’t tried before called a Pornstar Martini – a passionfruit based martini served with a shot of prosecco on the side! The cocktail is very sweet so the shot is there to cleanse the palate as you go, it looked very pretty.
The burgers then followed; we were served a selection of everything, served exactly as it would be for the diner, with a mixture of normal and sweet potato fries on the side. First of all, and everyone agreed with a variety of sounds as we politely nibbled fries before delving into the burgers, the sweet potato fries were excellent! They were thicker than you would normally find and were not oily or limp as I have experienced before – they were delicious! Another obvious agreement was how nice the brioche buns were, very light and fluffy.
The homemade burgers include fresh (purple) house slaw and skin on fries and we tried the Vegetarian burger (£9.95), Chicken burger (£10.95) and the Fully Loaded burger (£10.95). This seems a fair price considering other local venues charge similar but with fries costing extra.
The Vegetarian consists of a chickpea, sweetcorn, coriander and paprika patty served with batavia lettuce, red onion, tomato and smoked garlic chutney and mayonnaise in a brioche bun. It was very tasty and a soft texture. It was quite squishy (for want of a better word) but this was clearly homemade.
The Fully loaded consisted of homemade beef pattie blended with sweet roquito peppers (slightly hot) served with crispy bacon, emmental cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion and house sauce in a brioche bun. It was a very tasty, juicy burger with a good texture and the meat is purchased from a local butcher. I also really enjoyed the house sauce which you could clearly taste.
The Chicken burger was a piri piri chicken breast, tomato, red onion, batavia lettuce and cooling mint and cucumber yoghurt in a brioche bun. Another delicious option, with a meaty chicken breast and well topped.
Base and Barley’s surroundings are relaxing with light wooded booths in the restaurant area decorated with fairy lights, and a bar area of high stools and tall tables. They welcome all guests, especially families, and kids eat for £1!
All in all, we were pleased to ‘meat’ the new additions to Base and Barley’s menu and suggest you give them a try. If you feel like reading some ‘cheesy’ burger puns, find the action on Twitter by searching for #burgerpun. Now ‘burger’ off to Base and Barley and you’ll be sure of love at first bite!
Well the weathermen keep telling us we’re in summer, but with the grey clouds sitting outside and the distinctively wintry air, I’d beg to differ. When we do get some sun, our resident Menu Master, Recipe Ninja, our tame chef Chef Tom Allbrook has another stonking recipe of the week which would be a perfect BBQ idea.
For the flatbreads
300g bread flour
Tsp. paprika chilli ginger garlic salt and pepper
220ml cold water or sparkling water
For the cous cous:
1 cup of cous cous
2 cups of boiling water
11 pieces dried fruit chopped
A mixture of char grilled vegetable’s
2 tbsp. spices of your choice for the lamb & 500g lamb mince
For the dressing:
2tblsp. Cream fraiche
1 BBQ cooked lemon
Salt & Pepper
For this recipe I like to cook the veg and the lemon on the ashes of the BBQ to really bring the flavours out, but you can roast them in the oven or on a gas hob to burn the outside of the skins of the veg.
To make the cous cous, pour one cup of it in to a bowl with two cups of boiling water with the roughly chopped charred vegetables and fruit and leave to stand for about 12 minutes.
Fry the lamb off in all the spices and a little oil until crispy and cooked through. Should take about 10 minutes whilst, doing this make up the flat breads by mixing all the flour, spices, yeast and water together. Roll them out and either cook in a floured pan on a medium heat or over the BBQ for a couple minutes each side.
Make up a tangy dressing to cool the dish down by mixing together 2 tbsp. cream fraiche, the juice of the lemon, sprig of rosemary and 1 tbsp. smoked paprika and serve this all on a nice board and enjoy with a cold beer in the sun, perfect for when you have friends around as it is quick and super tasty.
You know how much we love competitions! Our readers get a chance to win something spectacular, a £50 gift card to spend at any of the Princesshay restaurants.
This summer you can taste your way around the world at Princesshay. Fancy Italian? Head to Carluccio’s and go al fresco or enjoy views of Exeter’s magnificent cathedral from the deliciously inventive Jamie’s Italian. Soak up the atmosphere in Yo! Sushi’s stylish and colourful surroundings or head to Wagamamas for Japanese eats overlooking the city’s historic almshouses.
With legendary burgers and all the sides at Byron, fiery Portuguese chicken in Nandos, French finery in Café Rouge or International favourites in Giraffe, Princesshay is the place to dine this summer. Looking for a lighter lunch? Enjoy authentic food in Chandos Deli and Cafe, or brunch from the al fresco dining cafe of LTGs. If it’s just a brew or latte you’re after, get refreshed at Coffee#1, Costa or Starbucks.
For a chance to win a £50 gift card to dine at one of Princesshay’s 14 stylish restaurants or cafes, simply answer the question below.
What type of food does Carluccios serve?
To enter, get on to Twitter and follow the instructions in the picture below. Full T’s & C’s are at the bottom of the page.