For burger fans in Exeter, we lost one of the best Burger joints in Exeter as Ruby Modern Diner closed the doors on its Queen St restaurant. But the saving grace to the story was that it wasn’t the end, in fact it was just the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Ruby Burgers.
We were lucky enough to be invited over to visit The Grapevine Brewhouse in Exmouth to welcome in their new kitchen-in-residence.
Whilst in Queen Street they won Taste Of The West Gold for three years running along with a host of other awards. So what made Dicky and Erin Harrison want to move operations to Exmouth?
Erin Harrison, co-owner – “The opportunity for a kitchen residence came up at the Grapevine and was too good to miss! Its a fantastic pub and Exmouth has a great vibe and plenty of independent restaurants and bars, we thought Ruby would be a great fit. Also we were unsure of the impact of the Guildhall and other new developments in the centre of Exeter and felt that Exmouth would be a better home for us.”
For Burgerlad (one of the UK’s foremost burger bloggers) Ruby Modern Diner had been recommended to him countless times on Twitter and when he visited them in Queen Street it lived up to his expectations. Every time we visited we were always full and very happy with every visit.
The Grapevine Brewhouse is a fantastic independent establishment owned by Oliver and Demelza Bainbridge. It is also home to Ollie’s brewing operations named Crossed Anchors, which brews its product on-site. The perfect combination – local beer and local burgers, and throw in some regular live music events along with a vast selection of guest ales and continental beers, and you have a winning combination.
Erin says “The pub hosts great bands every week and is really busy and buzzy and of course I have to say the BEER! Crossed Anchors is the on site brewery and they are creating some awesome craft beer and ales. Ollie also stocks a huge range of international beers – so there is something for everyone and of course their beer is the perfect match for our burgers”
With the wood paneled walls, shelves adorned with decorative paraphernalia there is a cosiness to this pub that invites you in from the cold. The warmth of lamps and the low lighting makes this an inviting sight on a cold winter night and on the food tables are the all too familiar mustard and ketchup. Just like it was in Exeter.
Ruby have changed their menu to adapt to their new home. All Burgers come with fries, home-made ‘slaw and a pickle. Before these were items that you could add separately and the prices reflect this change, but the classic names are still on the menu.
The Bad Man, Piggy, Blue, Scorchio are all names I’ve missed! But here they are, as good as they were and back in my life. Luckily for Ruby, the two Head Chefs who steered the boat in Exeter (excuse the pun) are still at the healm! Erin added “We’re lucky and proud to say our two head chefs from Exeter, Rob and Mark made the move with us and are really happy in their new home. they’ve worked really hard to bring Ruby to the Grapevine and we think our burgers are better than ever.”
Ruby are still using local suppliers and their local ethos is still at the heart of what they do. Roger The Farmer from Copplestone provides their beef, Exploding Bakery in Exeter provides brownies, Darts Fresh provides veg, Hawkridge from Crediton still provides cheeses etc.
It is a testament to a restaurant when you get chatting to a regular who sing the praises of the pub and Ruby Burgers. As I was taking photos I got in to a bit of banter with some gentlemen sat by the iconic Ruby Burgers hatch who praised the consistency and quality of the food.
Our burgers for tonight would be the Blue 7oz beef patty, chestnut mushrooms, caramelised onions and Devon Blue cheese (£12.50) and the Piggy 7oz beef patty, home smoked pulled pork, smoked Applewood cheddar, smoked streaky bacon, Ruby sauce (£13.50).
My Blue Burger was a delight to eat. Chestnut mushrooms and the tang of the blue cheese made the burger feel more steak-like; it contrasted well with the sweetness of the caramelised onions. The fries were, naturally, fresh and hot and it was presented on that iconic Ruby logo paper. The bun was intact throughout the meal and not a soggy bottom in sight.
Tori’s was Piggy was quite a burger to behold as it was packed generously with pulled pork and bacon – it was brimming! So much that half way through taking photos, it lurched to the side and suffered from the burger-topple effect.
But this was no barrier to the taste. It was a charming and delightful burger with a sweet smokiness throughout. The home smoked pulled pork was a winning combination with the tasteful Devon Ruby beef.
The beer at The Grapevine Brewhouse is extensive in choice. One of the region’s best selections of international beers coupled with their own delectable in-house brewed beers and ales make it an absolute mecca for local beer lovers. As we sipped our pint of C.S.H (stands for Cascading Smash Hopburst) which was a spritely hoppy blonde ale at 3.8%ABV, I imagined afternoons cycling down to Exmouth and having a few pints and a burger at The Grapevine before hopping back on a train feeling slightly merry and full.
There is something quite epic about the combination of a beautifully crafted local beer and a burger made from ingredients from this wonderful county. And although we’ve lost a fantastic Exeter name on our restaurant scene, we have given it to Exmouth and they love it.
Ruby Burgers has been open since October and in that short space of time it feels like they’ve imprinted themselves in to the fabric of the town; the partnership between The Grapevine Brewhouse and Ruby Kitchen seems so natural. Not just because beer and burgers go so well together, but because here are two businesses that are already doing great things