Rockfish Lodges Plans for Sixth Site in Exeter

Rockfish, the South West seafood restaurant group founded by restaurateurs Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse, has lodged plans to open its sixth site, in Exeter.

The company has applied to the city council to build the venue at Exeter Quay’s Piazza Terracina, creating 40 jobs. The application is for a single-storey pavilion restaurant with a floor space of 500 square metres. If plans are approved it is hoped that the restaurant could be open early in 2018. Rockfish has been steadily growing since its first site in Dartmouth in 2010 and has become famous for sustainable seafood which is sourced locally and served on the day of landing.

The restaurant, which will also have a bar, will specialise in fried & chargrilled seafood in an environment and style that will appeal to all; Mitch and Mat with a 9 children between them want families to always feel welcome.

4MitchTonks161206Matt Austin

Founder Mitch Tonks said “Exeter is a really vibrant town and the unofficial capital of the South West, the dining out scene is great. I love nights out there and the site on the quay suits us perfectly as it is overlooking the water. Exeter is still only a short drive from Brixham so we can stick to our golden rule of serving local fish on the day it was landed and at its best. I can’t wait to get open and I’m already thinking of a few special additions at the restaurant, watch this space!”


Recipe: A Whole Oven Poached Brill with Tomatoes, Thyme and Saffron by Mitch Tonks

Our second post in a series of recipes from Mitch Tonks.

A Whole Oven Poached Brill with Tomatoes, Thyme and Saffron

 Serves 4 – you will need 

Olive oil

1 brill weighing about 1.5 kg / 3lb

4 ripe tomatoes

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1 small dried birds eye chilli – optional

Good pinch of saffron

A splash of Pernod or aniseed flavoured alcohol – optional – but if you are worried about the flavour of aniseed, don’t.  It doesn’t take over the dish but really adds a wonderful depth.

A glass of dry white wine

A small handful of finely chopped parsley

To Make

Pre heat the oven to 200c.

In a roasting dish large enough to take the fish and a pint or so of liquid add a few tablespoons of olive oil and gently fry the shallot and the garlic until softened.  Squeeze in the tomatoes, add the thyme, saffron and crumble in the chilli.  Mix all those flavours together well, then add a splash of Pernod and allow to boil until the all the liquid has evaporated.

Then add the wine and boil for a further minute, then lay the fish into the pan and a cupful of water.  Sprinkle in some sea salt and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Check regularly to ensure there is still enough liquid in the pan and baste the top of the fish which will be starting to roast, if you think you need more liquid add a little water.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle in the parsley and taste the juice.  You should be able to taste everything separately within the sauce but all at once.  I find that proper seasoning helps to bring these flavours out.  I think this dish is fine to serve from the pan in which it was cooked.

To  remove the flesh from the fish just take a spoon and cut the soft fish from the head to the tail down the middle, you can then with 2 spoons lift the fish off in chunks when all the fish from the top is gone simply lift out the backbone and you’ll be left with the boneless underside of the fish.

If you are a shellfish lover you could add a few mussels, or clams or cockles during cooking.  A good accompaniment with this would be some aioli, some good bread and some spinach.

© Mitch Tonks

brill with tomatoes

Dr Ink’s Curiosities, Quayside

38 Commercial Rd, Exeter EX2 4AE Commercial Rd, Exeter EX2 4AE

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We visited Dr Ink’s a few weeks ago after an event and although it was only a brief visit, I’ve been eager to write something about this lovely establishment for a while.

There are quite a few places in Exeter that do cocktails now.  They range from the pre-made stuff in cartons, to fine concoctions made by men with beards.  A good cocktail is easy to come by in Exeter these days but an exceptional one is even harder.


I could name a number of places that are ‘must-go’ and you must go, because the cocktail landscape of Exeter is a varied and complex thing.  Nuances, differences, things done in a slightly different way in one bar and not in another, quirks.

But here is Doctor Ink’s Curiosities on the Quayside, tucked in behind the Customs House it makes little impression on the Quay from outside.  But step inside and you are presented with a classic styled cocktail bar with a wall of brightly lit spirits and lots of red velvet.


This is the quirkiest of them all, this is just theatre.

Doctor Ink’s isn’t the cheapest place in town but you’re not coming here for special offers – There is a lot of pride taken in the stories behind each drink and the authenticity of the ingredients used.  The menu is presented in a hardback book  and there is, when they are quieter, a table service.


Proudly independent, their cocktails each have a story.  They are created with an attention to detail which only goes to show the passion that their mixologists put in to every drink.

We loved it, so did Exepose – Read their review here. and so does Instagram too!



Roddy’s Pop-Up Rustic Restaurant: 1 st July at Bickham Barn

Rod Hall (of Rod & Ben’s Soup fame) has decided that 2017 will be entertaining, for him as well as for you! … he’s keen to stir things up this year by having a series of special events concentrating on some of his favourite things:

Roddy Hall

  • The organic produce he grows at Bickham Farm
  • The newly restored – and very rustic – old threshing barn
  • Food and drink: lots of delicious food and drink
  • Merriment: he likes people and good old-fashioned fun.

Using the organic produce that’s in season on the farm, the chef will design and cook a fitting tribute to the freshest of fresh vegetables and meats and it’ll be served straight from the land to the table. The produce list for 1 st July looks to be: mixed leaves, cucumber, spinach, new potatoes and chard with pork, beef or turkey.

Bickham Barn event

The evening will be more than just dinner. Rod will be leading a guided walk around the farm explaining where the food has come from and the work that goes into growing it, giving a greater insight to all about food we eat.

R&B Box detail 3

Sat down at long trestle tables, there will be three courses to savour, a glass of wine/beer (or non-alcoholic drink if you prefer), included in the price and a cash bar for those who would like more, as well as light music.

Barn Dance Evening by Jenny Steer

In a nutshell: An evening of old-fashioned socialising, a walk around the farm, delicious fresh organic food, a drink or two and merriment and music in a 200 year old barn. It’s a joyous thing!

The first restaurant will be Saturday 1 st July:

6.30pm – farm tour

7.30pm – food is served

Tickets are £35. See more about Bickham Barn and book your tickets

at: or email

Food from the soil. Nothing more, nothing less.

Can’t make it? There is another pop-up restaurant on Saturday 22nd July and Saturday 14th October – SIGN UP FOR UPDATES or keep up with the chat on Facebook

Bickham Barn, Kenn, Exeter, EX6 7XL

5 Week Countdown to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink! *WIN TICKETS*

The 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink is returning to the Exeter Castle Courtyard and Northernhay Gardens in the very heart of the city in just 5 weeks’ time! The 2017 Festival is running across the early May Bank Holiday weekend, from Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017.

Activities for children include interactive workshops including, Fun Kitchen cookery classes, farm animals, story-telling and craft activities. The Darts Farm ‘Food is Fun’ Teepees also host a packed schedule of informative and fun family workshops, talks on topical food and drink themes and demonstrations from local chefs.

You can find over 90 artisan producers from the region in the Food & Drink marquees, 7 Michelin-starred chefs cooking up a storm in the Festival Cookery Theatre and three evenings of music at the After Dark Music Festival (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

For your chance to win a family pass to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink on Monday 1st May where you can enjoy cookery demos from Michelin-starred chefs Mark Dodson from The Mason Arms and co-founder Michael Caines from Lympstone Manor, simply enter our competition below.

How many Michelin-starred chefs will be demoing at the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink this year?

a) 3

b) 5

c) 7

For more information or to buy tickets visit:

Terms & Conditions

  1. Closing date 14.04.2017
  2. Prize includes two adult tickets and two child tickets to the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink on Monday 1st May 2017
  3. Access to the VIP lounge is not included
  4. Transport is not included.
  5. Open to residents of the UK aged over 18
  6. Prize is non-transferable or amendable
  7. No cash alternative
  8. Additional costs incurred are payable by the winner
  9. Enter by commenting the answer on our pinned Facebook post or by replying or retweeting the answer using our pinned Twitter post.


*Main featured photo copyright of Nick Hook Photography

Michelin-Starred Chef Line-Up Announced for the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink

Tom Kerridge confirmed in chef line up!
Early May bank holiday weekend – Saturday 29 April – Monday 1 May

 An all-star line-up of chefs has been confirmed for this year’s Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink including Tom Kerridge who will join festival co-founder Michael Caines MBE in the cookery theatre on the Sunday.

Seven Michelin-starred chefs are among the line-up this year, including Tom Kerridge, Michael Caines MBE, Simon Hulstone, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Wignall, Mark Dodson and Josh Eggleton, alongside a further 30 talented chefs demonstrating. The seven award-winning chefs will be performing live demos across Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May in the Festival Cookery Theatre.

The three-day Festival is a celebration of the South West’s Food and Drink producers and top chefs, taking place over the early May bank holiday weekend (Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017) at Exeter Castle and the surrounding Northernhay Gardens.

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge said: “I was really pleased when Michael asked me to be part of the festival. I’m looking forward to coming down to Exeter for the bank holiday and demonstrating on the Sunday as well as sampling the amazing local produce.”

Tom Kerridge at EFF 2017

Visitors to the Festival can enjoy demonstrations in the Festival cookery theatre from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon, with demos, head-to-head competitions and the school competition taking place across the weekend.

Alongside the fantastic line-up of top chefs from the region, the 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink will feature more than 90 producers, as well as BBC Radio Devon’s Festival Question Time, the Dart’s Farm ‘Food is Fun’ Teepees and demonstrations of tasty recipes in the West Country Bakery Theatre.

Throughout the weekend local musicians will entertain visitors in the Exeter Castle Courtyard. The three After Dark Music Festivals will take place on Friday 28th April (Headliner: The Locked Horns, supported by Stephens Scown’s Choir and Loose Cannons Band), Saturday 29th April (Headliner: Leigh Coleman Band, supported by Yazzy, Joanna Cooke and Celine Dos Santos) and Sunday 30th April (Headliner: Bill Ding and the Skyscrapers, supported by Alex Dobson and Roger Styles).

The Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is supported by Exeter City Council. The festival is a not for profit event. Tickets can be booked in advance and are available online.

For more information or to buy tickets visit:

The chef line up, with 6 Michelin stars between them, includes;

  • Michelin starred chef, Michael Caines, Lympstone Manor
  • Mitch Tonks, Rockfish
  • Matt Mason, The Jack in the Green
  • Matthew Peryer, Lewtrenchard Manor
  • Dez Turland, Saunton Sands
  • Darrin Hosegrove, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Peter Gorton
  • Harrison Brockington, South West Chef of the Year Winner Student/Apprentice
  • Daniel Gavriilidis, The PIG-at Combe
  • Guy Owen, The Idle Rocks
  • Michelin starred chef, Simon Hulstone, The Elephant
  • Michelin starred chef, Michael Wignall, Gidleigh Park
  • Thomas Hine, Lympstone Manor
  • Adam Little, Exeter Golf and Country Club
  • Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge, The Hand and Flowers
  • Michelin starred chef Paul Ainsworth, at No6
  • Elly Wentworth, Lucknam Park
  • Sue Stoneman, South West Winner Home Cook
  • Neil Haydock, Watergate Bay
  • James Mason, Kentisbury Grange
  • Angus McCaig, The Holt at Honiton
  • Liam Finnegan, The Castle Hotel
  • Emily Scott, The St Trudy Inn
  • Scott Paton, Borringdon Hall
  • Ian Webber, The Five Bells Inn
  • Rob Spencer, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Jamie Coleman, South West Winner Overall & Professional
  • Timothy Kendall, South West Winner Young Professional
  • Michelin starred chef Josh Eggleton, The Pony & Trap
  • Tom Williams-Hawkes, The Salutation Inn
  • Ethan Macdonald, South West Winner Junior Category
  • Bini Ludlow, Sweet Cumin
  • Ashley Wright, The Horn of Plenty
  • Michelin starred chef Mark Dodson, The Mason Arms
  • Jean-Phillippe Bidart, The Millbrook Inn

Recipe: Mussels with Chilli, Wine and Bay by Mitch Tonks

As well as dining out and attending events to see what local restaurants, suppliers and businesses have to offer, we do cook at home. Some nights are simpler affairs, with repetitive or traditional favourites like anyone enoys. Occasionally, some inspiration is needed!

With spring showing it’s face (sort’ve)  and the fact we are surrounded by beautiful coastlines, we thought something a bit lighter and fishy would give enough inspiration yet still a bit of comfort in the seasonal transition. So we asked Mitch Tonks for a couple of recipes and here is the first of 3 which will be live on a Wednesday for you to enjoy and perhaps plan a suprise meal for yourself or a loved one, or even take the pressure off entertaining some weekend guests. Enjoy – LH

Mussels with Chilli, Wine and Bay

A huge favourite at The Seahorse and Rockfish. I’m not a fan of cream in mussels just their own juices and a splash of wine is good for me. Try mussels from a few different places you will be amazed at how different they can taste and eat depending on the environment from which they are harvested. I prefer those grown at sea with small shells and big silky meats.

Serves 2 to start; you will need – 

Allow 350gm per person, ensure they are washed and beards pulled off

2 bay leaves

2 small dried birdseye chillis

1 shallot very finely chopped

Good knob of butter

Handful finely chopped parsley

Splash of wine

Clove garlic finely chopped

Tablespoon of Olive oil

 To Make

Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan and add the shallots and garlic to soften. Add the parsley and bay and crumble in the chilli.

Add the mussels and toss in a pan to coat the shells well. Add the wine, cover and allow the mussels to steam open, discard any that don’t. Pour into a bowl and serve with crusty, grilled or fried bread.

© Mitch Tonks


Support Good Game’s Crowdfunding campaign

One of our favourite local producers has kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help them kit out their new premises.  They’ve outgrown their premises at Clyst St Mary and are now looking at expanding the production side of the business at their new premises at Dart’s Farm in Clyst St George.

But for them to realise their dream, they need our help!  Head to their crowdfunding page here!

Good Game Crowdfunder

If you haven’t seen them on the telly yet, then head over to BBC iPlayer and watch the chaps on Back To The Land with Kate Humble, which we linked to a few days ago.

Pig and Pallet

Absurd Bird launches timed chicken eating challenge

Photos courtesy of Absurd Bird/Attention Media

Absurd Bird launches timed chicken eating challenge, with London blogger setting new time to beat.

The highly anticipated Absurd Bird Wings Challenge is now officially live across Absurd Bird restaurants in Spitalfields, Exeter and Bath – pitting contestants against the clock in a quest to eat 24 wings in record time. The quirky, Deep South inspired, restaurant brand hosted simultaneous launch events across its stores, with eager contestants battling it out to be the first to make it onto the leaderboard.


Only a handful of the 40 or so launch participants beat the time of 44 minutes, 45 seconds, set by Kate Ovens of the LADBible. Pre-launch, Kate filmed herself undertaking the Wings Challenge and with over 1.4 million views of her video there were plenty of entrants chomping at the bit to prove themselves.

A new record time was set on the launch night by Andre Fidorod, in London, taking him just 20 minutes and 14 seconds to devour all of his wings. Andre’s impressive time was closely followed by Tom Dibble with 24 minutes and 31 seconds and Matthew Saxton with 25 minutes and 17 seconds, both in Exeter. The winner in Bath, and the one and only contestant to finish their wings, was Toby Radnedge-Eddleston with 44mins and 20 seconds.


Some took it very seriously; arriving dressed in sports kit and headphones to get in the chicken-eating zone. Despite tactics and tricks, many were defeated by the sheer scale and size of the wings, but others smashed Kate Ovens time. The question is, will anyone beat Andre’s fantastic new record?

Absurd Bird are now encouraging more people to enter into the competition, keen to find the best of the best. Famed for their flavorsome and juicy chicken wings, the restaurants will now be running the challenge in store, throughout opening time. Customers visiting the restaurants will be able to take on the challenge, attempt to get their name on the top 10 leaderboard and get their wings for free – and of course respect and kudos for their chicken eating achievement!


Entrants will be able to pick from a combination of flavours including Crispy Fried Buttermilk, Buffalo, BBQ and Smoked Garlic Parmesan and Lemon.


When customers nominate themselves, their server will time how long it takes for them to make their way through the full bucket. Those who manage to beat the current 10th fastest  time will have their names added to the leaderboard, a Wings Challenge T Shirt, as well as receiving their wings for free. If participants fail to beat the record, they’ll have to pay the usual price of £24.

Calling all chefs! In fact, anyone with excellent recipes to share!

Eating Exeter is all about food in Exeter & Devon.  This isn’t just about food that other people make, but food that can be made at home using excellent ingredients from our local area.  We are looking for recipes to publish once a week as our ‘recipe of the week’ from residents of Devon or Exeter.

This could be the avenue you need to get in to food writing and build up a portfolio!

bf4c69a8-0ce3-4bd3-bc13-4732cbb92bf9If you live in Devon or Exeter and you’d be interested in contributing a couple or a whole ton of recipes that you have tried yourself (no scribbling out of a recipe book and taking credit!) then we want to hear from you.

If you already run a blog, then great! If you’ve never published online before, equally as excellent – we’ll do the legwork and prep the recipe for posting.

We really want recipes that are easy to replicate at home with ingredients that might be special to Exeter or Devon.  Anything in season and anything that isn’t too convoluted.

Payment is purely exposure on our social media pages and via the blog itself.  But you’ll be part of a growing community of foodies in a city that is important in the South West foodie circuit.

Please share this amongst your friends and on your social media!

Contact us:


Berloni opens their first showroom in the UK, and its in Exeter!

Berloni, the Italian kitchen brand, have recently opened their first UK store in the heart of Exeter, showcasing the very best in Italian design and the most up to date technology to be found in kitchens today.


Located on Roman Walk in Princesshay, Berloni has been manufacturing beautiful, functional kitchens at remarkable value for more than 50 years, bringing their premium quality, heritage and exclusive designs to many homes.

Stepping into the Exeter showroom is like walking into the ultimate kitchen design experience and the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Princesshay.  With a gorgeous example of a fully functioning Berloni kitchen complete with state of the art wi-fi kitchen equipment from Siemens – which even enables you to turn the oven on and order a coffee from your phone. Berloni is the go-to kitchen supplier when it comes to merging real quality with a punctual and efficient service.

The team in Exeter, Karin Bisogno and Janis Biernis, love what they do and have over 25 years working with furniture, remodeling, and interior decorating. Their depth of experience helps them design and create unique kitchens that work in harmony with the client’s style and space.


They are prepared to take on any project whether it’s a change of style to an existing space, or remodeling and creating a whole new space.  They support clients 100% of the time with advice and the management and logistics of the project.

On opening the store Karin said “We are so pleased to bring the Berloni brand to the South West for the first time and are delighted with our store and showroom in the heart of Exeter in Princesshay.  We are proud of the projects, creations and experiences we’ve created over the years and look forward to taking on many more in the region.”

To celebrate the opening, the store will be hosting a selection of exclusive events including cooking demonstrations over the spring.  In addition, the people of Exeter can pop into the store each Friday lunch time in March to try some Italian treats cooked in store, follow #freetreatsfriday on Twitter for more information.

Nestled between gourmet coffee shop Coffee#1 and new shop Castle Fine Art and close to Caroline Charles, Berloni kitchens have a fantastic location within Princesshay – Exeter’s premier shopping centre.

Beef and Branoc at The Rusty Pig – Tonight and tomorrow!

Beef & Branoc

Feasting at the Pig! Join them for a special celebration of the very best of beer and beef at Rusty Pig on March 17th and 18th, from 7pm to 9pm.

Featuring Dexter beef grass fed and farmed three miles from Rusty Pig at Raxhayes Farm. The meat is a distinctive traditional beef with marbling for flavour.

Served with Branoc Ale, a handcrafted traditional ale from Branscombe Brewery. The beer is made using Westcountry water and barley, and has flavours of light malt, some fruit, with a slightly bitter taste.

All you can eat, and all you can drink. £45 per person, booking essential. Call Rusty Pig on 01404 815580 to book.

Dinner at newly refurbished Circa 1924 – by Lauren Heath

Circa 1924 is already one of my favourites out of all the chains and independents. I have enjoyed their Express Lunch a few times (see my review here), taking friends with to show my ‘secret’ off. But this place should be far from a secret – it deserves to be found and filled with both diners and drinkers.

On this occasion I was invited for dinner; the interior has recently had a slight refurb to make the downstairs more diner focussed by removing the bar area, with upstairs fulfilling that part of the business with live music sessions every Friday. The upstairs is beautiful, with apex beamed ceilings, it’s cool yet cosy and a great place for a date or group gathering.

On a chilly Saturday night, we ventured out on the bus with our 6 year old son, so that we could enjoy a drink or two.

I always struggle to choose what to eat here; I would eat it all – it all sounds so delicious and there is a nice selection of meat, fish and vegetarian options. Of course, as important as the food is the drinks offering, which is extensive too – wines, soft drinks, craft beers and cocktails.I had no hesitation in choosing my favourite Espresso Martini and Steve made a special request for a Margherita.

So on to the food!

Whilst deciding, and due to having an ever -hungry child, we had some bread to start. It was lovely selection with some high quality butter and ewas consumed with gusto.

For starters I opted for Cured Loin Of Local Venison with Västerbotten cheese, wild mushrooms & lingonberry coulis whilst Steve chose the Crispy Softshell Crab with spring onion, house sweet chilli & wasabi. As ever, I had trouble choosing between the venison and the bisque so ‘blow it’, we order the Brixham Crab Bisque with butter poached king prawns & homemade bread as well to share.

The venison was soft and tasty, with a tang from the cheese and sweetness from the coulis. The softshell crab was beautifully crisp, texturally soft inside and sweet – really yummy. The bisque had a good amount of depth to it with two very plump and sweet prawns. A delightful start to our meal.

For mains I went for the Rump Of Local Lamb with roasted garlic purée,buckwheat pancakes & sour cream and Steve had his name on the Local Fillet Of Beef served with potato muffin, tenderstem broccoli & red wine jus. Our son enjoyed the starter softshell crab along with a side of skin on fries which he rated highly!

Both meats were cooked perfectly, were soft and full of flavour with no chewy bits in sight. Muffins and pancakes were light and all the elements worked well together. We were also enticed by the option of adding surf to our turf and enjoyed two fried oysters, which were absolutely delightful – something I have always wanted to try.

Last but certainly not least, it was dessert time! I opted for the Dark Chocolate Truffle Torte, vanilla-coffee mascarpone, honeycomb & blackberry coulis whilst savoury Steve was delighted by the chance to have Selection of Three Cheeses which came with a fantastic variety of crackers and crisp bread. My pud was rich dark chocolate, lots of crunchy textures, blobs of creamy loveliness and coulis for a bit of sharpness – and it was a work of art.

I may sound like a stuck record, but I do love the food here. It’s tasty, flavoursome, interesting, local, an independent and beautfully presented. The feel is casual and comfortable yet attentive. It’s ideal for groups or even a special evening.

My only small suggestion would be that, with the mains, perhaps a bit more starch is included as I was dining with a hungry man – yes you can order some extra sides but I guess at this price point you may not want to spend more on sides. The plus side to the food here is that is just so fresh, light and pleasing so you can manage 3 courses and you don’t go away feeling awfully stuffed.

Having written this after visiting a more premium restaurant further afield, at a similar price point, the quality of the food and cooking was very close and I do hope Circa 1924 achieves some recognition in future. But more important than any awards is that the locals (and visitors) support the restaurant and vote with their feet…and eat! Until next time Circa; this restaurant is firmly on my recommendation shortlist!


Circa 1924, 6 Northernhay Place, Exeter, EX4 3QJ.
Ph: 01392 438545

Online reservations:!make-a-reservation/cg3s

Devon food on the telly!

It seems like the rest of the world is realising how epic Devon is becoming as a hub of everything good when it comes to food we serve in restaurants and food produced by those businesses that reside here in our majestic county.

Pig and Pallet

I was dead excited to see Steve and Pete from Good Game with Kate Humble on ‘Back To The Land’ this evening on BBC 1.  Access it on iPlayer here

Since the guys set up shop, I’ve been a massive fan of their charcuterie and their wonderful restaurant The Pig and Pallet.  Read our review of The Pig and Pallet here.

Also included in the program is Bell & Loxton and their cold pressed Rape Seed oil which is worth seeing on many levels (I have always had a bottle on my shelf, it has such an exceptional taste) and The Dartmoor Shepherd, producers of Gourmet lamb reared from traditional Devon varieties.

River Exe Cafe

Then last week The River Exe Cafe was featured on Channel 4 in Michel Roux Jr’s Hidden Restaurants program.  Access it here on Channel 4’s catch-up service

Head chef Chris cooked up some Mussels cooked in Smoky Bacon and Cider, which Michel commented had been cooked to perfection.

The River Exe Cafe is opening very soon.  Pre-book your place as I bet this year is going to be a busy one for this unique Devon restaurant.

2017 Food Festival Dates for your diary!

We are very lucky in this county and beyond, to have such wonderful food and produce – what better way to experience all of this together than at a Food Festival!

Here’s a round up of the upcoming 2017 Food Festivals in Devon as well as a couple from  Cornwall. Click on the website links for further info or read our review of the previous year’s event for a feel of what you can expect. This page will be updated constantly if other events pop-up, so do come back to double check if you’re looking for an event to visit. (Updated 15/03/2017)


8th: Cullompton Springfest – Check their website for further info.

A food, craft and music festival; there will be a Farmer’s Market, plus a range of food producers selling their food products as well as cooked food to sell on the day. Local restaurant, The Bakehouse, will be hosting an Indian Cuisine night and there is a special meal at The Walronds on the night (ticket only), with a celebrity chef doing the honours.

8th – 9th: Budleigh Food and Drink Festival – Check their website for further info.

A festival spread out through Budleigh Salterton, with local drinks, food, produce,music and chef demos and even a Budleigh Master Chef final live for you to watch the action in the village hall!

28th – 30th: Q’fest BBQ Competition and festival – Check their website for further info.

New to the South West and driven by the increased interest in UK BBQ’ing, smoking and outdoor cooking, this BBQ competition can be entered into if you dare! For visitors there will be camping, products, demos, bouncy castles for the kids, beer and live music in the barn as well as the opportunity to taste some of the best BBQ in the country.

29th – 30th & 1st May: Exeter Food and Drink Festival – Check their website for further info. Last years write up: Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink 2016

In our opinion, the largest event in the South West and right here in Exeter centred around Exeter Castle. An excellent festival including evening music events, live music during the day, beer tent, kids cookery and activity tents, farm animals, plenty of food to eat, producers and no shortage of tasters – come hungry! Demo kitchen, chef’s Q&A, wine tasting as well as a VIP option with an extra room full of treats and a place to rest.

Exeter Food & Drink Festival

30th: Salcombe Crab Fest – Check out their website for further info.

A celebration of crab and seafood – with demos, crab picking tuition, commercial crab fishing talk, crab pot making, music, wine tasting and more.


1st: Exeter Food and Drink Festival – Check their website for further info.Last years write up: Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink 2016

See description above in April.

27th – 29th: River Cottage Spring Fair –Check their website for further info.

On the grounds of the famous River Cottage HQ at Axminster, this lovely festival is full of food, music and producers in a fantastic setting.

28th – 29th: Dartington Food Fair – Check their website for further info. Last years write up: Dartington Food Fair 2016

Held in the grounds of the Shops at Dartington, this great event includes a demo tent, large food producers tent, plenty of food to eat, along with a few kids activities. On top of that you can enjoy the deli, the kitchen shop, toy shop as well as the drinks shop! A great excuse to visit and get two in one!

Dartington Food Fair


2nd – 4th: Plymouth Flavour Fest – Check their website for further info.

Quite a large food festival spread out through Plymouth city centre. Food stalls, producers, drinks marquee and chef demo tent, including this years guest appearance from 2016 Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown.

3rd: Ottery St Mary Food and Families Festival – Check their website for further info.

Now in its 5th year, this event is aimed at foodies and all the family, encouraging healthy eating and showcasing local produce and restaurants. On Friday 2nd from 6pm, there will be Tap into Tapas where you can enjoy various small plates from local eateries but all in the Food Theatre Marquee. There will be demos from The Salutation Inn, The Pig at Combe, Exeter Cookery School, and The Samosa Lady. There” be kids activities in The Library,  Tickety Boo and The Institute.

17th – 18th: Crediton Food Festival – Check their website for further info.

Now in it’s 9th year, great for food stalls, music and demos.


30th:  Rockfish Crab Festival, Dartmouth South Embankment

The Rockfish Crab Festival is now in its 6th year, championed by restaurateur Mitch Tonks & co-hosted by Angela Hartnett, it celebrates all that is great about our British crab. Enjoy music, local crab, children’s crabbing competition & the best-dressed table competition – that’s the table not the guests! Bring bunting, table linen, flowers, candelabra, whatever you fancy.  Guaranteed fun & guaranteed weather-proofing with a marquee!  Tickets at


4th – 6th: The South West Coffee Festival –  Check their website for further info.

This inauguaral event, open to trade and baristas as well as the public and enthusiasts, the event will be held at Powderham Castle. If you love coffee…get yourself to this event! We have been given an exclusive level of discount off the already affordable ticket price:


6th: Pen’Grillie’ BBQ Festival – Check out their website for further info.

Held at Pentillie Castle, to the east of Plymouth, last year’s inaugural festival was a great event of BBQ competition, live music, chilli eating competition, kids activity tent, food and product stalls all in a beautiful setting.

Pen’Grillie’ 2016


2nd: Nourish Festival, Bovey Tracey – Check their website for further info. 2015’s write up by Editor, Chris, can be read here.

Bovey Tracey’s Fore Street gets transformed for this music, food, craft festival and Devon Street Food Awards with a new addition for 2017…Nourish Gin Festival! There will also be two evenings of concerts.

3rd: Clovelly Lobster and Crab Festival – Check their website for further info.

A unique and beautiful place, Clovelly celebrates its famous lobsters and crabs sustainably caught by its fishermen with a great day out for all the family. This year is its 10th Anniversary.

9th: Topsham Beer and Bacon Festival

This little festival is not all fancy and big – it’s perfectly formed and organised by the guys at The Pig and Pallet/Good Game. A beer tent, some bacon and pork based food stalls, a side loader truck opened up for the live music to perform on, and right in front of The Lighter Inn on Topsham Quay. If you’re local, be sure to pop down for a good time.

9th: Ashburton Food & Drink Festival – Check their Facebook page for more info.

A full day of local foodie delights and entertainment.

16th – 17th: Plymouth Seafood Festival – Check their website for further info.

The website states “The Barbican and Sutton Harbour will come alive on Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 September, with a celebration of locally sourced and sustainably caught, high quality seafood.”

With Plymouth having the second largest fish market in the UK, events spread across this harbourside city includes cookery theatre with well known regional chefs, food stalls, crabbing competition, and a cardboard boat race amongst other activities!

17th: 1st ever Rockfish Crab Festival Day at Sutton Harbour, during Seafood Week in Plymouth – Check their website for further info.

Live music, magic, a special crab menu for the day, all hosted by restaurateur and chef Mitch Tonks. We’ll also be distilling the first ever Plymouth Uni Gin, a recipe made jointly with students at from Plymouth University’s Hospitality and Catering Department – we’ll have a VW campervan parked outside distilling the gin throughout the day so be there for a historic first taste! No tickets for this event but pre-booking tables advised.


25th – 31st: Taste of the Teign and Teignmouth Harbour Festival – Check their website for further info.

A week long food event that will include Smokeinteignhead, a newly added BBQ competition. Various events are held and venues and include Tea on the Teign, jam making workshops, an evening in the orchard, Fry Up Friday, street food market, farmers market and culminating with a food fair.


1st – Taste of the Teign

See above info in September.

7th – 8th: Powderham Food Festival Check their website for further info.

Last years write up: Powderham Food Festival 2016.

Held inside Powderham Castle and around the beautiful grounds, this fabulous festival includes a Theatre of Fire and Smoke, food stalls, producers, drinks, items for sale, free cookery classes for kids by Fun Kitchen, demo kitchen with local great chefs and some live music.

Powderham Food Festival

20th – 22nd: Dartmouth Food Festival. Check their website for further details.

Held all along the harbour with plenty of food stalls, products and demos to be enjoyed as well as special offers in restaurants.


Some of the above events we have visited and some we haven’t so it’s a mix of knowledge, opinion and information gathered from the websites. Please check websites or organisers directly regarding prices, parking and accessibility. If you know of any events that we have missed, please feel free to tweet or DM us on Twitter and Facebook.

River Cottage announces Spring Food Fair dates – 27th, 28th, 29th May 2017

River Cottage has announced dates for its Spring Food Fair – held across the late May Bank Holiday. This hugely popular event is a real treat for the senses and a must-visit for foodies and gardeners. It’s a chance to get the family down to River Cottage, to explore the farm nestled in gorgeous East Devon and to indulge in the sights, sounds and tastes of spring in the heart of the Devon countryside.


The Fair is packed full of activities and family fun – from chef demos, artisan food stalls, kids’ workshops, talks and live music to garden and foraging tours from River Cottage foraging guru John Wright.

Little ones go free and will be thoroughly entertained throughout with a huge choice of child- friendly activities including falconry displays, donkey rides, felting and lucet braiding workshops, animal area, candle making, demonstrations by local craftsmen, bubble workshops, face painting, skittles and hula hooping – to name but a few.

Grab the chance to take a peek behind the scenes at River Cottage HQ and – new for 2017, visitors can enjoy a sit down meal in the pop up restaurant, located in the famous farmhouse itself. The special Farmhouse Feasts feature a delicious menu designed using fresh, seasonal and local produce. River Cottage street food will join forces with local producers to make sure no-one goes hungry as they enjoy the festivities. As well as delicious dishes from the street food stands, there will also be a fully licensed bar serving local ciders, beers, wines and exciting seasonal cocktails.


A team of experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips and seeds of gardening wisdom throughout the three-day weekend. The Main Stage will be packed with cookery demonstrations from guest chefs, while green-fingered visitors can head to the Garden Stage to listen to expert talks on a huge variety of topics related to horticulture.

River Cottage has confirmed an exciting line-up of chefs. Taking to the Main Stage are Gill Meller, Matthew Fort, Signe Johansen, Tom Hunt, Mark Hix, Louise Gray, Naomi Devlin and Rachel De Thample to name a few. Organic kitchen gardener, chef and writer, Stephanie Hafferty will speak on the Garden Stage with Charles Dowding, market gardener, author, teacher and ‘no dig’ advocate alongside River Cottage’s head Gardener Will Livingstone and many other garden experts. Talks hosted on the Garden Stage will cover all aspects of organic, sustainable and unique horticultural methods including; seed-saving, biodynamics, market gardening, no dig, soil and compost and much more.

Those keen to learn something new can book onto one of the popular masterclasses.


Starting at just £15 these include Bread & Butter from scratch in an hour, Wild Cocktails and Super Salads and Ferments, whilst kids can learn the secrets behind Cookies and Doughnuts.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the website: River Cottage is running a free park and ride service to and from the Fair or add to the experience with VIP parking onsite available for just £5 per car.

Photos courtesy of River Cottage/OneVoice PR

Be one of the first to experience Lympstone Manor, Devon with 40% discount

Lympstone Manor, the most eagerly awaited hotel launch in 2017, is offering the limited opportunity to experience the hotel and restaurant at 40% off during its soft opening period from the 20th March to the 2nd April.

This soft opening will set the stage for Lympstone Manor’s grand opening, which follows on Monday 3rd April, and promises to be an outstanding showcase of the hotel.

Michael Caines MBE, Chef Patron and one of the UK’s most acclaimed chefs, has spent the past two years personally overseeing the complete transformation of the Georgian grade II listed mansion overlooking the Exe estuary into a luxury country house hotel and restaurant.

Dining at Lympstone Manor will be an exceptional experience in every sense. Michael will express his vision of modern British cuisine that is fresh, seasonal, original and exciting. Utilising the bounty of the Exe estuary, East Devon and the South West, his cuisine will be matched by wines selected from a world class cellar that contains over 600 bins.

Guests can choose from seven distinctive room categories including estuary suites, garden suites and standard guest rooms – all of which are designed in hues to mirror the surrounding estuary.

Heron Bedroom 3

The soft launch period will allow a limited number of guests to experience the hotel at 40% discount (room and food menus). This will enable those fortunate to get a booking (hotel as well as non-residential dining) to enjoy the Lympstone Manor experience, while allowing the team to train under the experienced senior management team.

To be one of the first to experience Lympstone Manor, call their reservations team on 01395 202040 or email

*The Lympstone Manor soft launch offer*

Lympstone Manor are offering guests 40% off rooms as well as the food bill at lunch and dinner for residents and non-residents. Food offer is for the food bill only excluding drinks. Offer runs from 20 March – 2 April 2017 inclusive.

Chococo’s Easter Collection

Award-winning, artisan chocolatier Chococo presents its handmade range of fun Easter eggs. Featuring a collection of carefully crafted single origin milk and dark chocolates eggs studded inside with exciting surprises, chocolate lovers can choose from its iconic Dinosaur Egg, a space-age Robot Egg or the highly tempting Honeycombe Egg. Created with wit and vigour, the whole range comes presented in its striking packaging.

Carefully developed by the team, led by founders Claire and Andy Burnet, all the eggs are freshly handmade in Purbeck, Dorset, from fine origin chocolate from Colombia, Madagascar (dark chocolate 67% cocoa) and Venezuela (milk chocolate 43% – which is very high in cocoa solids and lower in sugar). Chococo has always been a firm believer in working with chocolate high in cocoa solids and low in sugar, as it believes in giving its customers a fine chocolate, not a sugar, experience.

All the items listed below are available online on its and from Chococo’s three Chocolate Houses in Swanage, Dorset; Winchester, Hampshire; and the NEW Exeter, Devon, location. Alternatively you can call 01929 421777 to order some Easter goodies.

The 2017 Easter Collection includes:


Seaside Studded Egg (£10.95/175g) – With Chococo’s close proximity to the Dorset coast, it seems only fitting that for this year it has a 67% Madagascan origin dark chocolate egg studded on the inside with seahorses, sea shells and starfish. This egg is dairy-free and is also suitable for vegans.


C181 Robot Studded Egg (£10.95/175g) – The Chococo C181 Robots have become very popular and so they have been granted their own egg. On the outside, this 43% Venezuelan origin milk chocolate egg is hand-decorated with a starburst of edible silver shimmer, think a space vortex pattern! On the inside you will find two milk chocolate C181 robots, dusted with edible gold shimmer, waiting to be enjoyed.


Dorset Dinosaur Studded Egg (£10.95/175g) – An iconic Chococo Easter egg that is both popular with children and adults. ‘Why is there a Dinosaur in an Easter egg?’ you ask. Well Chococo was founded in Swanage, Dorset, which is on the UK’s Jurassic Coast. Inside this 43% Venezuelan origin milk chocolate egg avid paleontologists can find two mini dark & white chocolate dinosaurs and ammonites. The outside is marbled in dark and white chocolate to create the effect of a marbled dinosaur egg.


Heavenly Honeycombe Studded Eggs (£10.95/175g) – This popular, scrumptious egg comes in two formats – a 43% Venezuelan origin milk chocolate version and a 67% Madagascan origin dark chocolate version. Both are decorated on the inside with large chunks of Chococo’s handmade honeycombe. The crunchy honeycombe is made with local Dorset honey from Field Honey Farms, based in Swanage in Dorset. The milk chocolate egg comes dusted on the outside with edible gold shimmer and the dark chocolate egg is decorated on the outside with edible red shimmer.



Butterfly Studded Egg (£10.95/175g) – One for lovers of springtime and milk chocolate, this 43% Venezuelan origin milk chocolate egg comes with milk chocolate butterflies studded on the inside. It is hand-decorated with hatches of white and dark chocolate.

Final date for all Easter orders to ensure delivery before the Easter weekend is Monday 11th April 2017.

Laithwaites Wine Tasting in Exeter on 25th March – Mercure Rougemont

Here at Eating Exeter, we like wine.  We prefer tasting it and exploring new varieties than drinking it in any great quantity (not that the editor is a lightweight…honesty) so when a wine tasting event visits our fair city, it always causes a great deal of excitement.

I recommend you read through the post if you’re a wine fan. We also have a little Eating Exeter exclusive deal on tickets!


Family owned wine merchant Laithwaites Wine will make their annual trip to Exeter, on the 25th March at the Rougemont Hotel – hosting two wine tasting events, pouring a range of over 30 wines in the heart of the city.

Laithwaite’s Wine was founded in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite drove a van of Bordeaux wine to England to share with family and friends. Laithwaite’s has grown to become the UK’s largest home-delivery wine merchant, yet remains family owned and still gives pride of place to smaller producers.

The Laithwaite’s wine team tastes over 40,000 wines a year before selecting the best buys for customers. Laithwaite’s offers 1,500 wines from 22 countries, ranging in price from £4.99 up to £1,200 a bottle and all covered by a 100% guarantee of enjoyment.

Laithwaite’s Wine is the only UK wine merchant to win the ServiceMark accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service and offers a complimentary Wine Advisor service.


There will be the latest customer favourites and new discoveries from around the world. Taste big reds, crisp whites and refreshing roses as well as a selection of sparkling and even a few dessert wines.


Event ticket includes:

–  A glass of chilled sparkling wine on arrival – the perfect way to begin your tasting!

–   Taste over 30 delicious wines from around the world.

–    It’s a chance to meet the passionate producers who will be happy to share their stories behind the bottles.

–    Educated guidance from our friendly team who will be on hand to help pour and answer any questions you may have.

–    All orders placed at the tasting will benefit from an exclusive event discount and FREE delivery, when you order more than 6 bottles!

Tickets are just £25 per person and include all of your wine samples, exclusive tasting glass and wine brochure listing all the wines on taste that will be sent in advance.

What is involved in this price?

A ticket to the Laithwaites Exeter tasting includes opportunities to taste and re-taste over 30 wines and a chance to chat to many of the producers of the wines on show as well as our knowledgeable Laithwaites staff who are always keen to talk about their products!  Guests will also be sent a comprehensive programme with a list of the wines and tasting notes for each of them prior to the event. They will also be given a tasting glass on arrival which is theirs to keep and use throughout the session. On top of all of this we also have event exclusive offers for them to take advantage of if they order wine at the event such as free delivery (usually £7.99), discounts on the wines plus free gifts when ordering a certain number of bottles.


What’s the itinerary for the day?

We will be hosting two sessions, one from 1.30pm – 3.30pm and another from 6.00pm – 8.00pm. Both sessions will have the same wine selection and features but the timings aim to suit customer’s plans. Some chose to come along to the earlier session and head off to enjoy the rest of the day whereas others chose to come along to evening session to start of an evening possibly heading off for dinner or further plans afterwards.

The format is very informal and relaxed. Customers are given a tasting glass on arrival and are then free to make their way around the tables in any order that they like, returning to any that they wish to. We also like to get them involved in voting for their favourite wine of the show, which is announced at the end of the session as well as a prize draw.

This event will also include the opportunity to take a virtual reality tour of our very own winery in Bordeaux, Le Chai au Quai. Customers can pop on the headset and be transported to the banks of the Dordogne to hear from Tony Laithwaite himself and winemaker Mark Hoddy about the wine making process.

Will there be any special guests attending the event?

We will be joined by representatives from wineries across the globe including; Bodegas Manzanos from Rioja in Spain, famous Penfolds from Australia, Insight Wines of New Zealand who specialise in single vineyard varieties as well as world-renowned Laurent Perrier who will be offering a selection of show-stopping Champagne.

As well as wine we will also be welcoming local food producers Somerset Charcuterie who will have a selection of produce to sample and purchase.

And to top it all off we will be joined by jazz band ‘So What’ who will be providing the perfect background music to the event.

To book your tickets, call 03330 148 200 or visit today.

Enter the code EXETER241 when you select tickets in multiples of two and to get 50% off the cost.




Absurd Bird Launches Wings Challenge Eating Competition

Photos courtesy of Absurd Bird/Attention Media

The unique chicken restaurant, Absurd Bird, is launching an Absurd Bird Wings Challenge across its stores, on Monday 13th of March at 6:30pm. This will see customers attempt to eat 24 chicken wings as quickly as possible in a timed eating contest!


To add to the excitement, Kate Ovens from The Lad Bible is taking on the challenge this weekend, ahead of the launch date, hoping to set a show-stopping time to beat on the night.

The Deep South inspired restaurants, famed for their flavorsome and juicy chicken wings, will be welcoming participants to the launch night, daring them to ‘beat the bucket and be on the board’, with the winner of the best time at each event crowned Absurd Bird Wings Challenge Champion.

Kate, from Lad Bible, explains: “24 wings may not sound like a big deal, but I have had Absurd Bird wings before and they pretty meaty. I’m determined to set a bad ass time and do The Lad Bible proud. Watch out next week for the video of me getting stuck into the wings!”


Following the launch events on Monday 13th March customers visiting any of the Absurd Bird stores will be able to take on the challenge to beat the record, make it onto the leaderboard and get the wings for free – and of course respect and kudos for their chicken eating achievement!
Mark Hall, Absurd Bird Operations Director, says: “We think the Wings Challenge is a really fun idea and is the perfect fit for Absurd Bird. It’s a brand with a sense of humor and we think our customers will have a lot of fun with it!”

When customers choose to take on the Wings Challenge, their waiter or waitress will time how long it takes for them to make their way through the full bucket. Those who manage to beat the record, will have their names added to the leader board as well as receiving their wings for free. If participants fail to beat the record, they’ll have to pay the usual price of £24!


Mark adds: “The Lads Bible will be back for the launch night to see if they can hold onto their title, but the different stores are already getting competitive, seeking out chicken eaters they think will not only beat The Lad’s Bible, but will win their restaurant the overall best time on launch night. It really is going to be a showdown not to miss!”

Absurd Bird has started releasing warm-up tips and tricks to help challengers give it their best shot but have warned that it isn’t for the feint hearted.
There are currently four Absurd Bird stores, which can be found in Spitalfields and Soho, London and Exeter and Bath, which both opened in 2016.