The meal provided in this review was gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.
Holy Smoke! A Smokehouse in Exeter…. oh yes! If Moink Balls, LollyPops and Burnt Ends mean anything to you, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Zita’s Bar & Smokehouse is located in the centre of Exeter, in Bartholomew Street.
Look for the large chimney of the original Malthouse, or if you’ve a sensitive nose and the wind is blowing in the right direction, you might be able to catch some smokey aromas. Being a keen BBQist myself, I was lucky enough to peak through the kitchen and see their large Bradley Smoker, on and loaded with wood discs and a tray of sausages inside being tickled with smoke. Now that’s a great sight to see.
Once inside, Zita’s has a cosy American diner vibe full of illuminated signs, nostalgic posters and artefacts. Added to that some upbeat music and we could be in South America….
We were there for dinner and fortunately we arrived hungry! The menu is pretty comprehensive, with plenty of meaty treats to choose from.
And Zita’s is not purely for carnivores; vegans, vegetarians and gluten free diners are catered for too. Options include Vegan BBQ pulled jackfruit served in a soft white bun with chips and vegan slaw, or a vegan sharing tray of charred corn on the cob, pulled jackfruit, cauliflower steak, stuffed pepper, salad, chips, pickles, vegan slaw and roasted red pepper houmous.
If you have a big appetite, then you might wish to go for some starters, but we went straight in for the Smoke House Feasting Tray for two people and upgraded it to include onion rings, pulled pork, deep fried pickles and charred corn on the cob.
Also on the menu were a choice of handmade burgers, a few steak dishes, pie and catch of the day (fish). There is a wide choice of sides, from BBQ beans, pit rice, dirty rice, slaw, dips and last but not least, chips. This should be enough to get your tummies rumbling and lips licking.
The Feasting Tray had all my favourite BBQ foods on it – Moink Balls (meat balls wrapped in bacon and coated in a spicy bbq rub & sauce), Beef Brisket, BBQ Ribs, Lollipop Chicken (drumsticks) Smoked Sausages, thick cut chips, pickles, house slaw, salad and a selection of dips.
Our tray arrived loaded with food. Now it’s not fine dining, and although there is cutlery, it is customary to use your fingers, which of course we did! It looked great, smelt great and tasted great too. We enjoyed it all.
My favourite was the ribs, very tender and meaty and the moink balls were quite spicy which made my tongue tingle. My dining buddy liked the chicken lollipops best…. but the chips! We both thought they were the best chips we have eaten.;they were thick cut and still had the skins on, hot to eat too (check out Zita’s social media posts for #realchips – the campaign for real chips).
There are plenty of serviettes and wet wipes available to mop the dribbles of sauce from your chin and your fingers if you don’t manage to lick them clean!
The Feasting Tray was plenty for two people – we didn’t have room for dessert…you might! I’ll be going back to have a handmade burger and some more of those #realchips!
You could pop into Zita’s for lunch or dinner, or call in after work for cocktails, a pint, or a glass of wine or two. They have a function room for large groups too. You can even bring some smokey goodness to your own home with the whole menu available for takeaway for 20% off.
It’s worth checking out Zita’s social media posts for current offers on both dining and drinks.
Zita’s Bar & Smokehouse, The Old Malthouse, Bartholomew Street, Exeter, EX4 3BG