10 Questions with Andy & Chef Al Morgan from The City Gate Hotel, in Exeter

We recently had a cracking meal (read our feature here) at The City Gate, a hotel & gastropub in Exeter which recently introduced a smashing new menu.

The City Gate Hotel stands above many other brewery-owned pubs due to its unwavering commitment to utilizing local and British ingredients, ensuring a fresh and authentic dining experience. Its beer garden is one of the nicest in Exeter – also for lighter bites it is home to The Shack which is now open – providing a delightful outdoor space for patrons to enjoy their drinks and meals.

Furthermore, The City Gate Hotel hosts a variety of events each week to entertain its guests, including open mic nights and quizzes. These engaging activities create a vibrant atmosphere, fostering a sense of community and entertainment for everyone. But let’s not forget the hidden gem of this establishment: the boutique rooms available for a luxurious getaway whether you live near or very far away. Located just a short walk away from the heart of Exeter and the bustling High Street, as well as the charming independent shops along Fore Street and the River Exe, these rooms offer a convenient and comfortable accommodation option for visitors.

As it had been some time since we last interviewed a business, we sat down (well actually over email) with General Manager Andy Phillips and Head Chef Al Morgan of The City Gate Hotel, and asked them a series of ten thought-provoking questions. Our aim was to gain insight into the unique qualities and distinguishing factors that make The City Gate Hotel such a lovely place to visit for a stay, meal or just a swift pint!

Keep your eyes peeled to our Dining Devon socials as there will be a big announcement on Friday!

1. How long have you worked at the City Gate? Where were you before?

Andy – I’ve been here nearly 5 months now. I started in Michelin starred establishments and worked 10 years in France, I have worked for other breweries in the past.

Chef Al – Nearly 5 years. I worked at Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian and the Hampton by Hilton Hotel before starting at Youngs. Before that I was working in hotels around Bristol.

2. What is your ethos when it comes to creating your menus, do you have autonomy to create one that is different from other Young’s Pubs?

Andy – We are set only on certain products but even then it is made in-house, fresh, seasonal and British! We have full autonomy on the rest of the menu. This is debated between me and Alistair, lots of tasting goes in 😂

Chef Al – I always look at what seasonal ingredients are available firstly and then work a dish out from what is available. The more local the better. We have a few pub classics that all Youngs pubs have on their menu but after that we can create whatever we want.

3. What do you feel makes The City Gate stand out from other places in Exeter?

Andy – Fresh, Seasonal and British food! Not many places cook with such great products! We also use local breweries for ales, no tie to what we can use. We are free with the backing of a passionate food and beer loving company such as Youngs. All this with a wonderful hotel above, great garden and great team!

Chef Al – The variety of offerings that we have. You can come to The City Gate for anything from a formal three course meal in the conservatory, a dirty burger in The Shack or a party in the cellar bar.

4. We had such a flavoursome enjoyable meal. Who supplies your meat and fish?

We use local Exmoor Beef and local Devon caught fish.

5. Can you say a bit about the history of the City Gate Hotel?

It was a cotton mill back in the day, all this topped with it being the gate to the city of Exeter. It’s seen a lot of history, a fire, cotton spinning and now a wonderful hotel. We even have Roman lava rock in the garden!

6. And it’s not just a hotel and restaurant, can you tell me a bit about what is downstairs?

We have the most wonderful cellar bar, this is used mainly for amazing events! We can cater for lots of parties, weddings and meetings which is bookable.

7. We’ve had the coronation but what events are taking place at The City Gate are you particularly looking forward to throughout summer?

Open air cinema with homemade hot dogs and popcorn, music, comedy club and supper clubs! We have it all, topped with our wonderful garden!

8. Can you say a bit about your ale selection? It’s not just Young’s that you have on draft is it?

No, no the beauty of Youngs is the freedom of choosing local ales! We have Hanlons, Otter Brewery and we are in talks with a few more to get the bar full of local products.

9. Is your beer garden the best beer garden in Exeter?

Simply – Yes! All year round and heated!

10. I saw you also do afternoon teas! Jam or cream first?

Andy – Definitely cream first! Not even a battle to be had 😂!
Chef Al – 100% cream first

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View their rooms here – View their menus here


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