Byron Burgers, Princesshay by Chris Gower

26 Bedford St, Princesshay, Exeter EX1 1GJ – T:@byronhamburgers 01392 433340

We visited Byron Burgers a couple of years ago when it first opened in Princesshay.  It was quite delightful; the burgers were meaty and the beer was crafty & beery.

Byron Burgers is a name that many burger fans will recognise instantly as being a name synonymous with gourmet burgers and that subtle Americana.

It was started in 2007 by Tom Bing and has grown exponentially ever since.  In 2007, Princesshay itself was built too… fancy that!

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It was an enjoyable evening but we hadn’t been back since.  We were recently invited to give Bryon Burgers another go as part of the Princesshay’s Summer Eats promotion which is worth checking out.

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One of the things that I admire about Byron Burgers particularly is the interior.  Big windows give diners a vista across a busy precinct, perfect for people watching and ensuring lots of natural light in to the restaurant.

The first thing I did when we sat down at our window seat was to order a Brooklyn Beer. With the subtle Americana theme, comes the urge to fully embrace the USA-ness of Byron. I’d had this hankering for some sort of American lagery beer thing, so this was a perfect choice.

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Tori went for a Coke (we’ll let her off as she wasn’t feeling up to scratch that evening).  A quick perusal of the menu shows an attractive offering for burger lovers.

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We both went for The Cheese which is Byron’s ‘better-than-standard’ cheesy offering.

CHEESSSSE
Byron Cheese, shredded iceberg, pickles, onion, American Mustard and Byron sauce combined with sides of Bacon and Cheese Fries and Sweet Potato Fries were a perfect set of foods.

We really enjoyed the meal and would recommend The Cheese as a burger worth going for with its Bryon Cheese and in-house sauce making up a big part of the flavour.

Byron Burgers is still a firm favourite of Exeter’s diners, and despite the competition from other burger chains is still as popular as ever.  For a subtle dose of Americana and a chance to win a prize by spotting all of the cows in the restaurant, pop down next time you have that burger urge!

This meal was paid for by Byron Burgers. The opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.

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Win a Wagamama Cookbook!

Inspired by the delicious dishes sampled at wagamama? Enter our competition to win the wagamama cookbook which includes fresh and nutritious recipes suitable for meat-eaters, seafood lovers and vegetarians alike. There are 120 recipes to choose from, all made with fresh, flavoursome and nutritional ingredients. Perfect for cooking for one person, or friends at a dinner party.

For your chance to win the wagamama cookbook, simply enter the competition as below.

Terms & Conditions

  • In order to enter, retweet the pinned post on Twitter or like, share and comment on the pinned post on Facebook
  • Closing date midnight 31.07.2017
  • Prize is the wagamama cookbook
  • Open to residents of the UK aged over 18
  • Prize is non-transferable or amendable
  • No cash alternative
  • Additional costs incurred are payable by the winner
  • Winner will be required to collect the prize from a given location in Exeter

Good luck!

Twitter Competition time! Win £50 Princesshay Eats gift card!

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?

A. Italian

B. American

C. Japanese

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.

princesshay comp (7)

Terms and Conditions

 One winner will be selected at random

 Princesshay Gift card valid for 12 months

 Redeemable in Princesshay only

 No cash alternative

 Non-refundable

  • Closing date: midnight 17th August

The Rum and Crab Shack – by Lauren Heath

The Rum and Crab Shack, 15 Catherine Street, Exeter, EX1 1EU
http://rumandcrabshack.com/  @rum_shackexeter

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So the city’s newest addition is a welcome one I’d say. You can find many types of restaurants in Exeter – French, English, Italian, Spanish, Asian – mostly varieties of either meat or vegetarian, but very few restaurants specialise in seafood.  Enter The Rum and Crab shack! With ‘crab from here and rum from over there’, this St Ives born restaurant is the brain child of Chris McGuire and Neythan Hayes who have had their Cornwall shack established since 2012. Like any good idea, it was decided over a drink – rum, funnily enough! In the midst of the St Ives building work, and not quite being ready over the New Year, they instead opened a pop-up rum bar over the long weekend – and a ‘marriage’ was born.

Exeter’s The Rum and Crab Shack can be found at the rear of House of Fraser, by the Almshouse ruins, in place of The Milkmaid.

I was invited along in their first week to try out some dishes at lunch time. I will admit, I am picky with crab but the menu boasts prawn and lobster items so I was happy to oblige.  Of course, the test with anything you are a bit fussy about is to try it and if it is good they must be doing something right.

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The building is essentilly of two halves, almost identical in layout to their St Ives first-born, so Chris and Neythan knew it was the right building for them. It is naturally split into a restaurant area, with a few tables outside and then the bar area. The decor is industrial seaside. Not in your face or full of nautical stripes, boats and seagulls (we have enough of those blighters in the city thanks) but nice leather seated booths with dark wooden tables,  a mix of colourful metal and wooden chairs, heavy seafaring rope lighting, exposed brick walls and metal bar frontage. All that is missing is the sea view – but you can’t have it all!

I spoke with co-owner Chris, who is currently overseeing their 2nd baby here in Exeter. He was really passionate about their business and aims and, once settled, would be looking to source the seafood from Devon suppliers for the Exeter branch if possible.

The rums on offer have origins including Venezuela, Canary Islands, Mauritius, Cuba and Australia to name a few. One rum out of their huge selection is made by them – Dead Man’s Fingers; using an imported base rum, they distill it fairly quickly and store it for a few months before it is ready to serve and it boasts flavours of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. They are already supplying Eden Project with their small batch house rum and St Austell are in the process of stocking it in some of their bars. The Dead Man’s Finger cocktail was recommended to me as a must-try so I ‘bit their fingers off’ and said let’s go for it!  I must admit, it was delicious and I would definitely have it again; it was smooth with all the flavours singing in harmony.

So…a menu full of seafood options put in front of an indecisive seafood lover who struggles to decide even at the sandwich counter (I can’t help it, I love ALL food)! In the end I opted for the Rum and Crab Soup – fresh crab and tomato bisque finished with their favourite rum (£4.95), the Popcorn Shrimp served with a Creole dipping sauce (£5.95) and then a Crab Taco served with a coriander salsa (£9.95).

The soup was smooth, a deep maroon colour and tasted sweet and rich, almost with a marzipan hue (odd as that sounds, it’s the only flavour I could think of that described what I was tasting; it was delicious!).  It was served with some lovely fresh bread and was a great size.

The prawns were clearly breadcrumbed in house in what looked like panko style breadcrumbs, scattered with herbs and deep fried. They were the plumpest prawns I have had in a while. I added a little tobasco to the dip to liven it up even more as I do love a bit of heat.

The crab taco was a great size serving. If, like me, you were struggling to decide what to have, you could certainly share this dish. The taco’s were sat on a clever taco rack, and on top of the lettuce base it was filled with beautifully sweet crab meat laced with coriander, topped with chilli’s, spring onion, cucumber, rasish and sweetcorn and some sort of dressing. It was very fresh, with plenty of crunch. I ate it as a whole, as well as forking some of the crab out to enjoy it on its own – it was so soft and sweet, as it should be and I felt the quantity of crab was certainly fair.

ee-recommendsA great first impression; I look forward to returning en famille for the rest of my seafood loving clan to put the menu to the test. Other options include soft shell crab burger, crab or lobster mac ‘n cheese, steamed mussels and jambalaya. For meat fans, there are Dead Man’s Finger coated ribs, spatchcock chicken and fillet steak. There are childrens options and some gluten free options too.

And if you are not a seafood fan then perhaps pop in for an evening drink from their wine, mocktail, cocktail or rum menu. Even with the great options already in the city, The Rum and Crab Shack has added another string to city’s bow – look at all those rums…taxi!

Carluccio’s – Cheese and Wine, Deli and Dine – by Lauren Heath

Carluccio’s, Princesshay, Bedford Street, Exeter, EX1 1GJ

Tel: 01392 410492, @carluccios, www.carluccios.com

I was recently invited to Carluccio’s in Exeter’s Princesshay for a cheese and wine evening; I like cheese and wine a lot, but this really had my husband’s name all over it – and he was even more delighted than usual…I hoped it wouldn’t disappoint.

On arrival we were warmly greeted by a member of staff and then we were introduced to our tutor for the evening, Stefanie. It turns out Stefanie is no ordinary employee; she has enjoyed being Exeter’s deli manager for the past 3 ½  years and, having studied both Italian and food, loves that she can bring her two passions together in this role.
She has visited Italy twice thanks to Carluccio’s, and has met and seen where a lot of the products in the deli come from. She also teaches other regional staff from a base near Bristol so she clearly knows her stuff.

If she isn’t available to serve you, don’t worry as Carluccio’s also ensure all their staff are trained well enough to be able to help deli customers, and of course the restaurant customers too as you would expect.

We settled down to a table near the kitchen; it has a lovely large opening so you can see what the chefs are up to, to some degree. We each chose a wine off the menu, both going for the Carluccio’s exclusive but in red for Steve and white for myself. Both were very nice wines; we shared a 3rd glass of their special red which was a delight – full of flavour, but light. Sweet on the nose with flavours of honey, black pepper and cherry.

For a Thursday evening, I noted how busy the restaurant was (they say Thursday is the new Friday right?) but it had a great ambience to it, with staff moving around without fuss and everything seemed to be happening smoothly around us. It’s larger than you think actually, and had perfect level of lighting, low enough for cosiness but not too low you couldn’t see what was on your plate.

Then a beautiful cheese board was presented. …Steve’s eyes lit up. He had to wait a tiny bit longer whilst Stefanie explained her background and the fact that Carluccio’s used to do taster events but this went on the back burner a little. With the current foodie buzz that is happening everywhere and people becoming even more aware of provenance, quality and impressing at home, Carluccio’s are planning to do mini events again whereby you can come along and try a selection of cheeses and possibly wines or olives in a relaxed atmosphere and chat with fellow attendees as well as learning about the products.

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Along with our tasters, we had a useful info sheet that was only partly filled in, leaving room for your own notes as well as a map of the region so Stefanie could point out where they were from.

Right…time to dive into the cheese fest. Amongst the 5 cows cheeses on the board we tried creamy Taleggio from the Lombardy region, which has an edible skin, is square in shape, melts well and is ‘young’ (less than 40 days old). Then a Fontina from the Valle D’Aosta region; this is a protected cheese and only 70 or so dairies can make it. It had a lovely nutty flavour and becomes stretchy when warmed so it is good for fondues and delicious with speck ham. The most interesting and unusual cheese was Ubriaco (meaning drunk); this special cheese has a washed rind using skins and seeds of the prosecco grape which is an excellent use of a by-product. I found this totally different; it gripped the tongue and then exuded a hue or aroma in the mouth – certainly one to impress guests!

We were also served some fresh foccacias topped with speck and then some taleggio and fontina. Their foccacia is made in house every day, it was soft, airy and not too oily as some can be. I threw in a curve ball too and asked Stefanie if I could have mozzarella as it is one of my favourites and I do tend to buy the cheaper supermarket versions as well as treating myself to the finer ones so wanted to see how theirs compared. She was very obliging; it was so soft and a bit sweet and melted in the mouth – heavenly. All of the above were served with honey that had a few drops of truffle oil added, balsamic vinegar and some fig jam. All were absolutely delicious and complimented the various cheeses well.

After eating we were shown the deli area; we did not realise the vast selection the deli held. I know we champion local food but, if you want Italian food done right, this looks like the place to come. A wall of jars of wonderful pesto’s, pasta sauces and pastes. A wine fridge for takeaway wines that are not on the menu, and if you do want to drink it with a meal, they charge the shelf price plus a little corkage. Meringues, cakes and breads, a cheese fridge to make any cheese-a-holic jealous.

There is a ‘breakfast bar’ you can perch yourself at, on a stool, order coffee and just chill surrounded by all these goodies. Of course, if you haven’t got time of an evening or can’t get babysitter for one of the future events, then you are most welcome to just pop in to the store and ask to try some cheeses. There is no obligation to buy, it is all about service and sharing their love of all things Italian.

A few little facts for you:

  • Cheese making was done all over Europe as, due to the preserving nature of cheese, it was easy to keep in a time before fridges
  • Forma (of formaggio) actually means ‘shape’. Cheese was traditionally shaped in wicker baskets
  • Cheese ‘skin’ is edible and ‘rind’ is not
  • The biggest cheese festival is held every other year in a city called Bra
  • Grana Padano is suitable for vegetarians whereas Parmesan is not

We had a very enjoyable evening which didn’t disappoint and we will certainly be back to the deli again; it really is an Italian treasure trove. They say animals are not just for Christmas, well neither is Carluccio’s deli. Keep an eye out on their website for upcoming events.

A buzzing event at ‘EATS! at Princesshay’ Launch Party

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to join Princesshay at their launch of EATS! – an event showcasing the shopping centres restaurants in the run up to some August tasting events for the public.

To start with, we were taken through a secret doorway and rode the lift up to the rooftops of the shopping centre to see the city’s bees. A lovely and sunny rooftop terrace, with a variety of plants specifically chosen to ensure the plants flower throughout the year providing continuous pollination for the bees.

Jason Wallis, head beekeeper, showed us a calmer hive with the queen bee identified by a spot they have placed on her back.  He explained how a queen is born due to how the bees lay a hanging egg as opposed to a horizontal egg! He then showed us, from a safe distance, the main hives.

Harvest takes place mid August to first week September, any later and the honey would be bitter due to the flowers they would be pollinating at the time. Approximately 200 jars worth will be harvested and sold in Chandos deli early September – if you want some you’ll have to act fast! We were all given a little pot to take home (which I have since indulged in) and it is really delicious.

On returning to ground level, we were then treated to drinks from Giraffe and off we went to be seated in the square in front of Jamie’s Italian and Coal. The restaurants put on an array of delights, in turn, to showcase their menus. One of my favourites is Wagamama with their squid and also duck gyozas; I love squid and they do it very well.

They also provided us with some goody bags with a few bits and pieces in; the one that went down very well almost immediately were the funky sunglasses from Tiger…who says the fun has to stop when you grow up?!

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Thank you to Princesshay for an enjoyable time and don’t forget to EATS! your way around Princesshay this Summer.

For further info on EATS! and the events throughout August in Princesshay check out the post here

For further info on the bees project, visit our post here

I’ll leave you with a great collage from the talented Steve Haywood who was capturing the event and whose photos are in the above 2 posts as well:

Eats! Launch Party

Princesshay buzzing with Queen Bee success

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Princesshay buzzing with Queen Bee success

Princesshay’s City Bee project has achieved a massive 90% success rate with its Queen Bee rearing programme with 4 Queen Bees taking to the apiary, situated in the rooftop garden. At the end of May Princesshay bee keeper, Jason Wallis of WeeTree Nurseries will introduce the new queens to the current the hives.

Jason Wallis said, “The aim of the new Queen Bee rearing programme was to introduce new healthy queens to the current hives for the season ahead to ensure the hives were as productive as possible. We are really pleased with how the rearing programme is going so far. It really is a great result.”

Princesshay is also launching a new observation hive this summer, offering visitors and school groups the opportunity to see the activity inside the hive through glass panels. Princesshay regularly encourage visitors to visit the project and get an insight into the busy world of bees. To date, the city bee project has been visited by over 750 school children, students and members of the public.

Princesshay’s City Bee project began in 2012, when a tranquil rooftop garden was created for honey bees high above the shopping centre as part of an environmental initiative which forms part of the company’s wider biodiversity strategy.

Now entering its 4th year, Princesshay’s city bee project continues to grow, with the project now housing 5 hives with approximately 100,000 bees. Honey that is harvested from Princesshay’s city bee project is sold in Chandos Deli, located in Roman Walk with all proceeds donated to Princesshay’s Charity of the Year, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.

The initial City Bee’s concept was investigated by Andy Littlejohns, Princesshay’s operations manager after watching a television programme on the decline of the honey bee and the impact on the environment.

Andy said, “It has been brilliant to see the project come to life over the past 4 years and we have loved the opportunity to introduce schools and the public to our wonderful hidden bee garden on the roof. It is an exciting environmental initiative, one which is very close to my heart and it is fantastic to see it go from strength to strength.”

Princesshay welcome and encourage visitors to the project and also if you would like to volunteer to be a Princesshay beekeeper please contact our centre management team on 01392 459838.

 

Tantalising tastes of the summer in Princesshay this August

Tantalising tastes of the summer in Princesshay this August

Tasting station dates: 6th, 13th & 20th August 2016

This August, tasting stations will pop up in Princesshay for visitors to sample a taste of summer from Princesshay’s cafes and restaurants*. From pan Asian tastes at Wagamama and Japanese delights from YO! Sushi, modern European dishes from Jamie’s Italian, Café Rouge and Carluccio’s or a proper burger from Byron, Princesshay is the place to dine this summer.

Not only will Princesshay be alive with tastes of the world but buskers will be on hand to entertain visitors throughout the summer creating a hive of activity that will keep visitors of all ages entertained. Along with music, Princesshay will play host to outdoor games, a gorgeous green lawn and go karting, not to mention the vast amount of summer activities planned for the summer months. Activities include an interactive rocking chair, Dancing in the streets in July and Exeter street arts festival, taking place on the 27th August. As well as all this, Silk Estrella, an aerial silk dancer will be performing in Princesshay this summer.

With views of Exeter Cathedral while you dine and the city’s historic Roman wall, Princesshay is the perfect place to visit this summer. With a fantastic range of family friendly restaurants, cuisines from around the world and plenty of alfresco dining, there is something for every taste.

Tasters available while stocks last. For more information on EATS! At Princesshay, visit www.princesshay.co.uk/eats

To make the most of dining out this summer, sign up to EATS! At Princesshay, a fun and informative newsletter packed with discounts, offers and all the latest menu news from all of Princesshay’s fantastic eateries. Being part of EATS! At Princesshay is perfect for any discount diva or foodie fanatic who wants to be in the know when it comes to dining out in Exeter.

Princesshay restaurants and cafes include:

  1. Nandos
  2. Giraffe
  3. Carluccios
  4. Byron
  5. Café Rouge
  6. Jamie’s Italian
  7. Coal Grill & Bar
  8. Wagamama
  9. Yo! Sushi
  10. Coffee #1
  11. Costa
  12. Chandos Deli
  13. LTG’S

Cafe Rouge, Princesshay

Princesshay, Bedford St, Exeter, Devon EX1 1LL- 01392 251042 – www.caferouge.com

Now and again we like to head to one of Exeter’s chain restaurants, they have their place and there is definitely a space in my heart for a few of them.  One restaurant that we’ve been many times over the last few years has been Cafe Rouge, a take on classic french cuisine in a nice package served by friendly staff.

We were given the opportunity to have a look at their newly refurbished Exeter restaurant and to have a peek at their new menu which came out last week.

The modernist outside is deceptive when you walk through the classic styled doors, lots of dark woods and an interior that evokes a 1920s Parisian restaurant or bistro; a magnificent gold mirror looks over the bar area and is one of the main features that you notice when you first walk in.  The first thing that I note is the restaurant seems to have gotten a whole lot smaller? When I was last here it seemed to drift off in to the distance to a window at the back as well.

The layout has changed a bit, the large cavernous restaurant area has now been sectioned in to two separate areas.  The main restaurant is used every day, but a second smaller area is now bookable for corporate events or functions, or as overspill if the main restaurant fills up.  Paint and decorative elements have changed, nice new chairs and tables, still keeping that Parisian charm, but with a fresh edge.

With a change of decor also comes a new menu.  The website gives you the official news about it but there have been changes to the Risottos; the addition of Bouillabaisse (a longstanding Rouge favourite) has been added back onto the menu – sea bream, mussels, king prawns and squid in a rich tomato and saffron broth with delicious rouille and Gruyère; introduction of Bistro Salads and the arrival of Charolais steak and burgers to the bistro menu.

The scene was set, the table laid and the drinks ordered.  We both went for Stella Artois given I rarely ever have it, but given our choice of food tonight Tori also ordered a Red Wine (Malbec on the recommendation of our server) which would come out at the same time as our main.

For starters we decided to go for a classic Cafe Rouge starter CHAMPIGNONS À L’AIL (£4.50) which we shared.  The Rye toast was a perfect accompaniment to this classic favourite starter that we’ve had at Cafe Rouge before.  The garlicy creaminess of the mushrooms were mopped up with the fresh bread and olives that we had with our drinks.

Our main course was one that I had decided on days beforehand, and a brand new addition to the menu.  The  32OZ CÔTE DE BOEUF (£45); Charolais Côte de Boeuf, dry-aged for a minimum of 35 days. This beautiful butterflied rib steak, served on the bone, is also known as a ‘bull’s head’.  With this epic piece of meat you also get two sides (Frites and Tomato & Onion Salad for us) and two sauces (Peppercorn and Bordelaise) served in teeny saucepans which we both loved.

The meat was delicious, it was meaty and I can imagine that before it was cooked, it was marbled with little fat.  We had a small operation to divide the two main parts of the meat, lots of cutting and pulling, and as the meat was so soft it wasn’t much good pulling the bone! The whole thing had was beautifully presented on its own stand, with some lovely seasoned frites too.  I now have 20+ photos of this epic piece of meat on my laptop.  The four that you see here are the maximum that I have allowed myself.  It was a superbly cooked steak; it was beautiful in that way that meat can be beautiful.

After something so large, we were both very full.  We had wanted to go for a couple of the new desserts, the Parfait being one of them but they had sold out given they are so popular at the moment.  So we went for a coffee instead to finish off the meal.

Our server was Tracey and she was lovely; she was incredibly attentive and has been with Cafe Rouge for 10 years.  Assistant Manager James also explained that the tip we left at the end of the meal goes straight to the staff and not in to some ethereal pot in the management heavens which other chain restaurants tend to do.

Even if you’re not a frequent visitor to Princesshay, Cafe Rouge is one restaurant that is worth trying.  Their newly added steak range adds an extra dimension to some of the types of meat that you can get in steak form.  To my knowledge there is no other place serving Charolais meat in Exeter in this format, which in itself is quite a USP.

EE RecommendsThe staff are friendly, the atmosphere is romantic, the interior is themed but tastefully so and there are many positives for a meal out at Cafe Rouge.  Let me know how it goes in the comment box if you do go.