KuPP Scandi Picnic in the Park by Lauren Heath

Gosh, hasn’t Summer well and truly shown herself this past week? Some days it has been too hot really, but alas we shouldn’t moan, there are so many great spots to find shade in our beautiful city whilst enjoying the sunshine. So you’re sitting alfresco, and you’re thinking ‘a deliciously fresh and exciting picnic would be great right about now’ – well guess what? KuPP Exeter have the answer!

I was very pleased to have received an offer from KuPP to experience their latest offering of a Scandi Picnic; “a feast of cold cuts and light salads, including Norwegian salmon gravadlax and house smoked mackerel with lashings of Scandi potato and summer heritage tomato salad as well as roast beetroot and smoked red onions. Meaty offerings come in the form of homemade chorizo sausage roll, smoked pork meatballs, Sussex smoked ham and potted rabbit with nutmeg butter. A Scandi picnic wouldn’t be complete without a generous helping of Västerbotten (strong Swedish cheddar) and a section of breads, spreads and pickles.”

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There is a vegetarian picnic too as well as vegan and gluten free options on request.

So I quickly gathered two fabulous lady friends, arranged a date – which happened to be the first day of #NationalPicnicWeek – placed my order 24hrs in advance and we swiftly found ourselves collecting our fabric tote bag of goodies and settling under a tree in Northernhay Gardens.

At £30 for 2 people, I initially worried this seemed pricey and also worried there wouldn’t be enough for the three of us so ordered two extra open sandwiches at a further £6.50 for both –Smoked Streaky Danish Bacon & Crushed Avocado Roasted baby plum tomatoes & dressed pea shoots and Smoked Chilli Torn Roast Chicken Roasted red peppers & little gem.

I was wrong on both counts – it was a bounty of food and even without the sandwiches there was plenty for the three of us – with some left over for me to take back to my desk. I am already a big fan of Kupp – their food is fresh, vibrant, filling and well priced in the restaurant, so to have all the delights from their smorgasbords packed up nicely for a picnic was a delight.

Everything was so tasty – the potted rabbit was moist, flavoursome and plentiful; the smoked pork meatballs are so good in their tangy gravy; the chorizo sausage roll is a triumph of crispy light pastry and delicious meat filling; and don’t get me started on the smoked red onions (I want to know how they do it!!). The breads bring even more texture and crunch to the offering and boy is that Västerbotten cheese tangy.

I could go on, but I won’t. Great for lazy days or even in your work lunch break; forget spending a fortune on the drier supermarket offering, this really is the bees knees of picnic and is very generous in size. All supplied with cutlery, plates and napkins – just bring along your picnic blanket and some great people to share it with – and if the weather is, well, under the weather, there are plenty of covered spots around the city where you can sit and have a nibble Scandi style. Cheers or Skål!

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For further info on their picnics, click here.

To read about our thoughts on their bottomless brunch click here.

KuPP – Unit 12 Queen Street Dining, Guildhall Shopping Centre, Exeter EX4 3HP

T: 01392 531 777  | Website: www.kupp.co

Facebook: KuPPExeter | Twitter: KuPP_Exeter | Instagram: kupp_Exeter

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Polpo Exeter opening event by Chris Gower

18 Higher Market Guildhall, Queen Street, Exeter – T: @polpo

I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Polpo now for, well… months.  We were sad to hear that Grillstock were going to abandon plans to visit Exeter but we knew that in its place would be something exciting.  There was the usual speculation from foodies and news outlets, but to hear that we were getting famed Venetian cuisine restaurant Polpo was a massive plus for foodies in Exeter.  Co-founded and steered by the charismatic writer and restaurateur Russell Norman, we grabbed 10 Questions with Russell soon after it was announced.

If you’ve never heard of Russell before then you might have seen him on telly as The Restaurant Man a few years ago.  If this is still not ringing any bells, take a look at this video.

The Founder. Russell Norman / Polpo restaurant from The Founder on Vimeo.

He is currently writing another book about Venice, having just returned from a 10 day stint.  Polpo even take their staff to Venice to experience the Venetian way of life so they can themselves share that passion with their customers.

Their latest restaurant is Exeter which is now open for business.  We were invited along to sample what makes Polpo special.

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Polpo is the the result of a long love affair that Russell has with Venice and its culture. He is an apostle for the Venetian way of eating and drinking, and a font of knowledge about the subject too.   Just chatting to him casually in the restaurant made us realise that he was passionate about Polpo, the brand, the ethos and its mission to keep things cheap and simple.

Russell was the first person we saw on the door.  I turned to Tori and said in not-so-hushed amazement, “That’s the founder, Russell Norman!” My powers of discretion are terrible.

Taken to our seats by a friendly waitress we were in one of the booth seats by the kitchen, a perfect place to see how the kitchen worked and watch service at work.

The interior of Polpo was as I thought it would be, a well thought out collection of reclaimed features including the floor that was salvaged from an old hospital from The North. Hidden for decades under a modern floor, this addition to the restaurant is one of particular pride, so whatever you do, don’t drop your food on it!   The tiles, fittings and decor gave a feeling of faded elegance, but in such a way that it was clean and well thought out.

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The menu is a simple, cheap and elegant.  There is the option to have a more substantial meal if you wish, or you can nibble on Cichetti, which is a little like Venetian tapas. Venetians often like to partake in a giro d’ombra which is essentially like a pub crawl with lots of little bits of food.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Russell for a mini-interview for the upcoming Eating Exeter podcast (launching soon!) he was absolultely brilliant to talk to, one of the things mentioned was the signature Fritto Misto and Red Chicory which I just had to go for. Both fabulous.

Lauren and Steve had Pizza with Cured Pork Shoulder & Pickled Pepper (jalapeño).  We were introduced to the concept of Braised Cod cheeks with lentils and the brave ones amongst us had Marinated Baby Octopuses… I didn’t because frankly, I am a wuss sometimes.

We were all treated to an Elderflower Martini which was more lime but had a back taste of elderflower which was punchy and refreshing.

There is a lot to say about Polpo.  Tonight was just a taster of what you can expect from this trendy Venetian restaurant.  We loved it.

10 Questions for Polpo co-founder Russell Norman

Last week Eating Exeter excitedly broke the news that Polpo was coming to the Queen St Dining Quarter. We tracked down co-founder Russell Norman to find out what lies in-store for Exeter diners.

Last week Eating Exeter excitedly broke the news that Polpo was coming to the Queen St Dining Quarter.  We tracked down co-founder Russell Norman to find out what lies in-store for Exeter diners.  Take five minutes to have a look at the video at the bottom, it gives a really good idea what Polpo is all about.

Photos are courtesy Polpo Restaurants

  1. What are you most looking forward to about the new restaurant in Exeter?

We have made some significant changes for our opening in Exeter and I’m looking forward to launching a Polpo with so many points of difference. We will be open for breakfast. We will have a fantastic value set menu in addition to the a la carte menu. There will be some dishes made and served table-side. And I’m really looking forward to lazy, sunny afternoons on our beautiful terrace sipping Campari and nibbling cicheti (Venetian snacks).

  1. How ‘Italian’ is Venentian cuisine? Does it differ widely from some of the more well-known Italian dishes?

Venice has a very different food culture to the rest of Italy and the Polpo menu has been very much influenced by that. Seafood, of course, a little pasta and some tomato-less pizzas, but the culture of small plates is what has influenced us the most. Venetians love sharing food, family-style, and so do we!

  1. Seasonal menus must be important to a brand like Polpo?

We change the menu 5 to 6 times a year to follow the seasons. It’s very important to go with the natural rhythms of the year in terms of ingredients and dishes. Exeter will be opening at my favourite time of the year in terms of food: Spring. So fresh, green vibrant and happy.

  1. What is your ethos in regards to sourcing ingredients?

We take our inspiration from Italy, but always source locally where we can. Our fish and seafood comes from the south coast and our grocer works with farmers in Kent, Sussex, Dorset and Devon.

  1. Why Venice? What made you want to recreate a Venetian bacaro back in 2009?

I first went to Venice as a student in the late 1980s and I’m afraid I rather fell in love with the city and have been going back several times a year ever since. When it came to opening my own restaurant, the food I knew best was Venetian, so it seemed like a sensible idea to stick with what I knew.

  1. You started your journey in the restaurant world as a waiter and worked up the ranks. How important do you think this experience was to you when you were starting Polpo?

It’s always a good idea to work your way up. That way, you know what it’s like to be waiting tables, cleaning fridges, sweeping the floor, working long shifts and, most importantly, looking after customers.

  1. If you had to choose two particular dishes to recommend to diners who are completely new to Polpo and Venetian dining, which ones would they be?

Always order the fritto misto. Always order a spritz!

  1. How easy will it be to book a table in the evening at our new Polpo?

We are being totally relaxed about reservations at Polpo Exeter. You can book, walk-in, sit at the bar, sit outside, take a booth, whatever you want. We have online booking, too. So the short answer is: “Very easy.” But because we keep tables back for walk-ins, you can even get a table when we are fully booked.

  1. The interiors of your restaurants are lovely. Do you still take charge in designing the interior of new restaurants?

I love places that look lived-in, so I take charge of all the designs and try to use as many antiques and reclaimed materials as possible.

  1. Finally, the Venetians love their wine. What is your favourite Venetian wine?

The most Venetian wine on the list is the Malibran Glera “Col Fondo”. This is a prosecco with tiny bubbles, not sweet at all, and very slightly cloudy because it has been left on the lees. Delicious.

Kupp, Queen St. – The Bottomless Brunch by Chris Gower

Kupp has taken on the dubious mantle of being ‘one of my favourite places’ in the Queen St Dining quarter.  As a food blogger in Exeter I feel it is wrong to have favourites as one must be objective, but I am starting to realise that actually it is perfectly OK to have favourites.  I fell in love with KuPP after their launch evening, this is one of the more aesthetically pleasing restaurants currently in Exeter.  After being invited along to review their Bottomless Brunch offering, and after sampling this offering, I’m firmly in the fanclub!

KuPP is a fresh take on Scandi themed casual dining and with this interpretation comes a gorgeously designed restaurant and friendly staff.  The concept behind the restaurant is “to create a quality casual, all day, food & drink concept with a strong focus on speciality coffee that would be attractive in both the Scandinavian & UK markets” (http://www.kupp.co/about/).

The coffee is Bristol roasted by Extract and you can pop in and pick up a coffee to-go with one of their lovely pastries as a perfect accompaniment.  As prices go, it would be ‘mid-range’; it isn’t dirt cheap but  you get the entire KuPP experience including really friendly staff.

We’ve now visited a few times to have coffee and work.  The WiFi is reliable and the seats are comfy.  If you want to just visit for coffee or a more substantial meal then you are able to do whatever you wish. It is one of those rare places which transcends just being a restaurant, but can multi-task as a stylish cafe as well.

One of their current offerings is their Bottomless Brunch deals which is currently only offered in Exeter.  For £30pp you have 90 minutes to eat and drink as much as you like, as many Pilsners and boards as you can stomach!

So what makes up The Bottomless Brunch?  The Bords available cater for many tastes.

“The KuPP. Bord
Our Special house smoked pork meatballs, potted rabbit, chorizo sausage roll, Västerbotten cheese, KuPP potato salad, pickled vegetables, sourdough & Leksands Knacker crispbread.

The Veggie. Bord
Wild mushroom & tarragon tart, oven baked quinoa, kale & butternut bites, chilli lemon & goats curd dip, smashed avocado & Dukkah, soft boiled egg, Danish Blue, roast beetroot & smoked red onions, Västerbotten cheese, pickled vegetables, Leksands Knacker crispbread & toasted sourdough. 

The Smokin’ Roast. Bord
Smoked fore rib of beef, chive buttered smoked onion, honey smoked beetroot, roasted new potatoes & butternut squash, lingonberry jam & red wine gravy.

Drinks
Bottomless Czech Pilsner Krusovice or a choice of two of KuPP’s signature cocktails ‘Aquavit Bloody Mary’ or ‘Scandi Collins’.”

Lauren and myself tried The KuPP Bord and The Smokin’ Roast Bord, and  The Fiske Bord with a couple of pints of Czech Pilsner.

The Kupp Board

This was packed with lots of pickled veg, peashoots and breads including Potted Rabbit which was a strange yet delightful taste.  I really liked the Chorizo Sausage Roll and the meatballs were smokey & dense.  Each forkful gave a complex range of flavours loaded with fresh ingredients and lots of savoury items, it was nibble-heaven.

The Smoked Meat Board

This was like a small roast dinner on one board.  There were sweetly roasted butternut squash, honey roasted beetroot and the most tender smoked meat.  Everything had this wonderful smokiness infused through it, especially the roast new potatoes.  Although pouring the gravy was interesting (it did tend to dribble off the side) it was definitely an enjoyable combination of flavours.

Lauren’s thoughts and The Fiske Board

I asked EE Assitant Editor Lauren to write a few words about her thoughts on KuPP.

“I find KuPP is not crowded, is nice spacing. I was impressed with the service on the VIP night, and same again this time.

I think it’s a great deal if you are hungry and can drink. Possibly less so with a small appetite. So a lot for 2 courses essentially. But I thought it was all absolutely delicious.

The Fiske Board was fantastic. I thought you had to choose a board and you would keep eating that one so I was pleased to be able to have them all. And unlike a buffet, you get served and you don’t have to leave your guests.

It’s all served warm and fresh; this food offering is different to other places in Exeter!”

At £30pp but the value is really good.  We managed to pack in two and a half boards each (each board is £25 for two normally) and two pints of Czech Pilsner (per pint normally it is nearly £5).  After the meal it was clear that the food would have cost much more had we wanted the same items at any other time.

The offer runs from Midday to 5PM each Sunday and you have 90 minutes to cram as much as you can.  Perfect for those who have a big appetite.

Venetian Restaurant, Polpo, is Coming to Exeter

POLPO, a bacaro from Russell Norman and Richard Beatty inspired by humble Venetian restaurants, serving simple food, made from scratch everyday alongside good young local wines is to open in Exeter in early February at Higher Market Guildhall

The  restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, signatures on the menu will include cicheti, such as Fried stuffed olives; Arancini; and Chopped chicken liver crostini (from £3).  There will also be Fritto misto; Pizzetta bianca; Spicy pork and fennel meatballs; .  Desserts will list Affogato al caffe; Gelato cone; Flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake; and Tiramisu pot (from £4).

POLPO takes inspiration from the rustic back-street wine bars of Venice and features an array of simple but delicious small plates from the region of Veneto. The interiors reflect the gloriously faded elegance of La Serenissima and the renowned charm of the humble bacaro.

Polpo – 18 Higher Market Guildhall, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3FB

Website: http://polpo.co.uk/

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Queen St – by Chris Gower

Burgers are highly subjective things to write about. I spend a lot of time talking about burgers as they are one of my favourite foodstuffs.  Some love them and talk about them with a passion, they would be happy if every single restaurant had an extensive burger menu and would most probably be equally happy if every restaurant was a burger restaurant too.  These types of people are called Burger-nerds (I’ve just made that up) and although I am objective about the role that different types of restaurant play in the dining scene of any town or city, I am fully supportive of burger restaurants – So long as there are not too many of them – and would consider myself a Burger-nerd.

Depending on who you talk to will give you a variety of opinions, but the general opinion is that there are too many burger restaurants in Exeter.  If you read my article in Exeter Living last year on this matter, I stated that I believe that anymore of this type of restaurant will saturate the dining scene in Exeter and I still hold to this.  Since I wrote the article we’ve not gained anymore, but we have gained a Five Guys as a replacement to Ruby Modern Diner that closed last year and moved operations down to Exmouth.  We now have an equal number of chain burger restaurants (Byron, Five Guys, GBK) to independent (Urban Burger, Hubbox, Zita’s) so it will be interseting to see what the landscape does in the coming years.

When GBK opened, we were invited to their launch night which I am using a few photos from in this article.  Everything was manicured nicely, the food was quick and everything was free.  The meal that we had was north of £50 for two of us, but it didn’t matter as it was the launch night.  We were impressed with the decor, in fact I fell in love with the pseudo-sixties modernist features and the speakeasy lighting.  It was mostly cosy and had perfect windows for people watching.

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When we visited this week, we had different things in mind.  Like most of the world, we’re January-Poor so can’t afford to splash out on a full meal and we really didn’t want to go home and cook.  So I downloaded the GBK App and up popped their latest offer, two burgers for £12! Upgrade the Resident Heroe burgers to £1.50 and off you go.

We arrived at GBK as ungalmorous as you could imagine.  Bags of shopping, slightly dishevelled and absolutlely starving.  We were greeted at the door by guy who looked casually managerial, he was dressed differently from the others and was really friendly throughout our visit as were all of the staff who served us.

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The menu is quite straight forward and follows the general format of burger restaurants. Choose your burger, choose your side separately and choose your drink.  Tori went for THE STACK (£10.95) which featured Grilled chorizo, Red Leicester cheese, house onion ring, smoked chilli mayo, rocket, pickled onions and house relish with a side of small skinny fries. I went for THE CAJUN BLUE (£9.15) which featured Cajun marinated chicken, blue cheese slaw, jalapenos, pineapple and sriracha mayo also with skinny fries.

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We both went for the refillable Fresh and Fizzy drink options which were essentially non-alcoholic cocktails for very little.  £2.45 got us an Elderflower and a Ginger & Lemongrass pint of fizz that was – get this – REFILLABLE!

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Some of my foodie friends had commented about the time that it took to get their food on their visits to GBK.  The delivery of our food was swift, there wasn’t much waiting for our drinks either but we did go before the peak evening rush, so bear in mind that this restaurant can get busy at times.

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I was happy with my burger generally, although the chicken was a little overcooked.  The taste was something else, and the pineapple sitting happily in the middle of the whole burger added a different perspective to each mouthful.  Tori felt although the burger was nice, it hadn’t matched up to the one she had during our previous visit.  We asked for medium-rare but it was more well-done.  Our skinny fries were super skinny, but also very tasty and well seasoned.

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For the price you pay GBK isn’t mind-blowing. It is acceptable, it is very nice, it is most pleasing and I am sure I will go there again.  The interior is lovely, the staff are friendly but it is expensive (but not as expensive as other places).  But let us compare it to Byron Burgers… it is cheaper and the burgers are on a different planet to the quality of Bryon and the prices are much better.  As chain burgers restaurants go, it is pretty much the best;  they’ve been doing it since 2001 and it has some mileage in their experience.  They have a successful format which is oft replicated and burgers that are firm classics in the eyes of their many followers across the UK.

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Win a meal out and shopping vouchers for Guildhall favourites Comptoir Libanais and Sainsbury’s

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Eating Exeter has teamed up with the Exeter Business Improvement District to offer one lucky winner a meal for two in Comptoir Libanais and vouchers to spend in Sainsbury’s*.

This festive foodie prize includes a mezze platter for two and a bottle of house wine in Comptoir Libanais and a £10 voucher to spend in Sainsbury’s, perfect for enjoying a meal out in Exeter and making a head start on the Christmas shopping.

Comptoir Libanais is situated in the recently opened Queen St Dining Quarter, next to the Guildhall Shopping Centre. Specialising in wholesome and healthy Lebanese food from breakfast through to dinner, this relaxed souk-like restaurant is perfect for a meal out in Exeter.

Stock up the fridge with Christmas food and drinks, or pick up some Christmas gifts for family and friends with £10 to spend in Sainsbury’s, found in the Guildhall Shopping Centre.

Once you have had your fill of Lebanese food and picked up your shopping explore the rest of Exeter city centre. Don’t forget late night shopping ends on December 22nd.

Explore everything Exeter has to offer including shopping, eating and drinking, where to stay and what’s on over the festive period at inexeter.com.

*To enter, please retweet our pinned Twitter post linked to this page or share the Facebook post relating to this competition. Competition ends Midnight on Friday 9th December 2016. and is exclusive to Eating Exeter.

Comptoir Libanais is now open at Queen St. Dining, the region’s most exciting new food destination

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Exeter diners can now experience a taste of Lebanese cuisine and enjoy an exciting 50% off food*, as the fifth restaurant at Queen St. Dining opens its doors.

Comptoir Libanais is the latest restaurant to open its doors to Exeter diners, serving fresh, tasty, colourful and affordable authentic Lebanese food. Open for breakfast through to after work drinks and cocktails, platters for meetings can be delivered to your office and the menu is also available to take away.

The restaurant sits underneath The Terrace restaurant, in the new glass landmark building, overlooking the main square in Guildhall Shopping & Dining.

Tony Kitous founded the Lebanese restaurant in 2008. His vision was to put the glamour into Middle Eastern cuisine and provide diners with the opportunity to experience real, wholesome and healthy Lebanese food in a souk-like setting.

To celebrate the new opening, Comptoir Libanais is offering Exeter diners 50% of all food during its first week of service*.

Tony Kitous, founder of Comptoir Libanais, said: “I’m really excited to be opening a new branch of Comptoir Libanais in Exeter’s Queen St. Dining. We just love to share our home-style Lebanese food and our generous culture with everyone in the city. Since launching the first Comptoir Libanais back in 2008 the response we had from our guests was amazing. They really love and enjoy our fresh, healthy and affordable food and I can’t wait to share our generous food with the Exeter community. I really look forward to welcome our guests in our new Exeter home and celebrate our first opening in the South West.”

Queen St. Dining will feature an eclectic mix of exciting brands, the majority of which are new to the South West. In addition to Comptoir Libanais, the line-up features: Absurd Bird, GBK, Turtle Bay, KuPP, The Stable and The Terrace.

The £12m dining destination will also introduce welcoming open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment.

Andrew McNeilly, Manager of Guildhall Shopping & Dining, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that the third restaurant to open at Queen St. Dining is Comptoir Libanais. This newest edition will bring a whole new dining experience to the heart of the city. Exeter residents can experience the healthy and wholesome food of the Middle East without having to travel far.”

Andrew continues: “Following the opening of Turtle Bay in August and GBK, Absurd Bird and The Terrace this month, Queen St. Dining is already proving very popular, with restaurants experiencing bookings way in advance. With the remaining restaurants following in October, we anticipate a greater influx of people keen to experience the region’s most exciting dining destination.”

For more information on Queen St. Dining, visit www.queenst-exeter.com

*Terms and Conditions

  • The 50% offer is valid between 4pm – 11.30pm from 4th – 7th October 2016
  • Diners can receive 50% off all food only, excludes drinks
  • Offer only available on food when dining in the restaurant and excludes take away
  • Offer will be applied to the bill automatically, no voucher needed
  • Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer

 

Launch date announced for The Terrace – A new venue for Exeter

The Terrace, Queen Street Dining’s flagship and most eagerly anticipated venue, has announced it will be opening its doors for the first time on Friday 30 September from midday.The two-story multi-million-pound development promises to bring a heady blend of great food and drink, live music and DJ’s.

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Set across two floors including the rooftop terrace, its owners hope it will fast become the go-to venue for those seeking a sophisticated place to dine, drink or enjoy a night out. The rooftop features cathedral views and a stylish design.

Customers can expect an adventurous menu with personality using great quality locally sourced products. Combine that with carefully selected beers and wines from some of the best producers, live music, cocktails and an upbeat atmosphere both day and night.

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The First Floor has a different vibe from the rooftop. During the day the curtains are opened and the lavish décor and space can be used to enjoy drinks and the full restaurant menu. At night the space transforms into a club lounge with DJ’s and dancing. The First Floor is good enough to rival the best in the UK and is set to be Exeter’s most exclusive venue.

Guests will be able to enjoy acoustic music on the rooftop from around 10pm, every Thursday Friday & Saturday night with DJs featuring on the the first floor. Ticketed events are already underway and The Terrace’s first big line up will feature XY&O, with support from North Devon band The Tuesday Syndicate on Friday 21st October.

Fried scallop  with sesame seeds, balsamic sauce and asparagus
Fried scallop with sesame seeds and balsamic sauce, asparagus, lemon and green peas on a black plate

Tickets for this are available through Eventbrite. Brainchild of local entrepreneurs, Joe Hill and Steve Keough, The Terrace marks the third installment of the duos rapidly expanding restaurant group which already includes high-street wine and coffee bar, Artigiano and sourdough pizza and craft beer restaurant, Base + Barley.

“We have an extremely talented team to deliver this concept which includes one of the regions best head chefs, a dedicated sommelier and an award winning mixologist. We are also committed to bringing some of the UK’s best DJs and live music acts to Exeter,” says Joe Hill, co-owner of The Terrace.

Spanish dinner and red wine ready on the table
Spanish dinner cooked and served on the table

Joe goes on to say “The Terrace will bring a whole new style to Exeter and it’s going to be a real first for the city. We are really excited to witness the reaction and can’t wait to open the doors,”

Restaurant bookings are being taken from Sunday 2nd October.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Press Night

Last week (or was it the week before last?) we were invited along to the opening of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, the second restaurant to open as part of The Queen St Dining Quarter.  With a lump in my throat for the recent loss of Ruby Burgers (loss for us but definite WIN for Exmouth!) this new kid on the burger block has reputation and heritage in the world of burgers – having been the first proper restaurant to serve Gourmet Burgers in the UK back in 2001 – it is certainly one of the largest burger chains in the UK.

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My love of burgers stretches back many years. I started a blog about them, I tend to choose the burger option in restaurants that we review and I love cooking them (with varying degrees of success), so the prospect of a GBK opening is Exeter has been an exciting one for me.  Given the reputation and the amount of positive feedback that I’ve received about other GBKs, I don’t seem to be the only one who is looking forward to its arrival.  EDIT: It’s arrived! Opened 12th September!

After my recent reviews in esteemed establishments such as The Salutation Inn and The Pig Hotel, it was nice to get down and dirty with a burger.

The stylish interior has clearly been thought about, and with the vast window looking out on to Queen Street it is the perfect recipe for people watching!

The range of burgers is impressive with upwards of 24 different varieties.  The burger meat is grass fed Aberdeen Angus from Laverstoke, so not locally local like Zita’s or Urban Burger.

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Tori went for ‘The Stack’ (£10.95) – Grilled chorizo, Red Leicester cheese, house onion ring, smoked chilli mayo, rocket, pickled onions, house relish and I went for The Mighty (£12.45) – Two 6oz patties, mature Cheddar, crispy bacon, garlic mayo, relish, dill pickle.  We went for a side of Truffle Cheese Fries £3.95 – chunky skin-on fries with truffle cheese sauce and grana padano.

The burgers were lovely, well cooked and as tasty as I had been led to believe by all of the positive comments I’d heard about GBK before.  The fries were nice, the truffle sauce was a little odd at first but a definite improvement on the traditional cheesy chips.

With friendly staff and a sexy interior (never thought I would describe an interior as sexy!) I can see this restaurant being one we’ll be visiting again.  As an alternative to the misery of Byron Burgers, GBK is definitely the one to fill it. Although it won’t replace Ruby Burgers, it will fill a much needed burger shaped hole.

 

Turtle Bay, Exeter – by Lauren Heath

Guildhall, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3HP     Tel: 01392  690868

www.turtlebay.co.uk/locations/exeter

Turtle Bay is the first of the Queen Street Dining Quarter restaurants to open in Exeter’s highly anticipated new food destination; the Caribbean street food concept has been going since 2011 and has been the latest project for the man who co-founded Las Iguanas.

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Investigating what was on offer prior to opening, we noted the large menu consisted of starters including pulled pork salad, duck roll and garlic and herb flatbread to name but a few. Lunch ‘n lighter included salads and wraps with a variety of meat and fish fillings whilst dinner options are split into one-pots and jerk pit BBQ. There seemed to be 1 or 2 vegetarian options in each section, and if you are pescatarian, your choice does enlarge fourfold. A good selection of puddings and an even larger selection of cocktails await your arrival.

So after receiving our invite to come along and see what was on offer, we visited mid-week, mainly because they were already fully booked over the first few weekends.

On arrival, we were seated to the right of the doorway, in a ‘dog-leg’ section as it were. I was quite happy to be in the corner here so I could people watch towards the other way, but later on in the evening when I walked around to take some photos, I realised that actually we had missed out on being right in the thick of it in the main restaurant area. Nevermind – I must say throughout the whole evening, there was an excellent ‘marketplace’ buzz.

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We both ordered cocktails to start; Steve chose the Koko Colada whilst I went for my old favourite – the Espresso Martini (both £6.95 each). Mine was what you would expect in appearance, if a little too sweet though actually and not quite coffee enough for me. Perhaps I should leave this one to one of my other favourite local independents to rustle up for me in future. Steve’s drink was delicious however, an easy drinker – smooth, creamy and coconutty.

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The waitress was incredibly friendly, and also clearly knowledgeable, so well done to her and the assumed training she received.

For starters I chose Sweetcorn Fritters and Steve chose the Island bait (whitebait, both priced £5.10). Imagining flat pancake like fritters, I was pleasantly suprised to receive four big sweetcorn fritter balls; they had a lovely crunchy outer and a soft doughy middle, containing sweetcorn and cooked onions – the latter with enough bite to balance the textures. It had a lovely flavour with a bit of zing, although I indulged in mixing one if the spicy tables sauces with my mayo to create a spicy dip. The whitebait were a good size, a petite portion and fried perfectly with no oil left dripping in the bucket. Good start.

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Being chilli lovers, we were pleased to see the selection of spicy sauces at the table in order to up the anty on our food. We noted the cocktails were 2-4-1 before 7pm and after 10pm, and thought this was a good place for pre or post dinner drinks.

Now for main; Steve ordered the Fish Curry One Pot (£9.70) and I ordered the Red Snapper (£12.50), choosing the sweet potato mash as my accompaniment. We had seen some pots go out that looked like mussel pots so were suprised to see a glass pyrex dish arrive with the one pot in. Unfortunately the bowl was cold, so we had to send it back as the food was tepid. They did, however, make a new one fairly swiftly but my plate was cold too so this is clearly something  that needs looking at. Thankfully, the way my fish had been cooked, in a foil parcel, meant it was still hot.

The one pot was flavoursome with earthy and zingy flavours, that I haven’t tasted in other offerings around the city. Steve thought it was good, but not outstanding and it could have been a larger portion and spicier. My fish was nice, and the sauce was really flavoursome. Unfortunately the sweet potato and salad were a let down – the sweet potato was like babyfood and there wasn’t much of it, I wish had gone for a sturdier starch. The salad was just leaves with a dressing on and maybe one shaving of coconut, I think they could have done so much more with this on the side of a nice piece of fish.

As we looked up around us, the surroundings included tin roof walling, graffiti style art, mismatched old speakers, woven baskets, and industrial hanging lighting although they are too low, as staff kept having to duck which was a distraction – these are impractical and really should be pulled up a smidgen. It was quite dim, which hindered menu reading (& the quality of my photos), and perhaps this explains why they have the hanging lights so low, even the shorter staff would hit their head. The main area of the restaurant consisted of a circular bar, surrounded by a variety of table types, and with an open kitchen. Lots of string lights all over the place and plenty of colour – it is a vibrant design.

Thankfully, the puddings picked us up from imperfect mains; I ordered the rum and raisin bread pudding and Steve had the rum cake – both were delicious, moist and full of rum and even pleased my savoury loving husband (both £4.85).

Drinks wise, we ended the evening on a homemade ginger beer for Steve and a peanut butter and banana smoothie for me (both £3.60). The smoothie was very tasty and a good consistency and Steve loved the very gingery ginger beer and would buy it to take home if he could.

So our verdict on this eaterie was mixed really; a good start and finish, but a very average middle and fairly priced in places…I guess you’ll have to visit to find out for yourself. It is a very different beast, and if you’re going to be different you need to do it very well or not at all. We’ll see how they get on when the rest of the competition move in.

Competition! Win a meal for four at Turtle Bay’s new restaurant in Exeter.

TURTLEBAYCOMP

Exeter should prepare for a big slice of sunshine – as Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant and bar prepares to roll into its first city in Devon! It’s all about rum, reggae and jerk this summer!

Turtle Bay is set to open its doors to Exeter on the 23rd August, bringing a new, vibrant and delicious Caribbean dining and drinking experience to the city. Think jerk chicken, spicy, slow cooked curries, rice and peas, dreamy desserts and blissful rum cocktails!

We’re offering one lucky winner a free 3 course-meal for 4 with a drink!


Because we love competitions here at Eating Exeter, simply head over to Twitter or Facebook.  Follow either Eating Exeter on Twitter or Eating Exeter on Facebook and share the competition.  This includes any reposts throughout the competition duration.

You have to do both to qualify for entry to the prize draw (literally names in a bowl) which will be held on the 24th August.  The winner will be contacted privately.

 

Jerk Salmon with Pineapple Salsa courtesy of Turtle Bay

Rum, reggae and jerk is coming to Exeter!

Turtle Bay will open on 23 rd August in Exeter. Their first restaurant in Devon will be
bringing a brand new, blissful Caribbean dining and drinking experience to the
people of Exeter!

The concept celebrates the lively, colourful, soulful and, above all, delicious
experiences that the Caribbean has to offer – from explosive flavours to laid back
‘liming’.

As well as their famous jerk chicken, curried goat and gorgeous rum cocktails, dishes
like their Jerk Salmon are brimming with flavor as well as being a little lighter for a
summer’s evening…

Jerk Salmon
Photo Credit: Turtle Bay

Equipment:

Sharp Knife
Chopping Board
Mixing Bowl
None stick frying pan
Spatula or fish slice

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

For the Salmon:

2 x 6oz Salmon Fillet’s
30 gms Plain flour
25 gms Jerk Seasoning
25 gms Melted Butter
Pinch of Sea Salt
2 x Lime Wedges

For the Pineapple Salsa:

2 x Fresh Pineapple slices
1 x Spring Onion
150 gms Cucumber
¼ Scotch Bonnet Pepper -finely diced (optional)
3 x Mint Leaves
3 x Coriander Leaves

Method:

1. Place non-stick frying pan on the solid top & wait until pan is hot and slightly smoking, add a little oil

2. Place Salmon Fillets skin side down in Flour

3. Pat excess Flour off with your hand

4. Place the Salmon skin down into hot frying pan & leave it to cook for 30 secs

5. Brush Jerk Seasoning on the Salmon flesh

6. Place into oven & cook for 8-12 mins

7. Meanwhile, for the Pineapple Salsa, cut the Pineapple slices and cucumber into small chunks.

8. Finely slice the spring onion and place into a mixing bowl

9. Add the finely chopped scotch bonnet (optional) mint & coriander leaves and mix together.

10. Remove Salmon from oven & leave to rest

11. Brush the skin side of the salmon evenly with Butter

12. Sprinkle Sea Salt evenly over Salmon

13. Remove from pan using a spatula or fish slice and place onto a plate.

14. Serve pineapple salsa over the salmon and your choice of side salad, garnish & lime

Serve with salad and sweet potato mash.

GET READY FOR A TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN EXETER, AS TURTLE BAY ARRIVES IN DEVON

Exeter’s Met Office should be forecasting for sunny times ahead as Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant and bar prepares to roll into it’s first city in Devon! It’s all about rum, reggae and jerk this summer! 

Turtle Bay is set to open its doors to Exeter on the 23rd August, bringing a new, vibrant and delicious Caribbean dining and drinking experience to the city.

The 215 seat, £800K, 4015 sqft Exeter restaurant will be located in Guildhall Shopping and Dining Centre.

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The new venture is to create over 50 local jobs. Team Turtle Bay is still recruiting; so local hopefuls should visit https://turtlebayjobs.clickandhire.net to register interest.

Turtle Bay is all about celebrating the lively, colourful, soulful and, above all, delicious experiences that the Caribbean has to offer  – from rich and explosive flavours to laid back ‘liming’. Their mission is to capture the spirit of celebration that the Caribbean is famed for around the globe – making customers happy by delivering a hedonistic combination of joyous food, wicked drinks and a fun, laidback atmosphere. It’s a welcoming and sociable destination.

The restaurant is designed to create the perfect atmosphere for enjoying bold, spicy food and drink, and its ‘look’ is as vibrant and lively as you might expect, with each restaurant designed bespoke for its location.

The Exeter restaurant will be no exception. In fact the team have pulled out all the stops for their first restaurant in Devon, which will be a beach-shack-inspired ray of sunshine. The bold, bright, joyful interior will be designed to transport Exeter guests to sunnier climes, but will feature a smart, urban edge befitting the city’s status as a cosmopolitan, innovative city.

HH Turtle Bay Food Shoot BBQ Pineapple 001

As well as the stunning ‘island hut’ bar, there’ll be a special veranda dining areas, plus a vibrant, open ‘street kitchen’.

High-impact colour schemes and bespoke wall murals will be in abundance, as well as Turtle Bay’s trademark use of reclaimed materials. Exeter customers can expect to see repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood and chequer-plate and disused speakers… all making up one totally unique restaurant.

Food is at the heart of the Turtle Bay experience – just as it’s central to the heart and soul of Caribbean culture. An eclectic cuisine that is influenced by a rich tapestry of ethnicities, the food at Turtle Bay offers a vast choice of bold flavours and rustic dishes, all inspired by the laid back, social outlook of the Caribbean. The menu is meticulously researched and lovingly created.

Dishes are brimming with zesty flavours and spicy hues – there’s plenty to share or dig into alone.

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The offering includes ‘Cutters’ (inspired by Beach Shacks and Street Hawkers of the Caribbean Islands  – perfect for sharing over cocktails); the Jerk BBQ Pit (which is exactly as fiery as it sounds); ‘One Pots’ (rich, slowly simmered and uniquely Caribbean) and Lunch and Light (a briefer encounter with the Caribbean). Signature dishes include their famous Jerk Chicken and Curry Goat.

This is fuss-free soul food for individuals that love, and live, to eat!

The bar offering is something to behold with a menu of more than 40 Caribbean rums to choose from, all used to create a cocktail list that’s as cool and credible as you’d expect from a culture that brought us Bob Marley.

Turtle Bay’s happy hour lasts from 11.30am – 7pm and then starts up again at 10pm! This makes it the happiest happy hour in town with ALL of their cocktails available at 241 during that time – it’s a must for cocktail lovers and rum enthusiasts all week long.

Visit the website www.turtlebay.co.uk/exeter

Send them an email! exeter@turtlebay.co.uk

First entries for Queen St ‘Find A Foodie’ Revealed

Overwhelming Response to Exeter’s Food Entrepreneur Search

Fledgling foodies in and around Exeter have risen to the ‘Find a Foodie’ challenge launched by Queen St to discover the ‘next big thing’ in food, taking the first step closer to being part of culinary revolution right in the heart of Exeter city centre.

The call for entries to discover an entrepreneur, an individual or a team with an enterprising idea, a signature dish or an innovative food product was launched in line with this year’s Exeter Food Festival at the end of April.

Bowled Over by Variety

The team behind Find a Foodie and the development of the £12m culinary hub at Queen St have been met by tidal wave of interest from those who feel they have the energy and drive to bring their foodie ideas to a wider audience at the much anticipated dining quarter.

Organisers have been truly bowled over by the variety of creative enterprises covering a whole range of flavours, tastes and techniques in the first tranche of Find a Foodie entries.

Some of the expressions of interests received so far include foodies specialising in Devon crab, vegan ice cream, sushi, southern Italian dishes, cupcakes and bakes, locally sourced fine dining, superfoods, hummus, macaroni cheese, stuffed rolls, Mexican dishes andlocally sourced burgers. Each entrant hoping they have what it takes to become the Queen St Foodie.

Eyes on the Prize

The entrants have all been inspired to enter by the ‘Find a Foodie’ impressive package of support, which includes:

– A purpose built kiosk to trade from free of charge in Queen St, for 3 months

– Branding advice and identity development from a leading premium brand agency

– Marketing/PR planning and support from the agencies launching Queen St

– A free advertising package to assist launch the venture

– Mentoring from a successful food entrepreneur

– Free legal, finance and business advice from Exeter based practices and high street bank

Got a Recipe for Success? Still Time to Enter

There is still time to enter Find a Foodie, you can register your interest at queenst-exeter.com up until the end of the day on Monday 11 July 2016.

Entrants will be shortlisted by an especially selected expert panel, made up of business and food industry judges. Those selected will be invited to showcase their menus and products and compete against other entrants during the summer at the Queen St. Street Food Markets, where the general public will get to vote for their favourites in a taste test round.

The winner will then receive the life changing opportunity to trade for 3 month’s free of charge, with expert advice and support from business mentors, marketing and branding, legal and finance and overall promotion of the Queen St dining quarter.

ICE CREAM

Queen St still want to hear from more people, between now and the 11 July 2016, who think they have or know someone that could become the ‘next big thing’ in food.

Entry is easy, just visit the website www.queenst-exeter.com and click on the ‘Find a Foodie’ tab for more information, the prize, terms and conditions and how to enter.

Fully open by the end of August, the Queen St line up is Absurd Bird, Comptoir Libanais, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), Grillstock, KuPP, The Stable, The Terrace and Turtle Bay. The dining quarter also has wonderful and welcoming new open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment.

Just some entrants so far include:

Big Bakes Bakery run by Charlie Deeley and Ryan Bolton from Torquay.
Make artisan cupcakes, cakes, biscuits and bakes.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Bigbakesbakery
Twitter: @BigBakesBakery / Instagram: @bigbakesbakery

Richenza’s run by Sam Warren from Farringdon, near Exeter,
Signature dish is Devon crab salad with ginger, chilli and coriander, served with his own smoked mackerel on a bed of rocket and bruschetta, garnished with langoustine bisque dressing. All ingredients are locally sourced, including the wood for the charcoal.

Simushi Sushi run by Peter Simmons from Exeter
Makes Sushi which is sold from the trailer at local events and by home delivery. http://www.simushisushi.co.uk/

Mindyourfood run by Sophie Lloyd from Exeter
Mindyourfood aims to encourage awareness of mental health by providing a menu which is rich in brain foods.

Pickle Shack run by Jodie Sawatzki and Josh McDonald-Johnson near Woodbury Salterton near Exeter. Local produce, fine dining at pop-up restaurants including weddings and corporate events. www.pickleshack.co.uk
Twitter: @pickle_shack

Nice n Cheesy
run by Caroline Lee
Gourmet macaroni cheese dishes including signature dish, Greek pasticcio – a lightly spiced lamb mince with tomato sauce, layered with macaroni cheese.

Taco-Macho Food run by Gustavo Lara-Perez from Exeter
Mexican burritos with various fillings, including beef, chicken, pork and vegetarian varieties using local ingredients.

Follow Queen St Dining on Facebook and Twitter for more information about the competition.

 

Queen St Dining announces the ‘Find A Foodie’ Competition Launch…

Opening in August 2016, Exeter’s exciting new Queen St dining quarter will be the
city’s premium dining location. This £12m culinary hub will be home to eight
restaurants serving food and drink to cater for all tastes and budgets, day and night.

If that wasn’t exciting enough the Queen St team have now launched their search for a
budding chef, secret baker, gastronomic genius or someone who produces ‘great grub’

Find a Foodie is an opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to be part of this ‘best in class’ dining revolution and receive an incredible package of support and guidance from leading industry figures to help make someones dreams a reality.

The aim of Find A Foodie is to discover an entrepreneur, an individual or a team with an enterprising idea, a signature dish or an innovative product, created at home or already trading on a small scale, and helping them bring it to bigger audience at Queen St.

Once found, the ‘Queen St Foodie’ will receive:
• A purpose built kiosk to trade from free of charge in Queen St, for 3 months
• Branding advice and identity development from a leading premium brand agency
• Marketing/PR planning and support from the agencies launching Queen St.
• A free advertising package to assist launch the venture
• Mentoring from a successful food entrepreneu
• Free legal, finance and business advice from Exeter based practices and high
street bank

The Find a Foodie coaching and mentoring team will be announced in May when the first round of keen Foodies will also be revealed.

Help us Find a Foodie

It’s takes creativity, skills, drive and determination to take a kitchen table idea and turn it into a business. Queen St’s Find a Foodie provides a route, that vital next step, to help a budding foodie to realise their ambitions, with specialist support and guidance along the way.

Fledgling foodies are invited to register their interest in this opportunity to showcase their culinary skills via Queen St website: http://www.queenst-exeter.com and provide some details about themselves, their product, dish or innovative food related enterprise.

Entrants will be shortlisted by an especially selected expert panel, made up of business and food industry judges. Those selected will be invited to showcase their menus and products and compete against other entrants during the summer at the Queen St. Street Food Markets where the general public will get to vote for their favourites in a taste test round.

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The winner will then receive the life changing opportunity to trade for 3 month’s free of charge, with expert advice and support from business mentors, marketing and branding, legal and finance and overall promotion of the Queen St dining quarter.

Queen St want to hear from people who think they have or know someone that could become the ‘next big thing’ in food.

Visit the website www.queenst-exeter.com and click on the ‘Find a Foodie’ tab for more information, the prize, terms and conditions and how to enter.

Fully open by the end of August, the Queen St line up is Absurd Bird, Comptoir Libanais, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), Grillstock, KuPP, The Stable, The Terrace and Turtle Bay. The dining quarter also has wonderful and welcoming new open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment.

Absurd Bird announced to open in the Queen St Dining Quarter

Image credit: Absurd Bird

Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (‘Aviva’), confirmed yesterday (Thursday 21 April 2016) that a new Southern US inspired gourmet chicken brand, Absurd Bird, will be the eighth restaurant, completing the line up at Exeter’s exciting new Queen St dining quarter.

With their restaurant in London’s Spitalfields opening just last month and another branch opening in Soho very soon, Exeter has been selected by Absurd Bird for the opening of their first restaurant outside the capital. For Aviva Investors, signing up Absurd Bird marks a culinary milestone for Exeter’s Queen St dining, the final name to be announced in this £12m redevelopment.

Describing themselves as ‘Chicken by Birth, Crazy by Nature’, Absurd Bird has been three years in the making and the brainchild of a whimsical entrepreneur and dedicated foodie, the attention to detail is both extraordinary and highly impressive. Absurd Bird crashed in to the London scene with a wholly encompassing brand philosophy: celebrate difference by celebrating the absurd. The food itself is like the ambience that accompanies it, modern yet nostalgic, sophisticated yet humble, comfortable yet innovative.

Combining the talents of a renowned fine dining chef with the creativity of a wildly imaginative global restaurateur and a team of world-class operational management. With traditional free range, slow farm rearing specialist Fosse Meadows Farm as their suppliers, Absurd Bird use Cotswold White and Cotswold Gold chickens, all smoked on site at Queen St dining.

The food promises to startle: whole spatch-cocked smoked chicken which is hot smoked in house or the crispy, fried chicken on a waffle – marinated overnight in buttermilk is all they would tell us. Simon Green, Director of Aviva Investors said: “Aviva Investors is delighted to be able to announce Absurd Bird as the final name in the Queen St dining line-up. They have made quite an impact in London, generating a lot of excitement among the capital’s diners. Absurd Bird will be taking just under 4000 sq. ft of Queen St dining across restaurant, bar and outside seating space. We are really thrilled to have them on board, complimenting the mix of exciting eateries we have already announced.”

Not just Chicken!

Exeter will be introduced to “jalapeno cheese biscuits”, “hurricane popcorn”, “corn bread pudding” and “sweet potato marshmallow bake”. Then to follow there’s “orange honey coleslaw”, “crack pie” or for adults only, “dipsy cake”! The drinks are of the highest quality thanks to a partnership with expert mixologists, Soul Shakers. Moonshine is making a comeback at The Absurd Bird Bar, a chic area located beneath the restaurant.

Mark Hall from Absurd Bird said: “We were very keen to bring Absurd outside of London, where we think there is an opportunity in the market for our brand. Exeter was always a city on our radar, with a vibrant heart to the city centre, and a great demographic to enjoy our offer. We were also knocked out by the fantastic development of Queen St dining, and the opportunity to be part of something brand new.”

Absurd Bird complete the Queen St dining line up joining Comptoir Libanais, Turtle Bay, The Stable, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), The Terrace, Grillstock and KuPP. With all the top quality food and drink operators who will be taking up Queen St dining’s fixed outlets now made public, Aviva’s vision to create ‘the place’ to eat, drink and socialise in Exeter, day or night, will move in to the next stage as each individual restaurant begins to shape.

Over the coming months, there are a number of exciting initiatives still to be revealed, which will allow Exeter residents to get involved in the city’s emerging dining quarter. Queen St dining will be fully open by the end of August, complete with all the new open air spaces which have been especially redesigned for markets, entertainment and other food events to complement the exciting wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes.

The Queen St project is seeing the Guildhall Shopping Centre’s neo-classical façade on Queen Street transformed, a new entrance from the high street is underway and the three public spaces within the centre itself are being re-invented: Market Square, bordered by amphitheatre-style seating areas, St Pancras Square overlooking the beautiful 13th-Century St Pancras Church and Goldsmith Square, making them all more welcoming and attractive to shoppers and diners alike.

http://www.absurdbird.com/

Comptoir Libanais announced to open in the Queen St Dining Quarter

All images credit Comptoir Libanais

Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (‘Aviva’) confirmed today (Thursday 21 April 2016) that Lebanese restaurant Comptoir Libanais, will be the seventh restaurant to join Exeter’s exciting new Queen St dining quarter. In signing up Comptoir Libanais, this announcement from Aviva Investors is being heralded as another major coup for Queen St dining, Exeter and the South West.


The hugely popular Comptoir Libanais, has twelve restaurants in the UK, eight of which are in central London, will be located on the corner of the newly re-modelled Market Square and St Pancras Square and will cover just under 3,300 sq. ft of Queen St dining including outside seating space. Comptoir Libanais specialises in fresh, healthy and affordable Lebanese dishes, from lamb kofta and shish taouk cooked on a charcoal grill to wholesome and hearty slow-cooked tagines.

Open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner to eat in or take out, the beautiful souk-like interiors of their canteen and delicatessens have a buzzy, Middle Eastern café feel. Decorative ceramic tiles are a feature of Comptoir Libanais restaurants and all feature the face of the Arabic actress, Sirine Jamal al Dine on the walls, menus and takeaway packaging. Chaker Hanna, CEO of Comptoir Libanais said: “We are delighted to be opening our first restaurant in The West Country. Queen St is such an amazing development in a thriving city.


We are working closely with Aviva Investors to create a restaurant to showcase the best of Lebanese cuisine to the local community, businesses and families as well as the millions of visitors to Exeter from the UK and afar at very affordable prices.” Tony Kitous, Founder & Creative Director of Comptoir Libanais added: “We cannot wait to open in Exeter – it’s so exciting to be spreading the food, culture and hospitality of Lebanon to such an amazing and invigorating city. Our cuisine is healthy, fresh and colourful and has been created for everyone including families and vegetarians. We look forward to opening our doors to lots of mezze-lovers!” Aviva has attracted a wide variety of top quality food and drink operators to Queen St dining, to create ‘the place’ to eat, drink and socialise in Exeter day or night.

Anticipation among city residents and visitors continues to grow as regeneration of the buildings and public spaces begin to reveal themselves to the public. Simon Green, Director of Aviva Investors said: “Aviva Investors is thrilled to be able to bring Comptoir Libanais to join us at Queen St dining. Adding Lebanese cuisine to the mix brings something totally unique to the Dining Quarter and their prominent position overlooking two of our new public spaces provides the perfect location for this incredibly popular and exciting restaurant.

Comptoir Libanais welcome everybody through their doors and it won’t be long now before city diners get the chance to enjoy the flavours of the Middle East at Queen St Dining.” The new open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment along with all eight restaurants which make up Queen St Dining will be fully open by the end of August. Comptoir Libanais join Turtle Bay, The Stable, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), The Terrace, Grillstock and KuPP the final remaining restaurant to be revealed by Aviva imminently.

The Queen St project is seeing the Guildhall Shopping Centre’s neo-classical façade on Queen Street transformed, a new entrance from the high street is underway and the three public spaces within the centre itself are being reinvented: Market Square, bordered by amphitheatre-style seating areas, St Pancras Square overlooking the beautiful 13th-Century St Pancras Church and Goldsmith Square, making them all more welcoming and attractive to shoppers and diners alike.

For further information about Comptoir Libanais visit www.comptoirlibanais.com / for more information about the Queen St redevelopment, please visit: www.queenst-exeter.com

KuPP announced for Queen St Dining Quarter

Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (‘Aviva’) confirmed today (9 March 2016) that KuPP, the Scandinavian-inspired casual dining concept – Food Drink Coffee & Store – will be the sixth restaurant to join Exeter’s exciting new Queen St Dining quarter.

KuPP signed contracts with Aviva Investors last week and this will be KuPP’s first site outside London, marking yet another huge boost for Exeter as a dining location. Aviva have been working hard to secure a wide selection of food and drink operators to create a unique dining offer at Queen St Dining and KuPP is the latest ingredient in this mix.

Beer Tanks_Kupp_CREDIT KuPP

KuPP will be set over two floors complete with outside seating in Market Square, occupying just under 6,000 sq. ft of Queen St Dining. Inspired by Scandinavia, the menu is designed for grazing, sharing and social eating. KuPP uses fresh, quality produce, lovingly sourced with provenance at its heart.  The simple, colourful and flavourful food will focus on Scandinavian ingredients and using cooking techniques such as in-house pickling, curing and smoking. Enjoy alongside tank conditioned beer, a well considered wine list, fresh juices & cocktails such as KuPP’s Aquavit Collins.

Drawing on inspiration from the Swedish Fika style of enjoying a coffee break, which is more about socialising than drinking coffee, KuPP will feature its own unique espresso and filter coffee blend, created especially for the brand and complemented by freshly baked breads and pastries, which customers can enjoy in store or as ‘grab & go’ items.

Simon Green, Director of Aviva Investors said: “It gives me immense pride that we at Aviva Investors can announce that KuPP will be joining us at Exeter’s Queen St Dining. The success of their London Paddington restaurant and their decision to come to Queen St Dining is a great vote of confidence for this ambitious project to create a legacy for the city and our customers”

KuPP Dining & Sharing_CREDIT KuPP

There is a huge interest in Scandinavian dining and KuPP will be bringing something quite unique to the mix of cuisine at Queen St Dining, to Exeter and the wider South West.” Steve Cox from KuPP said: “We are really excited about bringing KuPP to Exeter and being part of Queen St Dining. We considered many locations for our first casual dining venue outside the capital and we feel the city and the location is exactly the right choice. We pride ourselves on our ability to gather & select the finest ingredients & products from British & Scandinavian suppliers. KuPP represents all that we love about coffee, food, drink and Scandinavia and we want to share this with our customers. Whether it be fresh food, an enjoyable drink with friends or the perfect coffee, KuPP will offer local residents and businesses an honest, warm and friendly experience delivered with real passion and knowledge from our teams. In addition, there will be a little bit of our favourite things available in our store for guests to purchase and take home with them.”

When fully open by the end of August, Exeter’s Queen St Dining will have eight restaurants in total along with wonderful new open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment. KuPP will be joining Turtle Bay, The Stable, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), The Terrace and Grillstock which have all previously been announced, with the remaining two restaurants to be named by Aviva in the coming weeks.

KuPP Dining Table_CREDIT KuPP

The Queen St project is seeing the Guildhall Shopping Centre’s neo-classical façade on Queen Street transformed, a new entrance from the high street is underway and the three public spaces within the centre itself are being re-invented: Market Square, bordered by amphitheatre-style seating areas, St Pancras Square overlooking the beautiful 13th Century St Pancras Church and Goldsmith Square, making them all more welcoming and attractive to shoppers and diners alike.

For further information about KuPP visit http://www.kupp.co for more information about the Queen St redevelopment, please visit: http://www.queenst-exeter.com

Grillstock to open in Exeter

The Dining Quarter is going to be one of the biggest things to hit Exeter next year, and one of the names that is coming is getting me very excited.  For the dedicated meat-heads amongst you, this is a definite bonus… scroll down for professional photographs and the press release!


Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (‘Aviva’) announced today (18 November 2015) that American BBQ smokehouse, Grillstock will be the fifth restaurant to join Exeter’s exciting new Queen St dining quarter.

Grillstock signed contracts with Aviva Investors last week for their smokehouse restaurant which will face the newly remodeled Market Square, which with its amphitheatre-style seating areas, is set to become one of the main focus points of the whole £12m redevelopment.

Described as ‘meat, music and mayhem’, Grillstock began as an open air festival held in Bristol in 2010 which was so popular the founders quickly opened their first year-round smokehouse. Born out of a deep love for American BBQ and the culture that surrounds it. The Grillstock concept is simple, Southern style hospitality, ‘cooking meat with fire and smoke, all getting together around a big table with family and friends, kicking back to great music’.

Simon Green, Associate Director of Aviva Investors said: “Aviva Investors are delighted to announce that Grillstock will be coming to Exeter’s Queen St Dining. Their hugely popular smokehouses are lively and welcoming and provide an new ingredient in the mix of restaurants we have revealed to date. Work is really progressing well on the Queen St project and in addition to signing up tenants, we will shortly be announcing our plans for re-opening parts of the public realm, allowing shoppers to explore some of the newly re-modelled spaces in the lead up to the busy Christmas period, and get a glimpse of what is still to come.”

Jon Finch, Grillstock, Managing Director added: “We can’t wait to bring our Southern style hospitality to Queen St Dining. Grillstock will be cooking up a storm for Devon diners and visitors to Exeter from all over the world. Our smokehouse in Market Square will provide the perfect location for BBQ fans to appreciate our distinctive offering of authentic recipes, US beers and our relaxed, communal dining experience.” Grillstock currently has six smokehouses across the UK (Bath, Walthamstow, Leicester, Liverpool and two in Bristol), and hold annual open air live events in Bristol, Manchester and London. Like their sister restaurants, Exeter’s Grillstock will be taking ‘big hunks of meat and smoke them low ‘n’ slow fresh on site every day’.

When fully open, Exeter’s Queen St Dining will have eight restaurants in total along with wonderful new open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment. Turtle Bay, The Stable, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) and The Terrace have all been announced to date, with the remaining three restaurants to be named by Aviva in the coming months.

The Queen St project is seeing the Guildhall Shopping Centre’s neo-classical façade on Queen Street transformed, a new entrance from the high street is underway and the three public spaces within the centre itself are being re-invented: Market Square, bordered by amphitheatre-style seating areas, St Pancras Square overlooking the beautiful 13th-Century St Pancras Church and Goldsmith Square, making them all more welcoming and attractive to shoppers and diners alike. For further information about Grillstock visit http://grillstock.co.uk/ for more information about the Queen St redevelopment, please visit: http://www.queenst-exeter.com