Salcombe Gin named World’s Best Gin at World Drinks Awards

The results are in! The final achievements of the World Drinks Awards 2017 were announced at a lunch during the Whiskies & Spirits Conference on 30 March 2017 at the Waldorf Hotel in London.  South Devon’s Salcombe Distilling Co. is once again celebrating success with two more impressive wins.

Salcombe Gin_World Gin Awards Certificate

In addition to Gold awarded at the prestigious World Drinks Awards last December, hand distilled ‘Start Point’ Gin scooped a further two awards for World’s Best Gin in the Technical Excellence and Premium Design sub categories. An impressive accolade for this new brand launched in July 2016, in a category against hundreds of other spirits from around the world.

The co-founders of Salcombe Distilling Co. are Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies. Commenting on the award wins, Angus says: “We were delighted at the end of last year when Salcombe Gin was awarded a Gold in the internationally renowned World Drinks Awards.  To then be given these two further awards is beyond brilliant.”  Angus continues: “When we set out to make the world’s best classic London Dry style gin we had no idea that we would start hitting this point in such a short space of time.”

Howard adds: “It is a real testament to our hardworking team in Salcombe and a fantastic reward for all the time, energy and dedication which has gone into creating Salcombe Gin.”

In addition to this award-winning gin, Salcombe Distilling Co. also has a bar overlooking the Salcombe estuary and has recently launched a Gin School where the curious gin lover can develop and distil their very own bottle of gin.

Refreshing, delicious and super smooth Salcombe Gin is hand distilled in South Devon using only the finest hand sourced ingredients. This new gin is produced using thirteen carefully selected botanicals distilled in a beautiful copper pot still with the finest English wheat spirit and blended with pure Dartmoor water to produce a gin of extraordinary quality and elegance with no compromise.
Angus and Howard have an uncompromising approach to quality and an almost obsessive attention to detail which has resulted in this perfectly balanced citrus led, hand crafted gin.

Perfect served on its own over ice or with a premium tonic water accompanied by a slice of ruby red grapefruit to complement the rich and warm citrus notes, Salcombe Gin also makes a cracking dry Martini with a twist of red grapefruit peel.

Inspired by the history of the Salcombe ‘Fruiters’, locally built sailing vessels which imported citrus fruits and spices to England from the Azores, West Indies and Mediterranean in the 19th century, Salcombe Gin is distilled with a precise blend of ruby grapefruit, lemon and lime peels to give their gin a refreshing citrus edge. These citrus fruits are hand peeled every morning immediately prior to distillation for extra freshness to ensure citrus oils are captured at their best. Liquorice adds a touch of sweetness and green cardamom lengthens the finish without ever being overly dominant, whilst chamomile flowers and bay leaf provide a balanced floral note.

These citrus flavours and floral aromas work in harmony with the heady, earthy and resinous pine notes of the finest Macedonian juniper and combine wonderfully with the warming spiced citrus notes from English coriander seeds. Cubeb berries from Java provide fruity peppery heat balanced with warming spice from cinnamon bark.

Of utmost importance and often overlooked in gin distillation is the quality of the water used. Salcombe Gin use some of the purest and softest water in England, originating from high up in the wilds of Dartmoor National Park. This naturally soft water means no water softeners are required at any step of the process, resulting in a stunningly refreshing, yet characteristically smooth gin.

Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ 44% 70cl bottle (£37.50) is available to buy nationwide from various retailers including Fortnum & Mason, farm shops, food halls and delicatessens plus from the Salcombe Gin website www.salcombegin.com and can be purchased directly at the distillery.

For those looking for the perfect gift for the gin connoisseur then they need look no further than a beautiful handmade wooden gift box containing a bottle of Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ and an elegant pair of engraved Dartington Crystal tumblers for the ‘perfect serve’ of Salcombe Gin (£65).

For more information about Salcombe Gin visit www.salcombegin.com,
email ilovegin@salcombegin.com or call 01548 288180. To keep up to date with the latest news follow @SalcombeGin on Twitter and ‘like’
 SalcombeGin on Facebook. 

Advertisements

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.

 

Base and Barley’s New Burger Menu – by Lauren Heath

I was recently invited to a bloggers evening at Base and Barley following the release of their new burger menu. I have seen all manner of burger puns being shared over Twitter recently: “Does my bun look big in this?” and “lets ketchup over dinner then burger off for a dance at the meatball”…let’s move on before this get’s too cheesy!

Having visited previously when they first opened and tried their pizza offering, I can understand why they may want to expand the menu slightly to appeal even more to their target audience. There are already plenty of burger options in the city, but none of them offer pizza too, so I guess this would happily satisfy a family or group of mixed tastes.

C360_2016-08-02-16-41-46-886_resized

On arrival we were offered a variety of beers, prosecco and cocktails to try. Whilst I am already a fan of prosecco (no convincing needed there!) Steve tried some of the beers; their selection has expanded which now includes one of their own local brews on tap. As well as beers on tap, they have bottled beers from the UK and beyond. Steve tried Curious Brew which is a premium lager, re-fermented with Champagne yeast which definitely had that light flavour and fizz at the end of each mouthful. He also loved the Einstock Icelandic White Ale which features the complex flavours of the classic witbier, including orange peel and coriander – all brewed with pure Icelandic water.

The cocktails served included my favourite Espresso Martini, and one I haven’t tried before called a Pornstar Martini – a passionfruit based martini served with a shot of prosecco on the side! The cocktail is very sweet so the shot is there to cleanse the palate as you go, it looked very pretty.

The burgers then followed; we were served a selection of everything, served exactly as it would be for the diner, with a mixture of normal and sweet potato fries on the side. First of all, and everyone agreed with a variety of sounds as we politely nibbled fries before delving into the burgers, the sweet potato fries were excellent! They were thicker than you would normally find and were not oily or limp as I have experienced before – they were delicious! Another obvious agreement was how nice the brioche buns were, very light and fluffy.

The homemade burgers include fresh (purple) house slaw and skin on fries and we tried the Vegetarian burger (£9.95), Chicken burger (£10.95) and the Fully Loaded burger (£10.95). This seems a fair price considering other local venues charge similar but with fries costing extra.

The Vegetarian consists of a chickpea, sweetcorn, coriander and paprika patty served with batavia lettuce, red onion, tomato and smoked garlic chutney and mayonnaise in a brioche bun.  It was very tasty and a soft texture. It was quite squishy (for want of a better word) but this was clearly homemade.

C360_2016-08-02-16-41-07-434_resized

The Fully loaded consisted of homemade beef pattie blended with sweet roquito peppers (slightly hot) served with crispy bacon, emmental cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion and house sauce in a brioche bun. It was a very tasty, juicy burger with a good texture and the meat is purchased from a local butcher. I also really enjoyed the house sauce which you could clearly taste.

C360_2016-08-02-16-41-31-327_resized

The Chicken burger was a piri piri chicken breast, tomato, red onion, batavia lettuce and cooling mint and cucumber yoghurt in a brioche bun. Another delicious option, with a meaty chicken breast and well topped.

C360_2016-08-02-16-42-21-590_resized

Base and Barley’s surroundings are relaxing with light wooded booths in the restaurant area decorated with fairy lights, and a bar area of high stools and tall tables. They welcome all guests, especially families, and kids eat for £1!

All in all, we were pleased to ‘meat’ the new additions to Base and Barley’s menu and suggest you give them a try. If you feel like reading some ‘cheesy’ burger puns, find the action on Twitter by searching for #burgerpun. Now ‘burger’ off to Base and Barley and you’ll be sure of love at first bite!

 

Exeter Cookery School: The launch – by Chris Gower

https://www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk/

On Friday night I was chuffed to be invited along to the launch of Exeter Cookery School. A fantastic development on Exeter Quayside providing quality cookery education; from patisserie to meat, you can learn from some of the best culinary talents on the beautiful quayside at the heart of Exeter.

It was a year ago that we celebrated their initial launch at Sapphire Spaces.  Since that initial launch, Jim and Lucy have been busily spreading the word and networking their socks off to raise awareness and bring Exeter Cookery School in to the limelight.

We’ve really been rooting for Jim and Lucy from the start. Two lovely individuals who have worked tirelessly to spread the word in the year or so that the school has been readying. Slowly but surely it has come to fruition, and last night the great and the good of Exeter came to raise a glass and eat some canapes in their honour.

Then with some awesome people we headed over to Pizza Stein who were incredibly accommodating and let us have the last few dough balls left. Beautiful pizza, amazing company and funky tasting raspberry beer.

Thanks to Pizza Stein for being so accommodating and for the free bread and olives too!

The hunt for Exeter’s best veggie breakie (part deux) by Stephanie Darkes

84 Queen St, Exeter, EX4 3RP – 01392 201 181

Last week it was my birthday and post-party night I was desperate for a top drawer veggie breakfast. So I turned to the oracle that is Twitter for some suggestions and plenty came back including: The Cosy Club, Tea on the Green and Bills, all of which have been added to my ‘Breakfast List’ – which is a bit like a ‘Bucket List’ but is made up purely of vegetarian breakfast eateries!

After some post-Prosecco faffing and website hopping we opted for Boston Tea Party, an eatery that was also recommended to me in my early days of moving to Exeter but I had never made it to.

BTP seem to be part of the new wave of indie eatery chains that recognise the need to act local and think Global. On their site, they describe themselves as a Funky cafe chain serving up breakfast, burgers, salads and baked goods with sustainable ingredients, they also say that they recognise bigger isn’t better and that they design each cafe to be a one off cherished local – a return to the tradition of the UK cafe as a social hub, and what a great ethos that is!

Downstairs is a bit like Pret takeaway, with places to eat, a quick grab fridge and busy tills to buy coffee and order. But that is where the Pret similarities end, BTP doesn’t feel generic and plasticised, it’s organic, wooden and wholesome.

That morning BTP was bustling, seemingly a favourite haunt for students, it was graduation weekend and all the students in town seem to be here with their parents. We hustled in, chose our food and ordered very quickly at the bar. Sweetcorn hash for me, with a soya milk cappuccino and a green vegetable juice smoothie. Espresso and stacked pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for the hubby. I headed upstairs to get a table and they were almost all taken!

Upstairs, the room was vast and very blue with mis-matched wooden furniture ranging from – what looked like – wallpaper pasting tables to little wooden chairs from church. There were some comfy padded chairs all of which are very brown.

I like the ‘reclaimed’ look and I love seeing venues that promote recycling and reuse, I also like an eatery with soul and BTP’s values – never compromising on quality, honouring collective social responsibilities and dreaming of a better world – sing to me in a big way.

I sat down and people watched and felt very at home.

image3

Cutlery, water and condiments are all self served and hubby returned with our table number and bits and bobs and sat down to read one of the cafe’s papers. On one of the walls there is a massive notice board where people are allowed to pin posters for events around Exeter, this was full to the brim. As someone who has previously run a local music venue, this is that kind of thing that really appeals to me, I’m very into giving local artist, groups and events exposure – keeping it local, supporting the community. The drinks came quite promptly and I drank my green veg smoothie in one go, it was a delicious combination of spinach, cucumber, banana, chia seeds, apple juice and lime, simple and refreshing. The soya cappuccino was also yummy and gave me the caffeine kick I needed. About 10 minutes later the food arrived, I was starving and not really sure what to expect, but the presentation was brilliant and world away from a bog standard, heavily greased cafe breakfast (not that the occasional greasy spoon fry-up is a bad thing mind).

image2

On my plate I had small balls of fried sweetcorn hash, slices of nicely grilled Halloumi, and two perfectly poached eggs placed lovingly on a mound of avocado smash with tomato salsa, drizzled in what I think was maple syrup and sprinkled with coriander and fresh mild red chill (not too much of the latter), it looked and smelt delicious.

I have to admit I was a bit concerned at the idea of Halloumi for breakfast and how it would taste with eggs but tucking in I revelled in the various flavours and textures, it was delicious, the softness of the eggs, the crunch of the hash and the chew of the halloumi combined with the sweetness of the syrup and the kick from the chillis was a taste sensation. I ate it as slowly as possible so that I could make it last for as long as possible and when I’d finished I wanted to eat it all over again!

image3

At this stage I’d like to point out that I am not exaggerating or being paid to write this, this was a seriously divine vegetarian breakfast! Hubby’s stacked pancakes and bacon also went down well but – on this breakfasting occasion – I had no bacon hankering and actually, I think he wanted to eat my food instead of his. It was that good. My breakfast verdict: This one will be hard to beat, it’s a great, imaginative, tasty and healthy vegetarian breakfast that a lot of thought has been put into (not a Quorn sausage in sight).

Boston Tea Party is a lovely eatery, with great staff and a great atmosphere, I was very, very impressed!

You can find Exeter’s very own BTP here and check out their website here.

Boston Tea Party also have restaurants in Barnstable, Bath, Birmingham, Briston, Cheltenham, Harbone, Honiton, Plymouth, Ringwood, Salisbury, Stratford-Upon- Avon and Worcester.

You can also read about my first veggie breakie in Exeter at Base & Barley here

Rosemary, Onion & Potato Pizza from Chef Tom Allbrook

DSC_0305

Ingredients for the white pizza sauce:

1x tbsp. Plain flour
4x Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
300ml Milk
150g Parmesan
25g Unsalted butter

Method: In a saucepan place the milk, sliced garlic, butter, salt and pepper. Bring this up to a simmer then add the flour, mix well, and leave to stand on one side for use later. It may thicken a little so if this does happen. thin it down by adding a little warm water.

Ingredients for the Pizza dough:

500g Strong white flour
7g Instant yeast
320ml Tepid water
10g Salt
10g Sugar
Glug of oil

Method: In a bowl add the flour, salt, sugar, oil and yeast, and mix together slowly whilst pouring in your water. Once all ingredients are mixed to a dough, tip it out on to a floured surface and need for a couple of minutes. Break into individual balls about the same size as an egg, roll them in your hands until perfectly round, place on a floured tray and leave for about 40 mins to rise. Once they have risen scatter some flour on your work top, flatten out the dough with your hands and finish by rolling into any shape you like, with a rolling pin.

Topping:

1tsp. Finely grated parmesan
½ Mozzarella ball, torn up
1 X Thinly sliced cooked potato
2 X Sprigs of rosemary
Caramelised onions (The equivalent of one red onion)

Cook Pizzas at 240C (or as high as your oven goes) for about 10 – 12 minutes. This will make 8 small pizzas or 4 large ones.

Join Plymouth Gin for a Voyage of Discovery at the Plymouth Seafood Festival

My culinary journey this year has been one of many discoveries.  One of those discoveries has been the fact that I actually quite like Gin.  We tasted some lovely Gin from Conker Gin at the River Cottage Summer Fair, and I suddenly realised that this stuff was actually alright.  Never having been a Gin fan, this conversion was almost spiritual.  So imagine my over-excitement when I got an email from Isobel from the PR company looking after Plymouth Gin and their Voyage of Discover at The Plymouth Seafood Festival.

The sad part is that I’m unable to go, but it sounds like so much fun.

Plymouth Gin is still produced at The Black Friars Distillery, the UK’s oldest, where in 1793 Coates & Co. set up shop, producing Gin for the British Navy.  The Naval love of this drink saw it shipped all over the world, and by the time the Mixologists bible, The Savoy Cocktail Book, was published, the brand was one of the only ones to be named in the publication due to the love of this particular brand.

…I am slightly jealous of Plymouth on this count!

Plymouth Gin is proud to be headline sponsor of the 2015 Plymouth Seafood Festival, taking place at Plymouth Barbican and Sutton Harbour on 26 and 27 September. Plymouth Gin will be inviting gin and seafood lovers to join a Voyage of Discovery during the Festival where they can explore the fascinating maritime heritage of the brand in its hometown.

Visitors will be provided a Voyage of Discovery Passport to enjoy a gin education session with Plymouth Gin International Brand Ambassador, Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge and pick up tips at the Cookery Theatre Stage. Each exciting activity earns a stamp in your Voyage of Discovery Passport. Three stamps will be rewarded with a free tour of the iconic Black Friar’s Distillery, home of Plymouth Gin.

Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge, International Brand Ambassador, Plymouth Gin said “Plymouth Gin has a rich and authentic heritage in the city of Plymouth, and we are incredibly excited to share the story of brand at the 2015 Plymouth Seafood Festival. It doesn’t end there – our on-going Plymouth Restaurant Partnership will extend the Voyage of Discovery for the local community and visitors to the city”.

When the festival is over, the journey continues: this time in partnership with five renowned Plymouth restaurants; Barbican Kitchen, Rockfish, The River Cottage Plymouth, The Glassblowing House, and Rhodes @ The Dome. For eight weeks, Voyage of Discovery Passport holders are entitled to a free Plymouth Gin Classic Cocktail when ordering dinner at any participating restaurant, and can request a passport stamp on ordering two courses. Customers who collect three stamps will be invited to take the Master Distiller’s tour at the Black Friar’s Distillery – a fascinating in-depth tour which includes the opportunity to learn the secrets of gin distilling and create their own gin recipe to take home.

Sarah Gibson (nee O’Leary), Plymouth City Council, said: “With Plymouth Gin’s help we’ve grown the event this year to support hundreds of Waterfront businesses, attracting even more visitors to enjoy the cafés, restaurants, pubs and shops in the historic heart of the city. The Plymouth Gin Voyage of Discovery is unique and exciting as well as educational. Joining forces with some of the most well-known Waterfront restaurants this will no-doubt be popular amongst those gin and food lovers out there.

To participate, festival-goers can collect their Voyage of Discovery passport at stands 16 and 17. For more information on the Plymouth Seafood Festival, visit http://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/events/plymouth-seafood-festival-2015-p1365023 and to explore more about Plymouth Gin visit http://plymouthgin.com/.

Cote Brasserie, Cathedral Green

August 20th is our anniversary and this was the opportunity to go somewhere that had been recommended to us by more than one person. It definitely has a few fans by having a look at the feedback on Google and Facebook, including Latoyah at Sugar Pink Food. Cote Brasserie sits on the Exeter’s historic Cathedral Green within earshot of Michael Caines Abode and just a down the road from Southernhay House.  This is the end of town that you want to dress-up nicely for, so I was forced to wear a shirt.  Nor did I hump along my DSLR as this was a romantic meal, but I still took lots of photos with my phone.

The Cote Brasserie brand is about replicating the famous bistros of Paris, this is done through the interior and the uniforms as well as the food.  Also the ‘optional’ 12.4% Service Charge that is added on to the bill at the end, because darlings ‘service non compris’.  And does it go to the staff? No, of course not.

The atmosphere is friendly and congenial, as you walk through the restaurant there are smiles and greetings.  The friendliness is like walking through a party where, everyone knows you and they’re all dressed up as waiters and diners.  The bustle and hubbub invokes feeling of a continental night out, as we sat at our table with a Cathedral view (as requested when I booked the table) one could have been waiting for a friend with a silky French accent who was jetting in frow New York, or possibly having an interview with a political dissident for a high-brow broadsheet.  The experience of just sitting there waiting for our drinks, took us out of Exeter and mentally plonked us somewhere in Montmarte.

Cote Brasserie has some enticing items on their menu (10oz steaks, very reasonably priced) but we were going for their weekday offer.  The lunch and early evening offer seems fantastic value, between 12pm – 7pm but beware as it can be deceptively expensive (I know three courses for £11.90 is an amazing deal, and yes I know there is no pleasing some people, but hear me out!). Our meal included at £2.00 surcharge for Steak and Fries, and the waiter recommended that we have a side with the meal as it is just steak and chips, yes we could have just ignored this but that was an extra £5.50 on to the meal, and then the drinks which were stupidly priced (nearly £4.00 for a tiny bottle of Kronenburg? yup…) and the glass of wine which was as ever overpriced as these sorts of places are.  And the service charge too.

I will discuss my gripe about the service charge at the end, but let us not lose focus.  I started things off with a Carpaccio of Seasonal Golden Beetroot with Creme Fraiche, Pea Shoots and a Hazelnut Dressing which was delightful.  The Hazelnuts were less dressed on the plate, more frantically scattered but it was a lovely beginning to the rest of the meal which was, in terms of quality of taste, exceptional.  Tori had the Duck, Chicken and Ham Terrine which went down well with good meaty chunks, a well balanced starter.

We both had Steak Frites as the theme of the night was ‘Steak’ and we both had the hankering for a steak, so this was the perfect compromise.  A beaten minute steak served with fries; of course we had been talked in to having a sides too, which was a delicately dressed Green Salad.  The combination was very nice, and with the beautifully cooked steak, the delight of the main overshadowed the rather pale choice of desserts.
Again, I mustn’t grumble. This was a great set menu so far, and the ‘Peach Crumble’ with Normandy Butter Crumble and Vanilla Ice Cream was very tasty.  Tori had something chocolatey, which made her very happy.

The service throughout was great, we had about three waiters who were all very attentive  and eager to please.  When the Steak Frites came out, Tori had gone to the loo and the waiter attentively offered to put it under a hot lamp to prevent it going cold.  One thing that kept on striking me again and again was how excellent the service was.

So this brings me on to the prickly subject of the service charge.

I would happily have paid the whole service charge, generally the rule of thumb is 10%, but recently it has been revealed that this ‘optional’ service charge that is added to your bill does not go to the staff but straight to the company.  Their argument is that their staff is paid more than minimum wage and this practice allows them to do this, but within the article it quotes a member of Cote staff saying “We are told by management that we don’t get to keep the service charge because we get paid more than the minimum wage, so we should be grateful, but most of us would prefer earning the minimum wage and taking home our tips for the hard work we do,”

And not to be unfair to Cote, they say the following on their website. “Company policy is that where customers leave a cash tip, it is at the waiters’ discretion to keep it for themselves or to include it in a general pot with other members of staff. Any deviation from this policy will be investigated and disciplinary action taken where appropriate.” which makes no sense.

So lets conclude:

Pros – Excellent food and service.  If you can get a seat by the window, some beautiful scenery of the Cathedral.

Cons – Expensive drinks, dubious service charge, lots of stairs (not overly accessible if you’re not very mobile). Chain restaurant, why go here when you could support our local independents?

Given the whole curfuffle with the service charge fiasco, I can’t recommend this restaurant yet. If they were to change this policy, then I this would definitely change.

19-21 Cathedral Yard, Exeter, Devon EX1 1HB
01392 433406

Artigiano launches Create Your Own Cocktail Event

Create your own signature cocktail with Artigiano’s resident mixologists for the perfect night out in Exeter.  Artigiano, Exeter’s premier High Street Espresso and Wine Bar, who already offer entertainment with jazz on a Monday night and Acoustic Music Sessions on a Thursday, are launching the first create-your-own cocktail making experience in Exeter – perfect for those social events with a twist.

Created for groups of four, you will get a beautifully presented crate with all the ingredients and equipment you need to create three cocktails each per session for an introductory rate of £20 per person. Artigiano’s resident mixologists will then be on hand to help you create and mix your own cocktails. Why stop at just creating the cocktails? Why not do a blindfold test and pick the winning cocktail?

Alongside Artigiano’s existing entertainment evenings, this new experience offers the perfect night-time venue for a good night out with a group of friends.

Matt Williamson, Manager, is excited about being the first to offer this type of event in Exeter. “We’ve already established a great reputation for quality evening entertainment. We are adding the create-your-own cocktail experience to our ongoing strategy to offer evening entertainment seven days a week. We want to offer something for everyone, and our jazz Monday’s and Acoustic Thursdays are popular with the music fans of Exeter, but we wanted to do something that was social and fun too. And with our introductory rate at £20 per person, we are certain that this experience will prove to be very popular.”

Resident Artigiano mixologist, Simon Steel says “It is really exciting to be the first venue to introduce this experience to Exeter. It’s perfect for anyone looking for something a little bit different to mark a special occasion, or just a night out in Exeter The trials have been popular, full of laughter and great fun – for us as well as the customers.”

Artigiano has been on Exeter’s High Street for two years and. they are passionate about fine wines, craft beers and cocktails and, as well as offering artisan food and Artigiano’s own speciality coffee blends. Artigiano have a firm reputation with being an acoustic and jazz music venue and is established as one of the leading evening venue in Exeter.

Artigiano ‘Create Your Own Cocktail’ experience: The launch event!

In the world of food blogging, you’re generally on your own when it comes to finding things to write about.  Luckily I get invited to bits and bobs, which involve a certain degree of organisation.  Ask Tori (wife, designer and blog assistant extraordinaire) what I am like with times and dates.  I thought the event kicked off at 7:00pm, but it was actually 5:30pm so this is a testament to the fact that I sometimes misread things, or I sometimes just miss the point completely.  Tori even bought me a planner for Christmas that I keep looking at and thinking, ‘I should write in that’.

So we appeared at Artigiano in Exeter’s High St, not really knowing what to expect.  The event was in the midst of wrapping up, it wasn’t a drop in event but one that had a definite start time!.  The event in question was the ‘Create Your Own Cocktails’ launch event that Artigiano had organised to celebrate the launch of their new experience.

Although I didn’t get to mix any cocktails (to be fair I was driving as well, so might not have been a great idea!) the impressive collection of spirits and cocktail accessories really looked like it would be an exciting night, especially if you love your cocktails!

Artigiano is the first place in Exeter to offer this sort of experience.  So what happens? How does it all work?  I spoke to Matt Williamson (the Manager) about what happens.


Designed for groups of four, the experience costs £20 per head and will allow you to make up to three cocktails per person. Following the recipe book provided, tuition and guidance from Artigiano’s resident mixologist is available, so not only do you get to do some drinking but you learn something as well!  Booking is done in advance, and all of the spirits and glasses are provided as well.  You’ll be able to make a gin, rum and vodka based cocktail of your choice.

This sort of event would be ideal for a night out, something a little different. Artigiano already do Monday Jazz Nights and Acoustic Thursday’s; this event adds nicely to a line-up of exciting and attractive events that the High Street’s hippest spot already has on offer.

If you want to book a Create Your Own Signature Cocktail Experience, email the store at exeter@artigiano.uk.com

Thanks to John (Artigiano Director) for taking the time to have a chat with us, and providing some delicious pizza too which will feature as a separate post later in the week.  Thanks to Laura from Chalk and Ward for inviting us, and Sarah & Stacey who made us feel really welcome even though we were really late!

Q&A with John Magill, Owner-Brewer at The Powderkeg Brewery


You say Craft Beer is the future of beer in Britain and the fastest growing sector in the UK alcohol market.
Why?

You can compare craft beer’s potential with developments in the food industry. In many ways, Britain’s ‘real ale’ is still bedded in the 1970s, when food was still largely traditional English fare: pie and mash, roast beef and the like – tasty, comforting but unsophisticated. Access to authentic recipes and exciting ingredients from around the world has lead to a foodie revolution – the industry is booming, standards have skyrocketed, everyone’s interested, and we are all happier for it. This is the effect that Craft Beer has the potential to achieve for beer in the UK.

So how will Powderkeg be part of that?

Our brewery is built from brand new equipment, custom-designed to enable us to apply all the latest techniques. At Powderkeg we brew internationally-inspired beer styles. We will be launching with a German Pilsner called Cut Loose and an American Pale Ale named Speak Easy, but each will have a twist. For example, ‘Cut Loose’ is brewed using entirely traditional methods and ingredients sourced from Germany, but it will be brought bang up to date with a gentle ‘dry-hopping’ with a hop from New Zealand that will infuse a hint of lemon and lime.

What’s different about the hops?

New World hops from America, New Zealand, Australia, even Japan, are at the heart of our beers. We liken the difference to the terroir of wines. The climate and soil in which these hops are grown promote entirely different flavours in the hop flowers. With a skilled hand, we can draw out subtle hints of tropical fruits, citrus fruits, even white wine notes. This might sound a bit out-there for beer, but the results are stunning.

Aside from the brewing process, how is the company doing things differently?

We are making important progressions in the way we package our beer. For a start we are beginning the rehabilitation of the keg. Keg beers got bad press from CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) in the 1970s, but why hold a 40-year grudge against an inanimate object?  It was only ever the beer the breweries were putting in the kegs that was at fault.

Our beer is a local artisan product – hand-crafted in small batches, naturally carbonated during fermentation, matured to its best at the brewery, then quality tested with friends.  There is nothing artificial or industrial about the process. Packaging in kegs is then the perfect way to make sure that the beer at the bar is the beer we meant it to be, because the beer will not change once kegged.

Another further innovation is our use of ‘one-way kegs’. These containers keep the beer in perfect condition but are light weight and can be simply recycled at the point of use. They offer an 80% reduction in packaging weight resulting in huge improvements in our fuel emissions when transporting the beer. They also eliminate the need for all of the energy and chemicals that might otherwise be used to wash dirty kegs. So despite being disposable, they are actually a more environmentally-friendly option than traditional steel containers.

Sounds good. Any other green credentials?

Based at Greendale, we are able to utilise green energy from the new anaerobic digestion plant: electricity is generated at the plant, so that the spent grain from each brew is used to power the next.

Catch them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/powderkegbeer

The Cosy Club, Southernhay (New Summer Menu)

EE RecommendsWhen it opened two years ago, The Cosy Club really changed the playing field for chain restaurants in Exeter.  It was a new, quirky and it did some amazing cocktails.  You can read the original review here, its a little old so it is in need of an update.

Entering through what had been the chapel entrance of the old hospital, you are presented with one of more unique bar designs in Exeter.  Lofty ceilings with walls adorned with large pictures, the bar area is filled with natural light during the day and fends off any feeling of claustrophobia during the busiest evenings.

Through to the dining area, the clusters of lampshades and the reclaimed lights from the hangar that housed Concorde, cast a yellowy glow across the tables. Two painting that stuck in my mind was the full length portrait of Lenin and another called Lenin’s Plans for Electrification by L. Shmatko, which dominate the walls they sit on. There is also a bookable room called The Snug which I wasn’t able to visit, but I will save this for another day. The interior is a fantastic cavalcade of stuff, it is interesting without being cluttered.  Varied, yet sticking to distinct style and variety.

Fun fact – The bits of furniture that are emblazoned on the front of the cocktail bar were original pieces of furniture from the original hospital, of which The Cosy Club occupies of the ground floor of one wing.

When we visited last year, the food was safe yet imaginative – classic British cuisine with a bit of a spin, some friendly service and the sort of thing you expect from what I class ‘mid-casual dining’.  You won’t get chucked out for wearing trainers, but the prices and standard/quality of food surpass your average ‘pay-at-the-bar’ kind of establishment.

I didn’t give it a rating at the time as I was part of a large party and this isn’t really fair given the fact that I tend to rate places on there being two people.  But had I rated it, it would have been a solid 4/5 and under out new rating system I would recommend this restaurant as a place for a meal out in Exeter.  They coped with our large party really well last time.

I like the atmosphere and everyone is friendly, the staff are always eager to please and the food has always been very good.  Last week, we were invited over to have a look at their new summer menu.

We were served by Dan, who had this amazing Death Head Moth tatoo on his arm.  He was friendly and attentive, he chatted to us about the food and the interior decor (which has to be one of the best interiors for a restaurant in Exeter!), everyone made us feel quite at home throughout our visit.  We latched on to the English Garden cocktails that had been recommended to us by multiple friends and relatives, and I could genuinely see why!

Given we had already had a lot of food over the course of the day, we were not massively hungry, so we shared a starter.  We kicked off with Asparagus wrapped in Serrano Ham with a poached egg (£6.50) a beautifully cooked bed of asparagus with a strong ham and egg combination was lovely.  This is a new addition to their menu, so I was keen to try this given I love ham & egg as a combination.

In comms before out visit with Ed, one of the managers at The Cosy Club, he recommended the Seared Yellowfin Tuna Steak (£14.95).  I’m always up for taking recommendations, so I was quite determined to go for this. Tori went for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Triple Fried Chips.

The Tuna was very nice, seared and bedded on a bed of aloo gobi, onion bhaji and mint & cucumber raita on top.  It was seared well (its easy to overdo a seared fish steak) and the aloo gobi had a good spice to the flavour which went really well with the tuna.  It wasn’t spicy, but had a gentle heat which was complimented by the raita.

Tori’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken (£9.95) was a damn good dish, the triple fried fries were of an epic size but the coating of the chicken was very spicy.

OK OK, this is a Deep South traditional fried chicken recipe and scooting around the internet, if you want to make it yourself then it does have cayenne and paprika in varying quantities.


I fed this back to the manager (lovely lady called Sarah) that this wasn’t evident from the menu.  This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as we are both spice lovers, but had we been averse to spicy food, it would have been an issue (the title Buttermilk Fried Chicken led us to believe it wasn’t going to be spicy, although it was served chipotle sauce which could denote that it might be hot one…??)

Regardless I would have this dish the next time we go, as despite the heat, was a really well fried piece of chicken, and for a tenner it was excellent value.  It was moist and had a good flavour to it, which suprised me as so often chicken is normally dry when eating out – Too many bad experiences at Wetherspoons methinks…

The desserts looked appealing enough to ignore the fact we were already full.  Out came a Salted Caramel Cheesecake (£5.50) with sweet and salty popcorn and for Tori a Sorbet made up of orange, mango and blackcurrant (£3.95).  The cheesecake was more creamy and mousse-like, this was nice a light and it didn’t feel like I was stuffing myself silly.  Tori’s sorbet was fruity and refreshing.  It was a perfect end to a really enjoyable meal.

The Cosy Club has cemented itself in the dining scene in Exeter.  It has a vegan and gluten free menu as well, and commendation to those behind the menus as this is such a rarity.

I would recommend The Cosy Club as a place to eat in Exeter.  Its a great place for romantic meals, family celebrations, cocktails and definitely somewhere a bit special.

www.cosyclub.co.uk

The Cosy Club
Halford Wing, Dean Clarke House
1 Southernhay Gardens
Exeter
Devon, EX1 1SG

01392 848744
exeter@cosyclub.co.uk

Click to add a blog post for Cosy Club on Zomato

Cream Tea At The Magdalen Chapter – (4/5)

Guest blogger, Ditch Townsend, takes tea for two in Exeter

Tastefully renovated, decorated and furnished, we chose to sit in the light and comfortable lounge, but we could have used the darker, sparklier bar, the generously plush library, or a spacious patio. Music was soft, lilting, and predominantly instrumental, with some lounge jazz. But you just can’t escape the fact that the hotel is nesting in the armpit of one of Exeter’s more unpleasant main road junctions. Still, it’s a short walk up to the Roman wall and Cathedral, or down to the quayside.

We caught the scones freshly baked – one with raisins, one without. They were a moderate size, warm, sugar dusted and firm to touch and cut. But the crust wasn’t too thick or hard and was pleasingly biscuity and sweet. The centre was very light, soft, slightly yellowish, cakey, sweet and tasty. I couldn’t taste an underlying difference between the scones, and the raisins were few and far between: more for interest than flavour I guess.

The cream came from a Devon creamery in a good volume, was quite soft but lightly crusted, pale, and very mildly flavoured.

I’m not a lover of strawberry jam and it’s a pity when no pleasant choice is available (and I don’t mean plastic contingency breakfast blackcurrant or marmalade packets). Still, this one was quite manageable and not congealed with too much pectin.

Plenty of nicely mixed black leaf tea and extra hot water proved very refreshing and tasty, although I hadn’t come across the swivel-type tea strainer before (not posh enough 😉 ?) and nearly got tea leaves and tannin up my sleeve.

Overall, this has been a really pleasing experience (4/5). It’ll cost you £7.50.

You can follow Ditch’s blog about his anonymous, self-funded, ‘mid-range’ cream tea exploits via www.devoncreamteas.info and be kept up-to-date on Twitter @DevonCreamTease. He hopes to offer us occasional reviews about his ‘high-end’ cream tea peregrinations here at Eating Exeter, so keep a look out. (NB: The ones here are complimentary, but neither paid for, nor edited by the venue.)

© Text and pictures by Ditch Townsend (6 June 2015)


‘What’s your beef’ Devon burger fans? New Urbanburger competition!

The Smokey Mountain Burger from Urbanburger

See your recipe served up on the menu at urbanburger, Exeter’s original burger restaurant

Exeter’s original burger restaurant, urbanburger, is today launching the ‘What’s your beef?’ competition inviting people to create the ultimate burger and win a place on the menu.

Recipes will be judged by a panel of food experts with the winning burger being included on urbanburger’s menu. In addition, to this accolade the winner will receive £250 worth of vouchers to spend in urbanburger and urban underground.

Launched by Garth and Melissa Pearse in September 2012, urbanburger has become famed for its array of gourmet burgers made with 100% Devon beef. Last month it was named by GQ magazine as one of the top five gourmet burger restaurants in the country http://ehod.co/GQUrbanburger

“We’re looking for inspirational and mouth-watering creations,” said Garth.

“Be creative, be different, be brave. We pride ourselves on using the best local ingredients and giving our customers a wonderful experience to remember, so it needs to be something special.”

Melissa added: “We’re really hoping that there is someone out there to create the burger to top all burgers. Priding yourself on staying local doesn’t mean you can’t draw your inspiration from around the world, the past, present or future.”

‘What’s your beef?’ competition recipes can be beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian, but it should be possible to source the key ingredients locally from Devon. Up to 10 ingredients for the filling and a standard or gluten free bun can be used.

The entries will be judged on flavour, texture and presentation and should take no more than 10 minutes to prepare. Entrants need to send in their ‘What’s your beef?’ recipe, using the form at www.urbanburger.co.uk by Friday, 14th November 2014.

The best recipes will be shortlisted, cooked and go before an ‘X-Factor’ style judging panel of Devon food lovers and food experts on Thursday, 27th November at urbanburger. All those shortlisted will be invited to the judging evening and get the chance to see their burger in the spotlight. The panelists will be revealed later this month.

The shortlist will be announced on Twitter @UrbanBurgerExe on XXXXXX #Whatsyourbeef.

In recent months urbanburger has revised its main menu and also launched a new Urban Smoke Shack, with beef, pork and chicken cooked in a newly-imported American ‘smoker’.

Go to www.urbanburger.co.uk for more information and full competition rules.

Emilee Tombs on World Gin Day @ The Magdalen Chapter

World Gin Day is not something to be taken lightly. There seems to be a day for everything, but for me, a day dedicated to the wonderful concoctions to be made with juniper is one that should truly be savoured. Imagine my delight then, when I received an invite to sample the very stuff at the Magdalen Chapter in Exeter. There couldn’t possibly be a more perfect setting than the hotel’s historic walled courtyard, complete with landscaped gardens and a pool, from which to sample the creations of the hotel’s mixologist Ben.

After a quick tour through the cosy library, stylish circular dining room and heritage-style bar my companion and I slumped into a couple of the hotel’s striped deck chairs in the garden and awaited our fate.

The snug barThe snug bar
The garden and hotelThe garden and hotel

First on the menu was a Spring Green, appearing in a tumbler the drink did its best to camouflage into the impossibly green lawn, but by now my companion and I were parched and we gulped down the refreshing muddle of Hendrick’s Gin, Midori melon liqueur, lime and cucumber without even pausing to clink our glasses.

Spring GreenSpring Green

Ben followed this up with a fruitier number, his Pimms Martini combining the two cocktails no no gin lover can every refuse. The final flourish left us stumped, the Rhubarb Sour was so precise in its flavour combinations – the Bombay Sapphire, lemon, grenadine, and a Magdalen-exclusive – rhubarb liqueur, created by Ben, was stirred together with an egg white, creating just the right amount of bite. We reclined, giving thought to where we recognised this incredibly nostalgic flavour from. Just as the sun began to set behind the hotel, and our glasses were drained, we both remembered in unison – the drink we both favoured bore an uncanny resemblance to the rhubarb and custard boiled sweets of our childhoods.

Pimms Martini and Rhubarb SourPimms Martini and Rhubarb Sour

We left satiated, for never a better gin tasting session had been had.

photo 4

The Magdalen Chapter
Magdalen Street

Exeter
EX2 4HY

01392 288171
magdalen@chapterhotels.com

Emily is one of Eating Exeter’s guest contributors.  Read more on her blog at http://bomdiatravel.wordpress.com/

‘Read Reviews’ page! Now all reviews are easy to find…

One thing I have been dying to do since Eating Exeter reached size enough to warrant it was to index the reviews in to some sort of easy glance page. It is an urge that I have now and again, being a librarian these things are inevitable.

And that has now happened, head to ‘Read Reviews’ to see all of Eating Exeter’s reviews on one page with links to the reviews themselves.  If you can’t qutie make it up to the Read Reviews link above, click here.

There are two sections: One section covering reviews about places in Exeter and the other section covering reviews of places which are…well…not!

DSC00459image courtesy of Morguefile

 

The Nobody Inn, Doddiscombleigh, Exeter

In all honesty, I’m not usually one for pub grub. I’m not being snooty or fussy, I’ve just experienced my fair share of bland and boring pub meals, not to mention the microwaved plates of yellow they serve at Weatherspoons’.  However after years of snubbing pub food, a trip to The Nobody Inn in Doddiscombleigh last week opened my eyes to the world fantastic foodie pubs, which can actually be easily found if you wonder from the comforts of city life.

Nestled between the Haldon hills and Teign Valley, The Nobody Inn is located in a truly picturesque setting. Luckily we had picked a beautifully warm day to visit, so grabbed one of the large spacious tables in the beer garden, where we were able to bask in the sunshine. With the garden being located at the front of the pub, there are some gorgeous views to be enjoyed over the rolling hills, and although there’s a small country road that runs by, it’s a quiet and peaceful place to relax.

After securing our table, we walked into the pub to grab some menus and order a drink. Upon arrival we were greeted by the cheerful landlord who immediately treated us as if we were returning friends. The first thing that I noticed about this lovely old building was the impressive whisky collection behind the bar (if you’re a fan of the brown stuff you have to visit as they have over 240 varieties to try). Sadly I’m more of a rum kinda girl and upon asking the landlord for his best advice on weaker tipples; I opted to try a pear and peach cider, produced by local cider makers, Annings.

Sitting back down outside I tried the cider (served in a wine glass as “we’re ladies”, big thumbs up from me) as I browsed the foodie offerings. The lunch menu looked great, with lots of traditional but well thought out and intriguing dishes such as cumin and honey glazed ham with eggs, and steak ciabatta with caramelised onions and mushrooms, I had a hard time whittling the options down to one. After much deliberation I went for the smoky pork burger, topped with smoked apple wood cheese and bbq sauce, served in a toasted ciabatta (£10.95). The cider was delicious as well, not too sweet like many ciders can be, and not too fizzy either, it was as Goldie Locks would say, just right, with a good amount of peachiness!

After placing our orders at the bar, we enjoyed our drinks in the sunshine, and within 15 minutes the food was on the table. My lunch was certainly something to look at when it arrived, beautifully presented, the burger standing tall alongside a bucket spilling with petite French fries, I just knew this was going to taste as good as it looks. Tucking into the burger, I was in heaven. The pork patty was juicy and really flavoursome with hints of spice and sweetness, and was complimented so well by the smoky cheese and the tangy bbq sauce.

I’m going to put it out there; this was the best burger I’ve ever had.

It was huge as too, but tasted so good I had to eat every last bit, sweeping up the remnants of the chunky bbq sauce with the scraps of toasted ciabatta bun. The French fries (what I could eat of them) were really good too, perfectly seasoned with just a little wobble in their structure. This was the perfect plate of food.

The fantastic food, quirkily friendly service and attractive setting at The Nobody Inn has renewed my faith in good pub grub. Although it’s a 30 minute drive from Exeter, it is well worth the journey as the free-house stands head and shoulders above most of the cities pub-restaurants. I will definitely be returning and can’t wait until I get the chance to sample their exciting evening menu.

http://www.nobodyinn.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheNobodyInn

To read more from Kathryn, head over to http://adayinmyshoeskathryn.blogspot.co.uk/ and subscribe to her wonderful blog 🙂

 
The Nobody Inn Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

COMPETITION! Two pairs of tickets to Naked Wines tasting event: 22nd June

Do you know someone in your life who just loves wine? Not just LOVES it but appreciates all the grape varieties and the heritage of wine making? Well if you do, fancy taking yourself and them to the Naked Wine, Wine Tasting event on Sunday 22nd June at the Exeter University Great Hall?

P1030365

Naked Wines, an online wine retailer who supports independent winemakers from around the world, is heading to Exeter on Sunday 22nd June to host a BIG wine tasting with 40 of their winemakers and we have two pairs of free tickets up for grabs.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of free tickets, simply do the following:

Comment on this blog post below with your favourite variety of wine AND
Retweet this post (or the original tweet) making sure you include @eatingexeter and @nakedwines so that we know you’ve done it 🙂

To find out more about Naked Wines and their tasting event, visit www.nakedwines.com/tastings

Closing date is Wednesday 18th June, so lets get commenting and tweeting!

Naked Wines Logo A4

 

The Beach Cafe, Dawlish

Eating Exeter welcomes Dr Steve Price to team as an official contributor!

There are some days when you wake up in the morning and you just have the urge for a good fry up and Wednesday was one of those days. So with nothing in the fridge and the major advantage of living in a seaside town, daughter and I headed off in search of sustenance.

Down near the beach and railway station in Dawlish we came to one of our regular stops, The Beach Café.  The interior has recently been refurbished with rustic style tables and chairs and the place has a really nice feel about it and all the staff are friendly.

Breakfast Cafe DawlishWe chose between us the Traditional Breakfast (sausage, bacon, beans, fried egg, hash brown, fried bread, tomatoes and toast) for £6.25 and the Children’s breakfast (sausage, egg, beans, bacon and hash brown) for £4.25, and sat back with our tea and coffee while we waited for it to arrive.

In less than 10 minutes we were served with our food that was piping hot and incredibly good.  The bacon was two nice thick rashers, not the watery thin type sometimes favoured by seaside establishments to maximise profit and the eggs were cooked to perfection. It was obvious that The Beach Café put quality first and we both enjoyed our breakfast and to be honest the portions were so generous that I did not need to bother with lunch!

The great thing is that they also serve this all day so you can partake of the wonder that is the Full English whenever your heart desires, and dear reader, if you think you can manage it, there’s even a Mega Breakfast.

So if you’re down Dawlish way and feeling in the need, it’s well worth a visit.

Doctor S

16 Piermont Pl, Town Centre, Dawlish EX7 9PH

Phone:01626 888824

Bickleigh Mill: The Bistro Restaurant & Bar – Sliders Night

The village of Bickleigh. It is geographically almost slap bang in the middle of Devon and sits on the River Exe like it has done since before the Domesday Book. Mentioned in that classic tome as Bicca’s Meadow – I wonder if Mr Bicca could ever have imagined Bickleigh being the destination that it has become now.
In foodie circles, Bickleigh Mill has always been a name related to quality and fine dining. And after being invited down to see exactly what goes on at the Bistro Restaurant & Bar, I couldn’t wait to see for myself what sort of thing we would be eating on one of their themed nights. The night that I particularly wanted to try out was the Sliders night. What is a Slider? Well the menu handily informs us that Sliders are small burgers or sandwiches that are filled with delicious ingredients. Originally featured on menus from The White Castle Restaurant in Kansas which is a chain formed in 1921.

Other nights include their Seafood Evening and their Sizzling Steak night, these nights let the chefs really show off. Other times they have a daytime menu, an evening menu and a Sunday menu that looks amazing. There are a few others too, so have a look at their page on the website.

The Bistro is open all day and to evening visitors Thursdays to Saturdays. Evening visitors enter through the shop and in to the restaurant itself. At first glance it looks quite small but when you take a wander around, the restaurant is large with private areas and opportunities for peaceful dining.
The walls are adorned with artwork and items that are for sale too, the exposed traditional stonework really brings home the fact that you’re eating in a Mill and that it was, until the sixties, a working Mill that produced flour from grains supplied by local farmers. Fun fact of the evening was that my wife mentioned Mother-in-law remembered working at Bickleigh Mill in the sixties when she justmoved down from Liverpool. I digress.


Presented with the Sliders Menu, we were able to peruse twelve different types of burgers (see pic) with some classic titles like the Plain Jane and the Ready Eddie burger, but others such as the Gone Fishing and The Teriyaki Mushroom were new ones to me. The cost of the meal included the starter, three sliders of our choice, chips and salad. It did take us a while to decide exactly what we were going to have. In fact it took us so long, we were asked about three times and we were still having a hard time deciding. But in the end the decisions were made and we ordered happily. I went for the Jerk Chicken, The Hay Stack and The Southern Fried Chicken Burger. Madam went for the Hawaiian, Ready Eddie and Little Piggy.

It seems these theme nights are popular, the restaurant filled quickly with diners through the course of the meal and it was easy to see why. When we spied a table being brought their burgers we realised that, even though they were sliders which tend to be smaller than normal burgers. These were pretty much the size of normal burgers, with filling and salad as well.
The first thing to appear was our starter, a well portioned plate of nachos drizzled in sour cream and cheese. They were a perfect little aperitif, anything more than this would have meant far too much food especially when the Sliders appeared.

The burgers, three to a plate, were arranged neatly with name tags to tell what they were. Salad arranged in the middle and a side of chips between two. You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise that the portion of chips is just enough to cater for the fact that there is SO MUCH BURGER.


The first thing I realised about these burgers were that the buns were super soft, almost brioche in texture but not sweet. The second thing I realised was the taste of the meat itself. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the burgers were well done and tasted good. The Jerk Chicken came in a delicious BBQ sauce and the Southern Fried Chicken burger was perfectly cooked and seasoned. From across the table the Little Piggy held the award for ‘Best Pulled Pork’ yet in our burger adventures.

Bickleigh Mill sources all of its ingredients locally. The meat comes from surrounding farms and producers and the buns are baked on site by their in-house baker. You’re not going to find many things on your plate that has travelled for miles and miles. With many places that stay local, you can taste the difference and the Bickleigh burgers were certainly different.  As the bun was soft, there was no dissection and reassembling as with many gourmet burgers. For the first time in quite a while I was able to get the whole thing in my mouth without losing every ounce of dignity.

Afterwards we ended up with the dessert menu staring at us temptingly but alas we were both defeated. But don’t worry if you can’t eat the whole meal, you get a box to take away your unfinished burgers.

As a day-out, Bickleigh Mill is a perfect eating and shopping destination. It has a wonderful shop stocked with gifts and locally produced crafts products and a restaurant & bar that allows the destination to expand its appeal to tourists and locals. The food is all locally sourced where possible and, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how accessible the menu was. For a place that prides itself with such quality of food it’s not pretentious about its portions and it’s proud of its connections with the local producers.

Bickleigh Mill is located near Tiverton and is easily accessible by bus and car. The nearest station is Tiverton Parkway but there is a bus link from this station which runs regularly.

Eating Exeter were guests of Bickleigh Mill.

Riverside Shopping, Restaurant Bistro & Bar
Bickleigh
Tiverton
Devon
EX16 8RG

enquiries at bickleighmill.com

Opening Times:
Monday 10am till 5.30pm (Shop and Bistro)
Tuesday 10am till 5.30pm (Shop and Bistro)
Wednesday 10am till 5.30pm (Shop and Bistro)
Thursday 10am till 7.30pm (Shop and Bistro) plus evening dining in the Bistro until late
Friday 10am till 7.30pm (Shop and Bistro) plus evening dining in the Bistro until late
Saturday 10am till 7.30pm (Shop and Bistro) plus evening dining in the Bistro until late
Sunday 10am till 5.30pm (Shop and Bistro)

Closes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but open every other day of the year.