Burgerfest, Bartholomew St East

EE RecommendsIt is here, it has arrived.  It opened a few weeks ago and being the burger loving sort that I am, we just had to go down to Burgerfest which had just opened a few weeks ago on Bartholemhew St East (behind the old Mama Stones building).  Tori and myself were joined by our mate Lewis, owner and general all-round top bloke from OMG Comics in Fore Street. We went, we ate, we liked.  I had a few minor negatives that stuck with me, but there wasn’t anything there that made come away as anything but a satisfied  burger-head who conceded that the diet is going to start again on Monday.  Would I recommend it? Yes.  Top value, great atmosphere, and  two-for-one cocktails.

Burgerfest is Exeter’s fifth Burger joint, sitting alongside HubBox, Ruby Burgers, Urban Burger and Byron Burgers.  Naturally we’re not counting McDonalds or Burger King given the difference in the output.  With Gourmet Burger Kitchen which is opening soon in The Dining Quarter, we will have six altogether.  Is this good or bad? I’ll answer this in due course (maybe not in this review).

For the moment I am going to say that the variation between each burger restaurant is enough to make the experience in each place slightly different, and I would definitely disagree that they are all the same.  However, any more burger restaurants and Exeter would definitely have a saturation.

There are three (the others are in Torquay and Taunton) Burgerfest restaurants which are owned by The Lifestyle Hospitality Group, who also own Tiger Bills. The USP is the quirky geekiness.  How many other restaurants in Exeter have a Sega Room? Or a Ping Pong Dome? Yup, there is a genuine Sega Mega Drive set up in a room  which diners can play for free and a Ping Pong table located in the dome of the tower old kiln.  I literally squealed with delight when I discovered this.

The value is pretty good.  None of the burgers broach the £10 mark, and the sides are reasonable as well.  Drinks are averagely priced; we were lucky tonight as they are having a sale on tinned beers from another one of their sites so this kept our bill down along with the 20% student discount.  Yup, students get 20% off with a valid form or ID.

We arrived at the restaurant about six o’clock after a sneaky half in The City Gate.  The one thing I have to say that I liked on first impressions was the easy access from the pavement, not really an issue if you’re not able or sure footed but given Tori was on crutches today, the lack of stairs in to the restaurant was welcome.  This was the first time that I had been to this building, I had never been whilst it was Casa Maroc or even when it was Gino’s or whatever it was before that.

This isn’t a restaurant where waiters flit around taking orders, it is  casual and informal and you’re told how it works as you step through the door.  You decide what you want, you go to the bar and order. Pay before-hand (a la Wetherspoon’s) and you get your burger brought to you.  Personally I like this, there is greater independence and it frees up service to deliver food to the table.  It doesn’t mean that staff are less attentive, and throughout our meal there was always a member of staff at the bar.

The menu is just as quirky as everything else about the restaurant.  On the front is the menu items, on the back is a paper aeroplane with instructions about how to create it.  It was nice to have something to make and play around with as we waited for our burgers which took about 20 minutes to arrive.  None of us managed to get anything to fly, despite many attempts. Lewis won the award for distance as he managed to get his plant nearly across the restaurant.

I went for The Bad Boy (£9) which consisted of two beef patties, American cheese, smoked streaky bacon, stuffed with seasoned fries, BF Sauce, tomato, baby gem lettuce.  Add on to the Skin-On Fries (£2.50), Sweet Potato Fries (£3) and Onion Rings (£2.50) we had a pretty almighty meal.  Tori went for for Dirty South (£7) which consisted of a Beef patty, American cheese, Cajun mayo, red onion, roasted red peppers, tomato and baby gem lettuce.  Lewis, the bravest out of all of us (although none of us were brave enough to go for the Bronut, which consisted of doughnut and jam!) went for the El Diablo (£7) which was a Beef patty, chilli cheddar, jalapeños, soured cream, BF Sauce, tomato, red onion, baby gem lettuce and hot sauce.

Tori and Lewis were very happy with their burgers.  Lewis sweated through the scorching heat of the El Diablo, and definitely win award for Burger Devoured In Under Four Minutes. I had to divide my burger in to two separate units so I could fit it in my mouth.  Tori was happy with her burger, although the burgers were a little dense for her taste.

The burgers themselves were not overly greasy, they had a nice juice level, not so much that it decimated the bun, but not dry either that you had to chew your way through the patty itself  There is nothing worse than a soggy bottom.  I didn’t feel sick or painfully stuffed, which sometimes the grease of a burger can exacerbate, there was a feeling of great satisfaction afterwards which I haven’t had for a long time after eating a burger.  Good work.

The sides were quite a sight.  The onion rings were, for lack of a better description, were nearly the size of actual proper onions, less rings moreso tubes with a light fluffy batter that just popped with air and crispyness.  The Sweet Potato Fries were masterfully cooked and definitely a bonus, maybe even matching Urban Burger’s which up to now have been our favourite provider of fries made from this hard to cook vegetable.  My Skin-On fries were really nice, there was a lot of them and they definitely filled a hole of three.  I was impressed with the value of the sides, which really finished off the meal.

So my minor points.

What is the secret ingredients in the top secret recipe mix? I don’t like secrets, especially with food. Sorry. #partypooper  On the flipside of this, in this world of food transparency, here is a restaurant still has the guts to say ‘actually we have a recipe for our burgers that is different from other burger restaurants and we’re not telling you what it is’…This is brave and I have to say I like what they do with the burgers, but some indication might be good.

The patties themselves were slightly flamed/charred, which is something I am a fan of; that slightly burnt, slightly well done but still pink in the middle effect is definitely a good thing in my humble opinion.  But some burger lovers in this world might not appreciate this particular style.

It’d be nice to have some optional cushions for the barrel stools, as they started to get a bit hard on bum after a while.

We all felt a great air of satisfaction after the meal.  I liked the design taste and the interior itself, which was very funky. Burgerfest only goes to show the variation in Burger Restaurants in Exeter, and it is a welcome addition to the family.  There are cocktail offers, Hot Dogs, and a specials board too which looked very appetising.

I really hope Burger Fest is here to stay, with their Sega Room and their Ping Pong Dome.  As the restaurant got busier, the buzz of the atmosphere made it hard to leave. I wanted one of their super-amazing cocktails that they have been showing off on Facebook, but that might have to be for another night.


The Old Malthouse,
Bartholomew Street East,

Food Magazine’s Food & Design Festival at Sapphire Spaces

It was only a few months ago that we headed to the luxury settings of bespoke Kitchen and Bathroom specialists, Sapphire Spaces opposite Darts Farm to celebrate the launch of Exeter Cookery School.  We were back, now to help Food Magazine celebrate their Food and Design Festival,
Festival of Food and Design Sapphire Spaces TopshamTo be honest when I first heard about this, I scratched my head.  Why food and design? How does that go together?  But throughout the evening, the concept definitely came together, showcasing some of the region’s finest food in the space provided was an organic and delicious combination that really, just worked.

Guests were treated to delights such as demonstrations from Tom William-Hawkes, chef director at The Salutation Inn in Topsham (it was the second time I had seen Tom in two weeks, having had the pleasure of his cooking at the Dining In The Dark press event), Cooking With Steam demonstration by Gaggenau UK, Frobishers, Clifton Coffee, Portlebay Popcorn and Majestic Wines.  Cheese and biscuits was provided by Dart’s Farm and their magnificent Deli.

The evening was a delightful mix of chatter, networking and social milling, all of which I am fundamentally rubbish at; but thankfully Tori has a subconscious knack for these sorts of events.  It was great to meet Nick from @DevonFoodHour and catch up with Jody from The Pickle Shack, Michelle Xie and Jim & Lucy Fisher from Exeter Cookery School.

I was lucky enough to be armed with one of our nicer cameras from work, so the following post is a few shots from the evening with commentary.  A bit like director’s commentary on DVDs, but hopefully informative and not rambling and inane.


There are going to be more BIG photos with this post due to the fact that I have nearly ran out of space on my WordPress account, and I am quite simply to tight-fisted to invest in a premium account.


The canapes were amazing. Created by Tom William-Hawkes, these little beauties are Quail’s Eggs!


These were beautifully cooked, made from Greendale Beef. I had more than one of these!



Tom brought some fresh Topsham smoked salmon. It was delightful. Salmon fishing on the River Exe used to be a substantial activity, but in recent years it has declined significantly, there were at one point twenty salmon boats registered at Topsham but this is now only down to two. This salmon was caught by Tom’s dad and walked up to the restaurant. The salmon was smoked in Topsham and prepared for the evening.


This chap was one of the lobsters being used for the demo tonight. A fresh Lyme Bay Lobster, no cheap Canadian ones here!


Another one of my favourite canapes of the night were these delicious Fishcakes on a mustard mayo.


Tori and Michelle Xie!


The master at work. After creating the canapes, Tom gave a demonstration with lobster. It was a busy night for this chap!



Fish cakes done!


The beautiful cheese provided by Darts Farm’s deli. Excellent stuff.



This amazing creation is courtesy of the Gauggenau demonstration. I defintely need one of these ovens in my house! (lottery win anyone?)


The Salutation Inn has some interesting nights happening. Dining In The Dark is a definite one to experience if you can, but also the Game Nights sound really good too.


Jo Rees, founder and Grand High Foody giving her speech at the beginning of the evening.


Let the demonstration commence!






The skill and the speed that Tom worked at was amazing. The taste of the lobster was delicious, a really fantastic demonstration.


The hand of Nick from DevonFoodHour. He asked questions that were far more intelligent, I spent most of my time wondering if it would go with chips. I’m cultured me…


If you’ve cooked lobster, you should be able to break the claw back. If its cooked this will happen easily. This is what the inside of a lobster claw looks like.




The final flourish of flowers really brings out the colours. When you see food like this so close, the one thing that jumps out are the vibrance of the colours.



The salmon being prepared. It had such a deliciously smokey scenting to it.


Majestic Wines were on hand to talk about their lovely wines. Twas very nice. Far too nice.


Why some wine glasses are better than others. A fascinating talk from this chap whose name I have managed to mislay somewhere.


Portlebay Popcorn. The chap from Portlebay Popcorn was giving out lots of popcorn, admittedly I didn’t really get the whole ‘gourmet’ popcorn idea but after a bag of the Sweet and Salty flavour, I could say I am happily converted to the idea.


Lovely people!


Strange people.

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/.

Reaping the whirlwind


Two weeks ago, Eating Exeter guest blogger, Ditch Townsend took to local and national headlines after his story was picked up by the local press. Thank you Ditch, for considering me your Mentor! :) But ultimately the credit for such a well-written and unique blog is down to him. This is a very truthful insight in to how sudden fame can bring positives and negatives to any dedicated food blogger.

Originally posted on Devon Cream Teas:

Four months in, with my viral moment’s no-show, it was time to take things to another level. As I’d learned elsewhere, trying harder leads to tiring harder. Trying different is where the action is (WARNING: risk of epic fail, or at least headaches). Enter the Press Release.

Devon man visits 250 cream tea shops

In less than 20 weeks, mid-Devon resident Ditch Townsend has visited 250 Devon shops selling cream teas, writing short, independent, honest reviews for his blog at two thirds of them. As well as seeking out and relishing the best, he says he is on a mission, “to eradicate the scourge of sugary red flavoured jelly blobs masquerading as jam,” and adds, “I want to see all Devon’s cream teas become great cream teas.”

Well who’d have thought that, as a BBC journalist subsequently told me, “Everyone loves a cream tea story.” (Actually, my Eating Exeter mentor

View original 486 more words

Powderham Food Festival – October 3rd & 4th

Its nearly time for the Powderham Food Festival and it sounds like its going to be an amazing weekend two-day event! See how our very own Steve Price got on at last year’s festival.

Building on the growing success of Powderham Food Festival, which first launched in 2012 and draws food-lovers from across the region, this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better than ever. The popular date in Devon’s culinary calendar has doubled its appeal for 2015, as it is due to take place over two days from 3rd to 4th October – perfect timing as it marks the end of British Food Fortnight.

Back by popular demand comes Powderham Food Festival’s dramatic Theatre of Fire ‘n Smoke, where some of Britain’s best BBQ cooks will be demonstrating their cooking skills over fire pits, BBQs and smokers. Set under the big brown tipi, watch out for Simon Dyer, winner of ITV’s BBQ Champ, Marcus Bawdon – King of Meatopia (2013) and a finalist in Devon Cook of the Year – and the amazing John Gower from Quietwaters Farm, using fish from the Exe Estuary, venison from Powderham’s own deer park, finest locally produced meats and, yes, vegetables too. Ever heard of a fish boil? Discover its magic with Toby Ingham from Lympstone-based Flippin’ Fresh Seafood with his sizzling lobsters. This is BBQ food at its tastiest – available to buy and enjoy too.

Foodies will also be able to sample the many delectable delights from over 100 of the South West’s finest food producers, from Kenton’s Humble Eggs – a pretty duck egg blue shepherd’s hut from which is produced all sorts of eggy favourites – to true artisan food producers Good Game, whose mission to make the best-tasting game and cured meat in the world is right on track. Keen cooks will also be able to learn some top cheffy tricks, and all in the magical surroundings of the 600-year-old Powderham Castle set beside the picturesque Exe Estuary.

The occasion promises saucepans full of fun for all the family, with entertainment at every turn. In celebration of British Egg Week (30th September to 6th October) and the vital role that the egg plays in so many mouthwatering culinary creations, Powderham Food Festival has teamed up with the British Hen Welfare Trust. The Devon-based charity set up to educate the public about laying hen welfare will be on hand to impart their extensive knowledge, and providing the ‘ahh’ factor will be hens clucking and scratching and maybe even laying some super fresh eggs.

For those keen to polish up their cooking skills, visitors can watch the action on not one but five demonstration stages. The main stage will be hosted by new foodie enterprise, Exeter Cookery School. Soon to set up on Exeter’s historic Quayside, Masterchef semi-finalist and founder Jim Fisher will take Powderham Food Festival attendees on a journey of fantastic flavours and offer tips and tricks on how to wow friends and family.

As well as performing his own inimitable style of cooking, Jim will welcome to the stage consultant chefs Richard Hunt and Peter Gorton. With a combined cheffing experience of over 60 years, Peter and Richard will be taking the Food Festival audience through a range of cooking knowhow and demonstrating some tempting recipes.

As well as the return of the Theatre of Fire and Smoke and the popular Field Kitchen courtesy of the Royal Marines, you can take a step back in time to learn all about 19th Century cooking in the Victorian Kitchen. Not forgetting the next generation of food aficionados, food technology teacher extraordinaire, Joe Mann from Fun Kitchen, will be inviting children to get messy and cook up a storm in the children’s marquee.

Powderham Food Festival Founder Bob Small says: “We always had big plans for the show, but have been overwhelmed by the warmth with which the Festival has been received within the local community as well as across the South West and further afield. And we are delighted that Helpful Holidays, as headline sponsor, and WBW Solicitors have given their loyal support.

“Whether you are perusing the trade stands, sampling the finest produce the region has to offer or just want to be amazed by the culinary skills of chefs, Powderham Food Festival has some exciting treats in store for visitors this year.”


All images courtesy of Matt Austin Imagse

Nourish Festival 2015 – Photo Diary

One of my fondest memories in recent years, was attending a Spoken Word event in Bovey Tracey that I was performing at where, in a poetry competition, my wife managed to win a bowl made out of an old viynl record.  She managed to rhyme Tracey with ‘facey’, which was at the time nothing short of literary genius.  I can’t remember the whole poem but now and again we pass Bovey on the way to somewhere else, remembering this poetic related snippet of memory, and always reflecting on what a nice town it is.  The Devon Guild of Crafts is always such an inspiration, walking around the gallery of talent and art, the end result normally being a nice cup of tea in the cafe.

But this time, the thing that brought us to Bovey Tracey was the Nourish Festival.  It is a combination of craft, food and live music which takes over the centre of Bovey.  This is the second year its been running, and it is as popular as ever!

With all food festivals that I attend, I never managed to talk to every producer, but we did pick up some bits from a few producers who were producing/selling some gorgeous things.

I am presenting this write-up as a photo diary as there was so much going on, so many great shots taken which I couldn’t keep back from Eating Exeter’s dedicated readers.

Let me explain the photo of the car park.  Hang on hang on, its not a declaration of urbanisation on a field of lush green grass, but a commentary of how easy and delightful the car parking was.  The Nourish Festival is about the whole community, and although technically we were parked on the playing fields, the feeling throughout the whole event was that the whole community was behind the festival which gave it a really cohesive and inviting feeling.

Being able to walk up the street of Bovey Tracey was a surreal experience and it was a perfect setting for an event like this. The element of live music was an added bonus (I am sure someone can remind me of their name) as I’ve forgotten it!

Tori was in wheelchair mode this day.  She was in charge of photographs and some of the shots we were able to capture some excellent snaps from her level.  Given the surface of the road was lovely smooth tarmac, wheelchair access was generally a pleasure throughout the day.

We picked up some excellent chutney from Louise’s Larder http://www.louiseslarder.co.uk/ who are based in Crediton.  It was really nice to meet someone who I follow on Twitter as well.

We grabbed something to eat from an excellent Hog Roast (name escapes me, but they were next to the Fancy-That tent) which kept us going.

This is an excellent festival that I hope dearly will be on again next year.  We met some excellent producers, had some lovely food and felt very welcome.  Better than the Exeter Food Festival? No comparison, but at least the Nourish Festival has parking ;)

If you want any high-res versions of any of the images then please drop me a line via the contact page.

Dining In The Dark – Three special events taking place in November at The Salutation Inn

I really wanted to come back last night and start writing about this, as the experience left me buzzing.  At The Salutation Inn in Topsham a group of press representatives and us too, had a taster of the Dining in the Dark events that are taking place in November being put on by the WESC Foundation, which is a fantastic institution that offers residency to 100 or so young people with varying degrees of sight impairment, ranging from partial sight to absolutely no sight at all.  Click through here for more information about the events.

As you can imagine there are not that many photos with this post compared to the usual barrage of images and photos taken at jaunty angles that I normally plaster across this blog.  This experience was one that had to be described.

The evening was taking place in The Salutation Inn, an establishment that has become synonymous with fine dining under the command of Michelin trained chef-director Tom William-Hawkes, who has taken what was a ‘sticky carpet pub’ and given it a new life as one of the places to go for fine cuisine and excellent service (1# on Trip Advisor!).

The WESC Foundation will be laying on three one-of-a-kind Dining in the Dark events in November (Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th and the ‘Gourmet’ night on the 27th November) that will see diners taken on a culinary journey of taste, but also empathy as you are guided up the stairs from the downstairs function rooms to the dining area by one of four guides who are themselves blind or partially sighted, hands on shoulders in to a room that is pitch black.  The dining room is clad in a double lined curtains which creates a darkness that is rarely experienced in this modern age of street lights and twenty-four-seven daylight.  The events are designed to take diners on a journey of culinary delight, but they are also meant to be thought-provoking.

We met our hosts as we entered through the front entrance of the restaurant, and were guided to a couple of rooms that acted as a gathering area for the diners; canapés and conversation were exchanged and consumed, after a little time we were told exactly what was going to happen.  In groups of four, our guides would lead us upstairs in groups of four.  Placing your hand on the shoulder of the person in front, we were led up the stairs in small groups to a room set up for dinner, in complete darkness.

As soon as we entered the room, my eyes were as good as useless.  Having to rely on a mental image that I was painting in my head as to where items on the table were laid, it was only after I put my hand in the Confit of Rainbow Trout, that I realised the food was already served!
Our guides were around to help with anything we needed, I spent most of the meal trying to find my bread but ended up eating Tori’s instead.  After I had poured my water (not in my glass, but somewhere…) I set about enjoying the beautiful piece of rainbow trout in front of me.

The taste of the fish, the tartness of the ratatouille and the basil of the marinade felt like fireworks going off in my mouth. Without sounding too cliché, there was a basil and trout filled party on my taste buds.  Tastes seem to take on a new life without the eyes to play a part in the cognitive process of eating, and given the calibre of what The Salutation Inn produces, this event is guaranteed to deepen guest’s appreciation of taste.

After we had finished our meals, we were led out in a similar fashion to enjoy some teas coffees and petit fours (which we were allowed to bring home, post to follow). We listened to a short talk given by Jon Duckham (Fundraising Manager for WESC) and looked at just some of the kitchen and cooking items that were on display, all designed to help those with sight impairment.

Although our experience in the dark was a short one, it was a good overview of the sort of thing to expect, a journey of taste and an experience that will be hard to forget.

On Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th November the meal will include prosecco and canapés on arrival, three specially designed courses with a glass of wine, coffee and petit fours; all for £40 per person.  The Gourmet night on the 27th November will include champagne and canapés on arrival, four specially designed courses with a full flight of wines chosen to complement each course with coffee and petit fours afterwards, all this for £80 per person.

Deliveroo in Exeter: The Review

I graduated 13 years ago, and I remember my time as a penniless library studies student in Aberystwyth with a relative amount of fondness.  One thing I don’t miss was the food, or the strange concoctions that I would throw together in order to impress potential girlfriends.  Although I enjoyed cooking, I was never very far away from somewhere that sold food which got me out of numerous culinary scrapes.  But if you wanted something delivered, the only option was a strange pizza shop that delivered called Hollywood Pizza. I think Dominoes finally landed after I left, but you had to go to the food.

I would love to be a student now, especially in Exeter.  There are so many options especially if you live close to the university or the centre of town. I can’t imagine myself going a week where I wouldn’t order a take-away or something that didn’t involve me leaving the house.  We live in such a foody city, and when new innovations come along that make being a foody even easier, I get a little warm glow inside because now students and residents of Exeter are able to order some of their favourite restaurant food from the comfort of their armchairs or office chairs.

Just over a month ago, I revealed that the restaurant food delivery service Deliveroo was coming to Exeter.  It launched a couple of weeks ago and now after a bit of bedding in, we were invited to give Deliveroo a whirl just to see how easy it was to order food and get it delivered.

The process is easy-peasy.  If you have an iOS device (iPad, iPhone etc.) then you can download the Deliveroo app.  Us Android users have to wait for the Android version, but it’ll be available for our devices soon.  In the meantime I used the online browser version, and live-tweeted the process as we went.

Deliveroo Review on Eating ExeterThe selection of restaurants that appear will depend largely on what postcode you live in.  Some postcodes in Exeter are not covered by the Deliveroo service, simply because they live too far away from participating restaurants. Through bitter experience, Deliveroo worked out that the optimum time to get food from restaurant to door was 9.5 minutes, anymore than this and the food would spoil.  The more restaurants that sign up to Deliveroo in Exeter, the larger the catchment area will become.

The variation of restaurants available gave us a really good scope of foods to go for.  Given we had a hankering for curry, we chose The Curry Leaf  (in New North Road).

If you’ve never used Deliveroo before, after you’ve made your food choices (and don’t forget to tip the driver!) you are prompted to input the important details like address and card details etc.  There is a £2.50 delivery charge which is cheaper than a bus in to town, or even parking.  Once your account is created, the page comes up confirming your order and (how cool is this), shows you the status of your order!  Watch it live. Or don’t…as it makes you hungrier.

Deliveroo Review on Eating Exeter

Once the order is placed, just sit back and wait.

Deliveroo Review on Eating Exeter

The whole process of ordering is beautifully hassle free, I am even tempted to say that it is even elegant.  Make sure you warm your plates up too!

Dead on time our food appears on the back of a bicycle pedalled by Dominykas.  Each driver has an app on their phone that they tap to say that their food has been delivered.  Once you have your food, if you have any problems then you’re in the hands of the Deliveroo support team.

Our Curry Leaf food was piping hot (custom designed carry bags keep everything toasty) and generally very nice.  I feel that they need a review in themselves as we loved the standard of food and to be fair it is to be expected from this award winning curry restaurant. http://www.curryleafexeter.net/ 

We had a Chicken Bedamy Korma and a Malabar Chicken Masala which was, for lack of a better word, lushious.  The spices were fragrant and the whole thing was an absolute delight.  Very much beyond the realms of other delivered curries that we’ve had before.

So how do you do it?

  1. Head to http://www.deliveroo.co.uk and type in your postcode
  2. Choose your restaurant and then the food.
  3. Put in your payment details and address
  4. Wait and enjoy!


FOOD lovers in are now able to enjoy their favourite restaurant dishes from the comfort of their desks or home. Deliveroo – the premium restaurant food delivery service – has launched in Devon’s capital city. The service will revolutionise dining by delivering quality food from local independent and chain restaurants direct to people’s doors. The company is growing throughout the UK and Exeter will be the 24th city to launch the service.

The Exeter arm of Deliveroo opens with a restaurant roster including local neighbourhood favourites such as Urban Burger, Harry’s Restaurant, Forn, HUBBOX, The Plant Café and Carluccio’s with others listed on the Deliveroo website. Menu items will be transported to homes and offices across the city via a fleet of delivery mopeds and bicycles.

An easy-to-use service, food orders and payment are all processed online at www.deliveroo.co.uk or via the new Deliveroo app. By entering a postcode and preferred time slot, Deliveroo will offer a long list of local establishments offering food within the delivery zone.

This includes the option to schedule orders up to one day in advance or receive food ASAP – with an average delivery time of just 32 minutes. Launching with a delivery zone that covers that covers a 2.4 km radius of each restaurant, the coming weeks will see the restaurant partnerships rapidly expanding, as the service rolls out across Exeter.

“Home to some of the South West’s most passionate foodies, Exeter boasts a growing selection of exciting independent establishments, as well as some great local chain restaurants,” comments Rory MacInnes, Market Launch Manager for Exeter. “Through our user friendly and super slick platform, Deliveroo is now able to meet the substantial demand for premium restaurant-standard dishes delivered to the comfort of the home or office.”

Website: https://deliveroo.co.uk

Regional Twitter: @Deliveroo_EXT

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deliveroo

Deliveroo is live in Exeter!

You might remember a few months ago I hinted that Deliveroo was coming to Exeter.  Well, the Deliveroo team have been busy in the background getting everything ready (a few tests here and there, I am proud to say that my order a couple of nights ago was one of the very first Exeter orders!) and its finally here.

The doors are open, the chocks are away, the aprons have been donned and Deliveroo is now ready for your orders.

How does it work? Head to Deliveroo and put your postcode in. Then, depending if your postcode is delivered to (some further reaches from the restaurants won’t be covered unfortunately) you can go ahead and order your food from a range or restaurants, independent and chain.
There is a £2.50 delivery charge, plus you can tip your driver/cyclist as well.

Follow our local Deliveroo on Twitter @deliveroo_EXT

Naturally we’re going to do a review on the service to show how easy it is, stay tuned!

Burger Fest to open in Exeter (where Casa Maroc used to be)

Its old news that Gourmet Burger Kitchen opening in the Guildhall’s new Dining Quarter. But, did you know (thanks to the Express and Echo) Burger Fest is opening in Exeter.

They started off in Torquay, they’ve just opened in Taunton and soon they’ll be opening in Bartholomew Street East, opposite Mary Arches Street Car Park.

This means that with GBK as well, Exeter will have a total of six burger restaurants.  One thing food tourists will remember our fair city for will be the excellent choice of burgers and coffee!

Burger Fest is owned by Lifestyle Hospitality Group who own Tiger Bills amongst others.


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

10 Questions: Jim Fisher from Exeter Cookery School

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the Exeter Cookery School.  Headed up by Jim and Lucy Fisher, they are bringing the glamour of the Dordogne to our lovely little city.  The school is due to kick off in the autumn from their base on the historic quayside.  The full press release is here, and our write up of the official launch is here, both I urge you to have a look at.

Foodies of all ages and abilities are welcome to come and try their hand at courses ranging from Classic French Dessert making to a Chocolate Workshop, fancy some Hands-On Butchery or maybe French Boulangerie Favourites?

Jim Fisher is a former Masterchef semi-finalist who started his cooking career cheffing in the kitchens of Exeter’s White Hart Hotel (where he and Lucy met and were engaged to be married).  He went on to cook alongside Rick Stein in Padstow, Allistair Little in Notting Hill and Tony Tobin of Ready, Steady Cook fame.

So I couldn’t resist inviting Jim to be our second candidate for the Eating Exeter ’10 Questions’ interview!

Exeter Cookery School1. A cookery school is a fantastic idea, what gave you the inspiration to start one?

I’ve been cooking since I was six years old, making gingerbread men with my mum with my nose just visible above the kitchen worktop. Reaching the semi-finals of Masterchef and working with the likes of Rick Stein and Alistair Little, gave me the confidence to fulfil a life-long dream. We took inspiration for the structure of our courses from Rick’s seafood cookery school in Padstow, where we’ve both worked.

  1. You’re previous school CookInFrance, was set in the lovely Dorgogne region of France. What made you want to come back to England and why Exeter in particular?

We both grew up in Devon and actually met and got engaged while working at the White Hart Hotel in Exeter. So, when we decided to sell our French cookery school in order to bring it to the UK, Exeter – with its vibrant foodie culture and progressive business vibe – was the perfect choice.

  1. Your new premises will be on Exeter’s historic quayside. Has the hunt for a new location been a long process? What sort of requirements were you looking for in a location for your new school?

The search for the perfect venue began 18 months ago. Since then, we must have seen 30 or so properties in and around the city that simply weren’t right for one reason or another. But when we were introduced to our 1830s stone warehouse down on the Quay, it was love at first sight! It reminded us of our beloved Bombel in the Dordogne with its rugged stone features and romantic setting. And it is in the perfect location situated, as it is, in an area that is very much up and coming as a foodie and activity hub.

  1. Out of the both of you, who cooks your evening dinner? Or do you take it in turns?

Mostly it’s me, even after a hard day’s cooking and teaching, but Lucy cooks occasionally and is very good. She makes a mean fruit loaf!

  1. If you have to choose one kitchen utensil you prize more than anything else, what would it be?

Hmm, that’s a tough one, but I think I’d be lost without my trusted De Buyer sauté pan. It’s so versatile: not only can it fry things, it also doubles as a saucepan; a lid in its own right for various pots and pans; a meat basher and garlic crusher; a Dutch oven (with a makeshift foil lid); and a roasting tray (if I remember to take the handle off!).

  1. The Creedy Carver duck that you used at the launch event was delicious. Which producers will be supplying the cookery school with the ingredients?

We are talking to many great local suppliers and have already sourced ingredients from the likes of Little Pod vanilla near Topsham (they own their own vanilla plantation); Exe Valley Eggs at Stoodleigh for gorgeous free range eggs; and Clyston Mill flour, still milled by water power. I could go on about the abundant top quality produce to be found in Devon and around Exeter, but you get the picture.

  1. In the future, will the cookery school be hosting one-off events?

Definitely. Until our venue is finished we have a growing list of venues that are itching to have us run cooking classes and demos. And as soon as our permanent cookery school is up and running we’ll be setting up bespoke cookery courses and special events.

  1. In Delia’s ‘How To Cook’ series of cookbooks, she starts off with boiling an egg. What would be the first technique you would teach to a pupil who was completely new to cooking?

Bread making! There is something about making a loaf of bread that is fundamental, almost primeval, and it takes us right back to our culinary roots. Throwing flour around; adding that magical ingredient, yeast; testing the temperature of the water with your little finger (that ‘Goldilocks moment’: not too hot, not too cold); kneading and shaping; waiting with bated breath in the hope that all that work will result in a well-risen aromatic pillow; knocking-back and watching as the puffball of dough collapses with a sigh. And then, of course, cutting a thick slice still warm from the oven and slathering it thickly with loads of salty butter! Hmm, excuse me while I just knock up a quick batch…

  1. Is there any golden rules that any good cook should follow whilst cooking?

If I had just one piece of advice that I was allowed to pass on to all cooks, it would be: taste, taste and taste again! Taste your food at every stage, from raw ingredient to finished dish – you’ll be a much better cook if you know how evaporation, heat, cold, and the addition of seasoning affects flavour and texture.

  1. Who is doing most of the teaching? Is it completely in-house or can we expect some guest chefs in the future?

That’ll be me, at least initially. We’ll also be hosting master classes and courses by some of the region’s top chefs both at our venue and around Exeter. Teaching cookery is in my blood, but, as we expand we’ll be looking for more chef/tutors who are experts in their field to run courses in tandem. Watch this space!

Jim (Chef)

Pizza & Nibbles at Artigiano

Fancy a bite to eat? Like Artigiano and its hip classiness? Then you’ll be stoked to find out that Artigiano has started doing Pizza!  Click here for the pizza menu

The introduction of their Pizza and Nibbles menu a little while back is a further innovation for this beacon of good coffee and free wifi.  I was lucky enough to sample some of their pizza at the Create Your Own Cocktail experience a few weeks ago.

Pizza’s start at £8.95 and are served on tasteful board, it is very much a plank of pizza!  Scroll down for photos!

The TABAC Taphouse, Queen Street

In the ‘real world’ my job requires me to work opposite Exeter Central at the large unnamed successful award winning educational institution that lies opposite the station, so The TABAC wasn’t a huge surprise for me as I watched with sadness as Whistle Wines became an ‘online only’ company. But was delighted to hear that Hamish Lothian, owner of The Fat Pig et al. was expanding his portfolio by establishing TABAC in Whistle Wine’s place.  The Express & Echo ran a story on TABAC which I urge to go and read (just make sure you have your adblocker on!) as it gives you a context to what the future holds and where the TABAC has come from.  Over the last few weeks, its been fascinating watching it come together and slowly emerge in to a new establishment, ready for customers.

Its interesting how popular TABAC has become recently, the sunny afternoon’s have seen groups of people basking in the evening sun outside the bar since its opened last week, so after work we met our good friend Lewis (owner of OMG Comics in Fore St., Exeter’s BEST comic book shop) to try it out for ourselves.

As this is technically owned by The Fat Pig Brewery, they sell their own creations on draft.  For a half its £2.00 a pop, which given a) location and b) potentially what it could be, wasn’t too bad.  Given it is a bar that is situated in, what I suspect, is a unit owned by Network Rail which has infamously high rents, then I was expecting it cost more.  The journos and PR peeps who might read this will cringe, but it made me do this (:-D). There is a large selection of wines available as well, and as they have an off-licence as well, you can take some home too, I believe.

The seating arrangements were a little tight given it was quite busy when we got there.  We were able to share some table space with a lovely couple who offered it to us after we dragged some stools and sat by the vintage foosball machine (yes they have Foosball!).  The rustic reclaimed stools and decor makes TABAC one of the most hippest spots on Queen St. and perfect for travellers who are waiting for that ‘missed train’ or that ‘cancellation’ that might crop up in future excuses to why you were late home.

Walls are lined with clusters of vintage photographs, a large menu board showing what food they have (a small but well thought out menu) and the talking point of the evening, for us, was the Engaged/Vacant lights that are situated above the door to the toilet.  A simple mechanism allows a red light to appear once the door is locked, and a green light to appear when its vacant.  But it has to be said, this seemed to work correctly when the user had locked the door properly, which was about 40% of the time.

I’ve not been to The Pig & Pickle Taphouse in Heavitree yet, and to be completely honest I haven’t been to The Fat Pig in recent years, but my experience with The Rusty Bike and certainly this latest visit to The TABAC Taphouse makes me think a visit to one of these is definitely needed.

I didn’t have my DSLR with me so I only have a handful of phone camera photos which don’t really do the place justice.  Its unique surroundings, the ‘only in Exeter’ beer that is available and the fact that multiple Tweeters have decided that this place is definitely a new favourite drinking hole says to me that Hamish and the team have got this one right.  Would I recommend it? Yup. Deffo.


Devon01392 437217

River Cottage Summer Fair 2015

In this end of the South West, we are quite lucky really.  We have a number of popular culinary landmarks that any good foodie must visit at least once in their lifetime.  Gidleigh Park, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, River Cottage HQ, The Riverford Field Kitchen in Buckfastleigh are for me, those placecs in the popular food arena which foodies need pay homage to, sacrifice a virginal aubergine, sing the hymn of the organic carrots to.  So, Chris, How many have you visited?   I hear you cry! Well…I’m getting there (slowly) but I have ticked one off my list when I visited River Cottage HQ for their lovely summer festival this weekend.

It is easy to fall in love with this part of the world, the Jurassic Coast has slowly turned itself in to one of the most desirable parts of the UK to live due to its nice climate and frequent appearances on property shows which profess the benefits of the area.  Lying near the sea with lots of beautiful rolling hills, peppered with forests and a patchwork of green fields that literally roll on as far as the eye can see (cliched but true). I would consider myself an apologist for Mid-Devon and the rugged tranquility of Dartmoor, but East Devon is definitely a sapphire on our doorstep.

If you haven’t heard of River Cottage then I can assume you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 20 years.  In a nutshell River Cottage kicked off in 1997 when journalist/chef/ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall bought a former keepers lodge on the Slape Manor estate in Netherbury called River Cottage.  It featured as part of the renowned TV and book series that showed on Channel 4 in the early noughties. Further series and books followed, and operations were moved from the original location to Park Farm in 2004, where the River Cottage ethos lives on.

Set in 44 acres of farmland, the farm sits on the same hill as Trill Farm (the amazing setting for my Johnny Does Dinner evening in a polytunnel where I met Tim Maddams!) and within spitting distance (pun intended) of Castlewood Vineyard, a boutique vineyard that creates sparkly stuff and has a Wine Festival too which we went to a couple of years ago.

Park Farm plays host to day events, cookery courses and is the base of operations for the River Cottage universe.  You can even book it for a wedding should you wish!  Learn how to forage, how catch fish, butcher and bake on one of their courses and now there is the opportunity to learn a chef apprenticeship at their Chefs School.

And…did I mention? River Cottage also runs a series of successful canteens in Plymouth, Bristol, Axminster and Winchester which brings the River Cottage food ethos to the masses. One might appear in Exeter, but for now I’ll have to settle for a train ride over to Axminster.

One of the many things that go on at River Cottage (here is their calendar) is their Summer Fair which is where I come in.

Our visit to the Summer Fair was an appendage to a longer trip.  We had been to see Polly, co-founder of Eating Exeter and possible future creator or Devouring Dorset (hint hint Pol if you’re reading this) who now resides in glorious Wimborne.  I’ll bash out a post about our culinary adventures in Wimborne after I’ve finished writing this post.  On the way back we decided to pass through and say hello and see what sorts of things were happening at this family friendly event.

Parking is a little way away from Park Farm which is halfway down the hill at the end of a track.  The tractor shuttle service means you’re transported from your car in style and landing safely at the bottom.  But you are allowed to walk the footpath if you feel up to the climb.

The first thing we needed when we arrived was food.  The street food stalls didn’t get much of a look-in with us as we spotted that the River Cottage Kitchen were doing plates of grub for £6.50.  This went down very well (not being a beetroot fan I am now a convert as the Slow-cooked Beetroot with Oregano was superb!  It was accompanied by River Cottage Baked Beans, Potato and Spinach Curry, English Yellow Split Pea Hummus and Pearl Barley Tabbouleh.

After we topped up our energy level, all washed down with a half of River Cottage EPA, it was time to do some exploring.  As we had arrived later then we had planned, its more than likely we missed some bits entirely as we got caught up with watching Falcons and wandering around the River Cottage Kitchen Garden.

Had we been more patient we could have had a garden tour, but for that moment we were happy wandering around this magnificent piece of horticulture.  The highlights for us were the flowering ball artichokes and the sweet pea arch.

Walking around neatly planted patches of vegetables does funny things to someone at a certain stage of their life.  It makes you want to go home and grow things, the inspiration largely washed off by the time we got home and looked at how much of our garden would have to be completely dug-over.  Could I rent an allotment? Only time will tell.  Certainly Tori being the Head Gardener has decided that we simply have to grow Bell Artichokes.

After a meander around the garden we hit the local producer’s tents.  Shaldon Bakery was represented and so was Conker Dry Gin.  Distilled in a copper still, they are Dorset’s only dry gin company and making a name for themselves with their blind optimism and fresh approach to distilling gin.  We’ll definitely be getting a bottle soon…very soon :D

Further exploring took us up to the demo tent in the Meadow.  We just happened to catch the last part of Good Game’s Steve Williams, I really wanted to go up an say ‘hello’ but we were short on time as it was nearly time for the Falconry display!

Had we been able to come up for the whole day, I might have been tempted to sign up for one of the masterclasses that were running throughout the proceedings.  And it is a credit to the organisers that visitors are literally spoilt for choice in the sort of things that they can get involved with.

River Cottage is such an iconic piece of the food scene in Devon and the Summer Fair was a fantastic way to experience an up-close view of what River Cottage does.  Local producers, activities, large green areas for kids run around in, food to eat, masterclasses to master, things to buy, drink to drink and live music to listen to makes for a fantastic festival atmosphere.

Rob Dawe at the Topsham Lock Keepers Cottage Cafe

You might remember a few months ago we were invited to sample one of Chef Rob Dawe’s Pop-up Restaurants at The Heart of Oak in Pinhoe.  It was a fantastic evening, and something which we enjoyed immeasurably.

I’m happy to announce that Rob is going to be at The Lock Keeper’s Cottage Cafe in Topsham for a couple of weeks, from the 19th August until Monday 31st August (closed on 24th and 25th August).  The opening hours are 10:30am – 4pm weekdays and 10am – 5pm weekends.

The cafe isn’t accessible by car.  You can either park at Turf Lock’s pub and walk up, or its accessible via the Topsham Ferry.

There will be home-made cakes available with hot and cold drinks available throughout the day or how about treating yourself to a canalside cream tea with home-made strawberry jam and Devon clotted cream in the afternoon?  Rob is also providing a small but elegant lunch menu using local produce between Midday and 3pm with a selection of home-made desserts all served with honeycomb and vanillar shortbread & fresh strawberries.

Main courses are excellent value price (given Rob’s heritage) in the region of £7 and desserts £3.50.  Or fancy two courses for £10?

A children’s menu will also be available.  Although bookings are not being taken, if there are more than six people planning to visit, please ring Rob in advance on 07745438481

I’ve borrowed heavily from Rob’s email from his exclusive mailing list.  If you want to know more about Rob’s events, send Rob an email requesting subscription to chefrobdawe at gmail.com

The Nourish Festival returns to Bovey Tracey

Nourish Festival makes a triumphant return to the streets of Bovey Tracey (scroll down for a video!)

Nourish festival of food, craft and music, Bovey Tracey
Music: Fri 4 & Sat 5 September
Food & Craft: Sat 5 Sept

Following the commercial and critical success of the first Nourish Festival last year, Bovey Tracey will once again host some of the region’s top food producers and craft makers, alongside a programme of nationally and internationally renowned musicians.

The Nourish Food Fair will fill Bovey’s high street with some of the best producers from the South West on Sat 5 September.  As well as the regular Bovey Farmer’s Market, the length of the High Street will be heaving with 50 stalls of locally produced handmade cheeses, meat & game, preserves, chocolates and ales, accompanied by some of the region’s most exciting Street Food producers.

The taste-bud-tingling selection of food and drink will get the most experienced foodie excited with wood fired pizza, slow cooked BBQs, vintage tea-time treats, Thai, Caribbean, French, Spanish and even a good old Pastie – all washed down by excellent coffee, cordials and some robust ales.

There is also the opportunity for everyone to release their inner Mary Berry by entering The Great Bovey Bake Off and Junior Bovey Bake Off, offering opportunities to get the community reaching for their mixing bowls and joining in the food fun.

The Nourish Contemporary Craft Fair will be hosted in the Town Hall and on Fore Street. Over 20 exceptional makers from across the South West will present an inspirational selection of jewellery, pottery, glass, textiles and wood.

At the Riverside Mill, visitors will have the opportunity to see the Devon Guild of Craftsmen’s famous summer exhibition and some special events just for Nourish.

Other events include craft demonstrations such as furniture making by local woodsman Ambrose Vevers, and OneHutFull, a multi-sensory experience presented in a beautifully made shepherds hut. OneHutFull immerses visitors in the work of hill farming on Dartmoor.

The Nourish Music programme will see the internationally renowned Brodsky Quartet

returning as headliners on Saturday September 5. New this year, are performances by leading UK piano trio The Gould Piano TrioSirocco Saxophone Quartet, a young and dynamic group of saxophonists from the UK & Germany, and Fontanella, some of the UK’s leading specialist recorder players. Learn Devon will also deliver a range of music workshops for adults in the Methodist Hall.

Nourish Festival organiser Sarah James said:

“We were so delighted with the response to the first Nourish Festival last year. It was a success for the stall holders and craft makers visiting the town, for the local traders, and best of all for the local community. There was such a buzz in the town with so many people visiting the food stalls, talking to expert craftspeople and taking part in our own Bovey Bake Off. The music programme was a tremendous success, and I will always remember the fantastic, moving performance by the Brodsky Quartet, I can’t wait to hear them again. I’m so pleased that we will be welcoming them to Bovey again, along with the other top quality musicians who will be performing for us.”

Nourish Festival is a community initiative led by The Contemporary Craft FestivalThe Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the Cheese Shed.

The Food & Craft Fairs on Sat 5 Sept are free to visitors. Concerts on Fri 4 & Sat 5 Sept are ticketed. Full details and ticket booking is available at www.nourishfestival.org.

The Pig & Pallet: Good Game’s new Deli Cafe

Exeter has a lot of cafes. It is definitely a hub of cafe culture in Devon, if not the South West, and it doesn’t seem to be relenting any time soon.  The newest, and certainly the most exciting to open for a while, is The Pig & Pallet which opened over the weekend on Topsham’s historic quayside.  The company behind this deli-cafe is Good Game, Exeter’s very own artisan charcuterie.

Good Game has developed a good reputation for some tasty smoked & cured meats over the last few years.  They appear at many of the local farmer’s markets and foody fairs that take place across Exeter and Devon, selling butchered cured meats, chorizo sausages, cooking sausages and a number of other self produced products that are available to buy online via their website or a selected number of suppliers (including Darts Farm). They have recently started supplying meat to River Cottage Canteens which really is a seal of approval for any small-scale producer.

Meat comes from their own drove of rare breed pigs, kept and reared at Powderham. Game comes from other local suppliers. The company are (to quote the blog on their website) “the only commercial charcuterie company in the UK who are completely Nitrate and Additive free…”, which fits in with their ethos of simple and uncomplicated manufacture.

I had the joy of meeting Pete Woodham-Kay and Steve Williams at The Pig & Pallet, brandishing our newly bought mugs (the offer was to bring a mug for the cafe to keep and get a free coffee or tea but we like all our mugs too much) and we met their assistant Jenny who was helping out with serving tea and coffee.  Pete and Steve have had a lot of help on their way to get the business set-up and established, but there we were sat in their own deli cafe at the beginning of what I hope, is going to be a golden mile for this awesome business.  I am completely bias as I love smoked meat, and after tasting some of their pastrami…yup, take my money now!!

The mastermind behind the construction and refitting of this former sail loft (the holes in the flooring are from sail maker’s pins!) was Pete who fabricated and fitted much of the interior from reclaimed pallets and other bits n pieces.  An organic design, the Council is yet to give them planning for the true capacity of the space.  It comes with a fully functioning ‘Pig Map’ and flashing ladybirds, and custom Pete Woodham-Kay ‘Pig Clock’.  The deli-cafe also includes a butchery area and deli counter where, you’ll be able to buy products off the bone for a reasonable price.

Good Game is also behind the hugely successful Topsham Beer & Bacon Festival which is due to happen again this year on Saturday September 12th.  I know this because that is my birthday AND I will be down there getting steadily marinated as the day goes on :)

I am intending on writing a product review for their Boar, Smoked Ham and Pastrami that we bought on Sunday afternoon, as it was simply the most delicious thing ever.  I really am bias.  Oh well!

Deliveroo Arrives in Exeter

Now and again I get to work with some awesome companies and brands who I think will benefit diners in Exeter.  Recently I have been lucky to be able to work with two different companies who are looking to benefit dining in Exeter through a well thought out and genuine service.

Like me, you might be partial to the odd take-away, a sneaky Burger King or a cheeky Dominoes. Its great when you get something delivered to your door, especially when it tastes nice. There are quite a few companies that do deliveries, JustEat etc and a few that do their own deliveries.  Delivery prices can vary; it can be a minefield.  But sometimes a company or a startup appears that makes you realise, its not all that bad.

One of these companies is Deliveroo, and I am excited to say that Deliveroo is coming to Exeter! The company has been covered by Wired Magazine’s startup of the week back in April and starting in new cities all over the country.  They aim to “revolutionise the way people dine by delivering quality food from local independent and chain restaurants direct to people’s doors”  By ordering from Deliveroo, you get restaurant quality food to your door.  How cool is that?

Through their tried and tested system, the average delivery time takes 32 minutes from order to door.  Using their own courier service, your food should end up with you (£2.50 delivery charge) delivered and boxed, ready to eat.

In Exeter a number of restaurants have signed up including Urban Burger, Coffee Plant, Forn, HubBox, Truffles Cafe, Al Farid and The Curry Leaf. A few chains like ASK Italian and Carluccios will also be on board too, and this number could rise as time goes on!

So can everyone in Exeter order from these restaurants?  Deliveroo’s previous experience has taught that restaurant quality food only keeps at its best for up to 9 minutes afterwards, so there is a catchment area that Deliveroo will deliver too.  At the moment that is most of central Exeter to start with, but some of the outer regions might not be covered.  There will be more info about the catchment areas closer to launch.

You’ll hear more about Deliveroo from me as I’m going to give it a test run when it launches. In the meantime follow Deliveroo in Exeter on Twitter for the latest updates.  Also see how Dine Birmingham got on with Deliveroo when it launched in Birmingham.