Belinda Dillon enjoys a taste of local excellence in Exeter's West Quarter
When we lost Abode, I thought fine-dining opportunities in Exeter were kaput. Not so! @Angela’s, run by Richard and Angela Valder, and located in the staunchly independent West Quarter, continues to serve up the most exquisite food, and in a satisfyingly unshowy way.
With Richard in the kitchen and Angela running the front of house, this little gem epitomises ‘local’ – from the sourcing of high-quality produce to the welcoming atmosphere. With just nine tables, and open evenings only from Wednesday to Saturday, it feels like a well-kept secret in Exeter, but with a stand-out reputation.
And it’s well deserved. My starter of sautéed baby squid was deliciously delicate, the light breadcrumb coating containing a little nudge of chilli. Stuart’s duck liver parfait wafted across the tongue like silk, while the accompanying pickled pear had me ricocheting between the dishes like a game of Pong on ProPlus.
Next up, my roasted monkfish tail was fat and juicy, swathed in a dreamily creamy garlic and rosemary sauce. Stuart’s roast breast of guinea fowl was fall-apart tremendous. We exchanged one forkful of each, then it was heads down, and not another word passed between us.
To finish, Stuart’s vanilla crème brûlée hit the sweet spot, but it was my white chocolate mousse that stole the show, with a dark chocolate cup hiding ‘drunken raspberries’, accompanied by Bailey’s ice cream. Luckily, home was a mere ten-minute shamble away.
The restaurant has been open ten years in Exeter, and I’m kicking myself for not discovering it before now. The Valders seem reluctant to shout about it, so I’ll do it for them: seek out @Angela’s – you won’t be disappointed.
Belinda loves: the roasted garlic cloves, Angela’s warm welcome, the selection of artisan gin, the good-value wine list, the short walk home.
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