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A Taste of the Past

The Hour Glass in Exeter is revisiting historic West Country dishes as part of a menu showcasing the best of the region, both old and new

Scallop Dish. The Hour Glass, Exeter

The Hour Glass, just a stone’s throw from Exeter Quayside, is renowned for its Sunday roasts, great steak and triple-cut chips, and hearty dishes. Alongside these familiar favourites, diners will also find heritage Devon recipes that have been given a modern twist, including Devonshire Dumplings, Scalloped Oysters, Devon Pork Pie and Exeter Stew.

Over the past few months, the kitchen team has been researching and reinventing forgotten recipes inspired by vintage cookbooks, magazine articles, menus and even old postcards. The result is a menu full of classic pub favourites showcasing suppliers within and around the city, alongside modern versions of heritage dishes paying tribute to Devon’s local food history.

A great example of the new/old Hour Glass menu is its version of the dish: Devonshire Scallop. “When we were researching this, we found that a Devonshire Scallop didn’t actually contain any scallop at all,” explains Head Chef David Knapman. “It was a potato/cheese/mustard mix baked in a scallop shell.”

David explains: “When we discovered the Hand Picked Scallop Company in Brixham – that supplies us with live, hand-dived, in-shell scallops on the same day they’ve been picked off the seabed – we knew we had the perfect opportunity to revisit this dish. Our version now includes the potato/cheese/mustard base, but we top it with a scallop. We roast it, then finish it with a sauce made with many little secret things, including the scallop roe, which has been cured and smoked, and a tipple of cider brandy.”

Seafood isn’t the only item on the menu. The Hour Glass also works with local organic veg supplier Shillingford Organics, alongside other nearby farms to source lamb, beef, chicken and pork. “The beef for our steaks is reared on Dartmoor and the flavour is simply outstanding,” says David. “We’re so lucky to have so much available on our doorstep. Even the potatoes for our chips come from Devon.”

The Hour Glass is one of Exeter’s most historic pubs, dating back to the 1840s and still retaining many of its original features. Its quirky decor, many nooks and crannies, and the friendly staff give the pub its unique atmosphere and warm welcome. After a brief period of closure, it was taken over by Exeter Brewery and reopened in 2021.

“The Hour Glass has always been my favourite pub in Exeter,” says Exeter Brewery and Hour Glass Managing Director Alan Collyer. “For me, it’s a labour of love. As well as being a great drinking pub, it’s consistently had a great reputation as a place to eat well. With its rich history, the Hour Glass is the perfect place to celebrate local food and food history.”

Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday; lunch: Friday to Sunday.


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