Sue Stoneman enjoys the local and varied menu at one of the jewels of Exeter’s independent dining scene
20 August 2019
This restaurant is a hidden gem that has been sparkling in the city for over twelve years. Tucked away in the West Quarter, it is well known for its seasonal, local and freshly cooked food, as well as for its relaxing atmosphere and friendly service. Whatever the occasion – catching up with friends, a romantic meal or a family celebration – it has it all. The restaurant is run by husband and wife team, Richard and Angela Valder. Richard is the magician in the kitchen (you can catch glimpses of him cooking and plating up at the hatchway), while Angela is the perfect hostess.
The menu is bursting with dishes from local suppliers, with a varied choice of fish, meat and veggie options. For starters, I chose the baked goat’s cheese on roasted butternut squash. The cheese was warm with a delicate flavour and the chopped hazelnuts added extra crunch. My friend went for the roasted sweet potato, butternut squash and avocado salad, which she described as “lovely and light”. Warm homemade rolls accompanied the starters.
The mains didn’t disappoint either. I went for the roasted West Country duck breast, with a caramelised orange and Glayva sauce. This is one of Richard’s signature dishes and is very popular with diners. My friend chose the sea bass. It’s her favourite fish, but she hadn’t tried it with caramelised ginger before. Both plates were laden with flavour and we loved the perfectly cooked vegetables in their thin pastry cases.
We just about squeezed in dessert. Mine was a white chocolate, whisky and honey cheesecake, and my friend had sticky toffee pudding, served warm with a toffee sauce and honeycomb ice cream. My dessert was decorated with homemade treats of a langue de chat (a French biscuit), chocolate and a toffee crisp. Our pretty plates were delicious and scraped clean.
If you wish to linger, which is more than likely, you should finish off your evening with a coffee or a drink from the well-stocked bar and enjoy Richard’s homemade chocolate petits fours.
Open Wednesdays–Saturdays from 6.30pm.
Sue loves: the crisp white linen tablecloths, the welcoming service and Richard’s homemade chocolates
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