The reason for the name ‘Pig & Pallet’ becomes obvious the moment you walk through the door: the restaurant is ingeniously built from recycled wood including lots of pallets. We instantly realise this is a quirky eaterie in Exeter that smacks of fun.
Although there are tables and benches scattered about, my review buddy Fio is taken with a cosy-looking recess. Alan Clark, our enthusiastic front-of-house for the night, is happy for us to sit there, as long as we understand that this is Norman’s Snug. Regular customer Norman (Croucher) is an extraordinary character who, despite being a double amputee, climbs mountains to raise money for Hospiscare.
Suitably humbled, Fio orders a pint of Sandford Orchards Devon Red, while I plump for a refreshing elderflower from Heron Valley in Kingsbridge. Alan is at pains to point out that The Pig & Pallet is rooted in the local area, using Devon suppliers as close to the restaurant as possible.
The Pig & Pallet is the brainchild of the Good Game guys, who are renowned for their superb game and cured meats. As a sometime vegetarian, I felt a little anxious, but when I rang ahead I was reassured that there would be plenty to tempt me, and I am not disappointed.
My starter, Hush Puppies with chipotle and mayo, is a very different taste experience; polenta and sour cream with rosemary, chives and chilli, deep fried and wicked. Fio has the Mac and Cheese with chorizo and bacon, which she pronounces “the best macaroni cheese ever”.
We fight for the chance to have the Herbivore burger for main, but I remind Fio of her duty as my guest to be a carnivore. She opts for the Devon Ruby burger with Swiss cheese and bacon, “a lovely bit of beef”. There’s no pud on offer, but we’d have no space for it anyway as portions are very generous.
The location on Topsham Quay in Exeter is superb. There’s a cheeky false window with a photo of the view that you’d see if there wasn’t a building in the way. Great fun and highly recommended for a night out with a bunch of friends.