I love London. I don’t leave London very often. I really don’t need to. Everything I love is here: My home, my business, fine food, my friends, constantly exciting Soho with it's speed, fashion and finesse. But this weekend I was on a joint mission out of town, a. to my dear friend Hen’s Wedding and b. in doing so, to stay with my other friend Doctor Helen (heavily referenced in 'Spooning with Rosie'). The wedding at Exeter Cathedral was reassuringly English, and was followed by an ace garden party with a brass band and sandwiches with no crusts – so lavish.
And staying in Exeter, Raf and I were bombarded with the delights of this city. Neither too posh nor heavily industrial, too ‘down-from-london’ or backwater either, with serene Georgian villas and steep little Victorian terraces. First up, Doctor Helen took us to her local, The Hour Glass on Melbourne Street. I can’t get this place out of my head. Everything we ordered, literally everything, was immaculately executed, simple and just good. There was confit duck with a Reform club sauce; potted crab; butterbean and pancetta soup with cider; a beetroot and goatscheese salad and 2 bottles of excellent Uruguaian red to boot. THEN we ordered every pudding on the menu (we three are not the types for abstinence). I had a pear trifle, so very oldfashioned and yet, utterly beautiful. Not school food at all. Raf had a gypsy tart, with however did bring back school memories but only in a really good way. Augh it was amazing. And Doctor Helen had a white chocolate parfait. If this pub was in London it would be full of idiots (like me), but as it is, it’s just perfect.
Next in Exeter was a lovely lazy Monday. We left Raf working whilst we went off round the quay. This again is so pretty and yet not shi shi. We worked our way round to the grocey shop (Magdalen Road) that Doctor Helen had already told me lots about. Bill was a generous waisted and spirited man, who sold me a massive bunch of beetroot (for dinner tonight in Brixton), and some other bits and bobs. The shop is tumbling and the stripy green awning and scribbled labels like any girls fantasy veg shop. A few doors down is Bon Gout, a packed to the rafters deli when lovely staff (really really) and a good selection of cheese. We bought Cornish Yarg and had it with Tomato chutney, bread and salad.
I simply can’t recommend Exeter enough. It’s a theme park of My Kind of Fun.