Harry's Grill Bar, Bailey Street, Exeter, Devon - Restaurant Review
Julian Rees samples great steaks at Harry's Grill Bar in Bailey Street, Exeter, Devon.
Harry’s Grill Bar, Bailey Street, Exeter, Devon
You may have eaten at Harry’s Restaurant in Longbrook Street, Exeter; it’s been there for 12 years and has become part of the city’s foodie furniture – a Saturday lunchtime favourite of ours, synonymous with friendly service and value for money. You may not yet have experienced Harry’s Grill Bar, the restaurant’s recent sibling, as the name suggests, a more specialist affair that will appeal to those with more time to enjoy a fuller eating experience and especially those who appreciate great steaks.
On arrival we were warmly greeted by host Oliver Heathcote, formerly of J Sheekey in Covent Garden, London, who immediately made us at home in the comfortable cocktail bar. A wide range of classic cocktails were available from the resident mixologist along with a few contemporary twists, which I’m told, often lead to rousing performances on the ‘self service’ piano on a weekend night!
After getting the lowdown from Oliver and Sous Chef Andrew Beckett on Harry’s raison d’�tre – the promotion of ethical farming methods, reducing the restaurant’s carbon footprint, and sourcing the best local ingredients – we proceeded upstairs to the well-appointed restaurant. This has a fantastic open-timbered roof space, floor-to-ceiling windows matched with similarly sized cast-iron radiators, all put together, � la Harry’s, by various members of the Pounds family. It would be fair to say they know a thing or two about creating just the right ambience to enjoy great food and good company.
Although the menu boasts a varied range of main courses, it’s the grill menu that draws one’s attention, with a full selection of steaks – rump, sirloin, porterhouse, rib-eye, T-bone and Chateaubriand – in a variety of weights that will satisfy the most red-blooded of carnivores.
Knowing I was just going to have to ‘go large’, I started with the finest fillet Carpaccio whilst my partner, maintaining her foray into all things fungal, went for the wild mushroom brioche – both suitably tasty. For me, the rib-eye is the king of steaks, having a good ‘eye’ of fat that gives a fuller flavour to match the full stomach feeling from the ‘puts-hair-on-your-chest’ 14-ounce portion.
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All Harry’s beef is sourced from AW Luscombe of Totnes, my local butcher (make mental note to order free range turkey for the holiday season from said butcher next week) and is 100% Devon-reared, carrying the South West Quality Meat Certificate and hung for a minimum 21 days.
Fearing the ‘hairy chest’, my partner chose belly pork, an equally flavoursome cut that has made a welcome return, in my opinion, to more and more modern menus. On this occasion it was served with a subtle crab apple and cider sauce, which really couldn’t be better.
Finishing off with Chef Adam Little’s well-flavoured homemade ice creams, we were both truly well fed.
The combination of a great bar, quality wholesome food, well-designed surroundings and enthusiastic and attentive staff is sure to see Harry’s Grill Bar match the success of its older stablemate.
Harry’s Grill Bar
No 6 Northernhay Place
Exeter, Devon, EX4 3QJ
Monday-Wednesday: 12 noon-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm
Thursday-Saturday: 12 noon-2.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm
Open at 11am for coffee; late bar on Fridays and Saturdays
Proprietor: Sam Pounds
General Manager: Oliver Heathcote
Head Chef: Adam Little
Sous Chef: Andrew Beckett
Starters from �5.50; Mains from �10; Desserts from �4.50
House wines from �14
Wild mushroom brioche with tarragon cr�me fra�che
River Exe mussels cooked in Somerset cider, finished with cream
Wild venison loin with red cabbage, dauphinoise potatoes and blackberry sauce
Chateaubriand (for two) fillet steak with b�arnaise sauce, homemade fries, tomato & watercress
Harry’s chocolate sundae homemade brownie, cookie dough ice cream and chocolate sauce
Local cheeses: Quicke’s Cheddar, Sharpham Brie, Cornish Yarg, and Devon Blue, with homemade oat biscuits and homemade chutney
Which do you prefer, Harry's Restaurant or Harry's Grill Bar?