Review: The Terrace in Exeter

Terrace restaurant in Exeter

Terrace restaurant in Exeter - Credit: Archant

Andy Cooper ascends to the top of The Terrace and very much likes the view from on high

I used to say I knew I was getting older when policemen started looking younger. Then, some time ago, I sat opposite an MP for lunch and she was younger than me so I recalibrated my expectations. Now, after my visit to The Terrace, I am saying you know you are getting old when sommeliers start looking younger.

Forget crusty, dinner-jacketed Frenchmen wafting over to your table with a wine list looking rather like a leather-bound Bible, at Exeter’s hippest new eaterie the sommelier comes in jeans, sockless…and with an engaging and helpful manner belying his apparent ‘yoof’.

I am actually being unfair on Tom Wedgery, resident wine expert at The Terrace, because despite the fact he looks so young he is a much-travelled connoisseur whose recommendations are to be listened to. And the two wines he picked out for us – a Campostatano Falanghina and Zenato Lugana San Benedetto – perfectly complemented the food we had ordered.

And that sums up my experience at The Terrace – a helpful, friendly engaged team striving to make your dining experience pleasurable and fun in a relaxed atmosphere.

You’d expect nothing less from the team behind Artigiano coffee bar in Exeter and they have expertly pulled off the trick of moving into more serious dining in the new Queen Street Dining quarter. They have taken over two floors with the top floor home to a bright, airy and clean cut restaurant with views over the city.

The ‘While You Think’ offering as we sat down was a neat device and we enjoyed marinated olives, flat breads, crisp bread and, especially, crisp mussels as we pondered the rest of the menu.

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Pondering didn’t last long once we both spotted the seafood platter and soon two of those had been ordered. They didn’t disappoint. We eagerly tucked in and enjoyed the half lobster, four oysters, shell on tiger prawns, skin on fries and watercress – serious lip-smacking material.

‘Something Sweet’ at the end of the menu felt like an instruction, not a suggestion, and so we ordered up delicious set buttermilk and handmade passion fruit éclair with obligatory ‘try mine’ swapping of spoons.

As well as the dining experience The Terrace also has its downstairs bar area, offering a fabulous list of live acts taking care of the music, so your only choice is whether to call in for a snifter on the way up to the restaurant or on the way back down. Heck, why not do both?! w

‘Chef’s fave’

Brill with mussels, BBQ leek, cider and creme fraiche sauce

Head chef Jack Alden says: ‘It’s just a simple dish that shows that you don’t need lots of elements on a dish to make it stand out’

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