Published in The Guide, The Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Friday, 1 October 2010
Struggling for somewhere different to try my girlfriend suggested the newly reopened Exeter Arms near Stamford. The restaurant and pub, which also features five individually designed bedrooms, lay closed for three and half years before the proprietors of The Crown Hotel in Stamford (as well as the White Hart at Ufford) took over and thoughtfully restored the listed building, before reopening in early September.
The pub lies in the 12th century village of Easton on the Hill along the A43 just a couple of minutes from the A1 near Stamford, and we were greeted by friendly, welcoming staff.
The cosy and tastefully decorated restaurant area – the venue also offers a sunken patio and garden, orangery and nook area – was reasonably busy for Tuesday, we had heard booking ahead was a good idea.
There is an extensive wine list as well as ales from the local Ufford Ales brewery, I had a White Hart, meanwhile some bread and oil for dipping arrived to begin proceedings, but we didn’t have to wait long for the first or any course.
The restaurant offers a pizza menu alongside a good variety of more traditional seasonal dishes, and making our choices took some time.
To start, I went for a delicate but tasty grilled red mullet with tomato and pickled cucumber, while my partner had the generously filled duck parcel with orange and baby leaf salad, served on a slate dish – beautifully presented as were all the dishes.
The Exeter Arms sources a lot of its ingredients locally and several items on the menu bear the name of the surrounding region’s bountiful supply of meat, fish and cheeses. Plus minimising those food miles is always good for the environmental conscience. Definitely the way forward, but I digress.
Alongside the pizzas and meat dishes, the Home Comforts menu – including an intriguing pie of the day – offered a yeast battered Haddock with chips and mushy, I mean crushed peas.
This caught the eye of my girlfriend and proved a good choice not just because the chips came in an attractive bucket, but the fish was generous with delicious batter.
I went for their signature pizza, a perfect, thin and crispy base topped with chicken, red onion chutney, rocket and goat’s cheese, very tasty.
The desert menu again offered some tantalising treats, yes you read that right, but we were too full for one each, so shared a delicate but vanilla bean crème brulee with cinnamon biscuits.
We couldn’t fault the experience, the general relaxed ambiance, the high standard of service or the delicious food. With its location being reasonably accessible for those across the region, all in all, a very promising début.
5 out of 5
The Exeter Arms, Easton on the Hill, Stamford, PE9 3NS, 01780 756 321
Web: www.theexeterarms.net (full site due live imminently)
The Exeter Arms also offers morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon tea.
The Exeter Arms seasonal soup
Free range confit duck parcel with orange and baby leaf salad
Homemade chicken liver parfait with shallot & ale chutney
Grilled red mullet with tomato dressing and pickled cucumber
Rack of Tallington lamb rump with shepherd’s pie, roasted butternut squash purée and smoked garlic sauce
Pan fried cod loin with clam and shrimp chowder
10oz Lincoln Red sirloin steak with baked flat mushroom, grilled tomato, onion rings, herb butter and hand cut chips
North Norfolk crab risotto with chorizo oil and turmeric
Home Comforts, all priced at £10
The Exeter Arms burger, 100% steak mince served with grilled back bacon, Rutland cheese, onion rings, chips
Yeast battered prime haddock fillet with crushed peas, double fried chips and homemade tartar sauce
Homemade sausages made with creamy mash and shallot chutney gravy
Pie of the day, includes: Medley of fish pie; Lincoln Red beef, Ufford Ale and mushroom; Shepherd’s pie with buttered mash; Steak and Stilton shortcrust pastry
Pizza menu: includes The Exeter Arms Signature Pizza
Corn fed chicken, red onion chutney, goat’s cheese and rocket
Deserts, aka ‘something Naughty’
Raspberry cheesecake with blackberry compote
White chocolate mousse
Vanilla bean crème brulee with cinnamon butter biscuit
Cheese (a varied selection of regional varieties) and biscuits
Details correct as at 28 September 2010