Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Gobbler Burger - Ruby Modern Diner, Queen St. Exeter

Tis the season to be jolly!  Tis the season of late night shopping, Amazon wishlists, family logistics, Christmas meals and a very empty looking bank account.  There are a lot of things that really annoy me about the whole season, but the one thing I look forward to, being the pig that I am, is the culinary side of it.  Mince pies, seasonal specials, Christmas pudding and roast potatoes (not so much Brussels sprouts) but definitely the season of indulgence and good ‘ol gluttony.
Eating Exeter was lucky enough to have a sample of this tremendous turkey creation, but this was the second one in two days having been the organiser of our work Christmas meal which had the pleasure of choosing from the Ruby Christmas Menu.  It was so tempting I just had to have a sneak preview beforehand!  I’ll do a write-up of the Christmas meal itself in a later post as this was definitely worth some positive kudos.
Ruby have been creative with their take on the classic Christmas combination of Turkey, Cranberry and Bacon; all being the ingredients to the traditional sort of meal you might have at your In-laws. The team have managed to balance three ingredients that traditionally go together and have created the ultimate turkey burger, given this is a first for me as Turkey Burgers being served in restaurants are just not really that common.
And there is a reason for this (imho), Turkey is a naturally dry and bland meat if over-cooked but this meaty monster was cooked beautifully, remaining moist throughout the time it took me to photograph it, argue with my camera (you will take a photo at this distance I shouted…!!), eat/drink my Peanut Butter Jelly Five Dollar Milkshake and finally get around to eating it.  The classic cheese and bacon combination works well with the cranberry sauce (real cranberries by the way!) and the fresh salad garnish just finishes it off.  A word of warning, make sure you have about 5 paper napkins nearby before you start eating it because it got very messy!
So this brings me on to the other seasonal visitor to the Ruby Modern Diner menu; which was literally one of the nicest things I have had in a long time.  Ruby has to be one of the only places in Exeter that do ‘Five Dollar Milkshakes’ (I believe a reference from Pulp Fiction?) and certainly they are quite epic the rest of the year.  But a Peanut Butter Jelly Shake?  Yup. Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jam, Liquid Chocolate, Vanilla Ice-cream and Milk. Whizzed up and garnished with cream and a cherry.
After Ollie (Restaurant Manager) came over to see how I was getting on the only words that I could muster was ‘…that was epic’ and ‘I would live off these if I could’…I still hold to my hashtag #lostforwords that I used on Twitter afterwards.
Ruby have put their own spin on a Christmas classic.  For £8, The Gobbler can be part of your life and for £3.75 you can let the Peanut Butter Jelly Shake work its magic!
Ruby Modern Diner
74 Queen St, Exeter, EX4 3RX
Telephone: 01392 436168
Email: info@rubyburgers.com

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Classic Cowboy - Inn On The Green (Marstons) Paignton

Where?: The Inn On The Green, Paignton

What?: The Cowboy Classic Burger - Bacon, Monterey Jack Cheese, Token Salad.

How much?: £10 something

The Verdict:

The Inn on The Green in Paignton hasn't done much for me in the past.  The last time we went there, it ended up with us making a complaint to the manager about some terrible tasting fish that they had served us as part of their fish and chips meal.  Marstons also own the Waterloo Cross in Uffculme which was terrible as well so frankly my expectations were dragging up the steps of the pub as we had decided that our day out in Paignton needed some fuel.

Given we were on a budget and not really feeling particularly adventurous we decided to give The Inn On The Green another go, but maybe avoid the fish this time?

The Inn On The Green is a family pub which means that there is generally more tolerance to the Callums and Chardonnays of this world running around screaming at the top of their voices whilst the rest of the pub quietly judge their parenting skills.  They won't get kicked out as fast, and there is a holding cell for the small ones (I think its called a play area?).  So bring your ear protectors.

Interestingly a sign at the front says that Cambra members are welcome, not that you would find anything worth them coming in for.  Like all Marstons their only main redeeming feature in terms of ale was the fact that they do have Hobgoblin on draught but this had a big sign on it saying 'coming soon'...  So yes, even before I had sat down I had judged and made up my mind.  Bad habit when you're writing a blog about places you eat in.

I would at this stage like to change the course of this post, because despite the surroundings there were a number of things that had improved since our last visit and the first thing was certainly the service.  The staff were friendly and personable, on the whole.  There were no miserable expressionless drones (as the Cafe Tutto around the corner had provided us with earlier in the afternoon), everyone seemed happy to smile and to express their basic humanity.

Secondly the food had improved as well.  Even though this is a burger blog, it was nice to see that they hadn't gone overboard with Gourmet Burgers.  There were three burgers to choose from (The Cowboy Classic, Macaroni Cheese Burger and a Piri Piri Chicken Burger) and they were not labeled proudly as 'Gourmet Burgers' which has become quite tiresome now, they were just Brilliant Burgers.  The Cowboy Classic seemed like a sure bet, so I went for that with baited breathe.

With some Heinz Burger sauce for dipping and a good load of chips, this was actually a nice burger.  Yes, it was stuffed with filler and binding, the origin of the meat was not given and it was beyond medium rare but it was definitely not the worst burger I have ever had.  A soft bap and a pot of catering standard coleslaw accompanied it, and although for what you got and compared to the price of better burgers that I have had in better places, it was much more than it should have been, the burger was a good size and the taste was meaty enough to keep me happy.

Washed down with a pint of Cumberland from Jennings (bought by Marstons in 2005) which frankly tasted of watered down nats piss, it was a fair meal which I would have again.  But with Hobgoblin.

The Mare & Foal 10oz Burger on The North Devon Ale Trail

The North Devon Ale Trail is most probably one of my favourite reasons for using a train.  I quite like trains anyway, but the idea of spending the day hopping on and off a train whilst visiting some of the nicer Devon pubs you are likely to find, fills me with heaps of happiness.  So it was with a lot of gusto and enthusiasm that I dragged some willing victims around this elongated pub crawl, all in the name of Real Ale.

Originally I had said that I would give a blow by blow account of the day, but in reality a lot happens on these trips and many photos were taken.  The main highlight for me on that day was the discovery of the 10oz Burger that is served by The Mare and Foal in Yeoford.  This densely meaty burger was a fantastic mid-drink addition, and the whole afternoon got a whole lot better its discovery.

Leaving the station at 09.27 we wanted to get up in time for breakfast in Barnstaple.  The first pub was Marshalls and luckily for us, they do a very reasonably priced breakfast.  However we rocked up to the station three minutes late, so it was going to be breakfast in Exeter instead.  

The Great Western had a board about breakfasts, so we pottered over to have a look.  Unfortunately for The Great Western there was nobody at the bar, so we waited and when someone did appear they didn’t greet us with the customary ‘how can I help you?’, just a ‘hello’ and then just ignored until one of the party pursued him and found out that despite saying they did breakfasts, they weren’t serving food until 12pm.  So a quick getaway to the burger van across the roundabout and a very nice Bacon and Egg Roll consumed.
We caught the next train up an hour later, and arrived at Barnstaple after a pleasant and picturesque journey.  First pint in Marshalls was a pint of Fox by Exmoor Brewery, and then a quick departure back to the train to catch the train to the next pub.  Our next pub was The Rising Sun in Umberleigh where I met ‘Dave’.  Dave is an Ale brewed by Great Heck Brewery, a dark stout with a Smokey yet sweet taste to it.  Certainly my favourite ale of the whole trip.

Then back on the train to Yeoford and the mighty 10oz Burger at The Mare and Foal.

If you tried to describe The Mare and Foal, the first word that would come to mind would be quirky.  Owned by Trevor and Jane, Trevor does the cooking being the creator of this dense meat feast.  Despite the fact a few pubs along the North Devon Ale Trail have dropped out, The Mare and Foal still gladly welcome train bound travellers who have given this pub a bit of a cult status.

The Burger:

Listed as a 10oz burger, the size of it didn’t strike me being worthy of the label until you bite in to it and realise how dense this thing is. Hand made in the pub, our entire party had decided that they would all like the burger so this ultimately meant they soon sold out (sucks to be the guy after us who I heard rather disappointedly head back to his table to say that the burgers were all sold out).  The burger came with chips and a generic salad, but an epic portion for just shy over a tenner.  Washed down with a pint of Bays Summer Ale it couldn’t get any better, plus it had a definite kick to it given the extra seasoning and spices that go in to it.  

Soon it was back on the train and on to another pub.  We had intended to stop at Newton St Cyres and visit The Beer Engine, but the train didn’t stop at Newton so we had to make an unexpected stop at Crediton.  

Pub-wise, Crediton isn’t blessed with much.  One of the pubs on the Ale Trail involves walking up a hill and in to town which, although it’s a nice walk, isn’t great if you’re of limited mobility because of either alchohol or health.  So we decided to walk in a certain direction and see what we hit first.  And we hit The Plymouth Inn.  Not a real ale in sight but full of character instead.  A sod off great Rottweiler patrolled the floor as we daintily sipped our weasel piss.

In no time at all we were back on the train heading back Exeter, and rather predictably we ended up in The Imperial sipping down a pint of Crispy Pig and reflecting on a successful day.  I can't remember much after the first Jagarbomb but it all got a bit squiffy after that.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The 8oz Beef Burger (with Blue Cheese and Bacon) - The Brasenose Arms, Cropredy, Oxfordshire

Where?: The Brasenose Arms

What?: 8oz Burger

How much?: £10.45.....I think?

The Verdict:

It isn't very often that BBB gets to eat out in a grown-up restaurant.  OK, well on this occasion it was a posh-ish pub in the delightful little village of Cropredy (Crop-reedy or Crop-ready?) in North Oxfordshire which we were lucky to visit on a recent trip

Two weeks previously, had you come during the middle of the Fairport Cropredy Convention then getting in to this place would have been nearly impossible as it hosts a very successful 'Fringe Festival' to go hand in hand with the main festival just up the hill.  Not sure what I am on about? Then read here and consider going next year as it is absolutely the best thing ever, which I will at some point write about in another blog.

As we were floating (literally as we were on a Narrow Boat holiday with chums) back towards Cropredy, having been to the festival then floating down to Oxford and back again, it was decided that we needed some sort of posh sustenance, ultimately this was going to be by either The Red Lion or The Brasenose Arms in Cropredy, and through various conversations at various locks it was considered that The Brasenose had the best food and ultimately would be the place to think about going.  The menu was a really well engineered entity with reasonable prices as well, so without a hesitation our table was booked (good idea as it was VERY busy) and we were ready for what they had to offer.

Busy pubs that order at the table, rather than the bar always scare me a bit, as quite often you'll find that the bar staff are the ones who are looking after the diners as well, and there has been quite a few times where we have found ourselves having to go up to the bar to order out of impatience or we've just been forgotten about full stop.

Given it was busy we were seated pretty quickly, but menus weren't really forthcoming so I had to hunt for them myself.  But I'm happy to do this, its not a massive issue as this isn't exactly Michelin Star standard.  Happy it wasn't as my burger would have been tiny...tiny burgers are bad even if they taste good.

Starter was going to be garlic bread as the shared camembert was out.  Had we been told this as the menu was handed to us, which they weren't then the crippling disappointment of Camambert denial would have not been an issue but it was and I weeped quietly in the toilet (not seriously...just metaphorically).
The Garlic bread was amazing and perfectly sized for sharing.  I made many approving noises as I ate this much to the amusement of those around us.

The Burger, for me, given the apathetic fish ridden mess of the Greene King Surf Clucking Bell thing I'd had a few days before left me hankering for something beefy and brilliant.  Anything 8oz would have be close to that?
The Brasenose Arms has to be commended for not trying to introduce 15 different burgers with creative names.  Leave this to the Gourmet Burger professionals please, and they have.  Listed as an 8oz Beefburger with either the addition of Blue Cheese or Bacon. Sorted, nothing more nothing less.

The burger appeared, moreso it hoved in to view.  A massive wedge of meat cooked well and as I found out biting in to it, one of the best burgers I have had since The Oddfellows Meateasy night.  Thick, juicy and with a stunning taste that really punched a meaty home in my mouth.

The rest of the meal disappeared from my memory after this.  The fact that we were forgotten by the service when we were deciding on our desserts seems to just fade in to darkness, the fact that we were sat right by the fire door which people seemed to keep trying to exit, but couldn't because it was either locked or broken, nah that doesn't matter either.  The burger is the one thing that I remember and the one thing that I'll take home with me is this amazing memory.

The Brasenose Arms:
Station Rd, Cropredy, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX17 1PW

01295 750244

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Ultimate Surf, Turf & Cluck Burger - Greene King Pubs (Wig and Pen, Oxford)

Where?: Wig and Pen, Oxford

What?: The Ultimate Surf, Turf and Cluck Burger

How much?: 9.99

The Verdict:

As a visitor to Oxford, I quickly realise a few things.

1. There are a lot of Chinese tourists all snapping away and fulfilling the 1970's Viz stereotype of Chinese tourists.

2. Oxford is not as expensive as you think. You can pick up some really good food for not much, like you can in any large university town if you know where to look.

3. The architecture in Oxford is as beautiful as you might imagine.

Lets concentrate on the second point here. You can eat well for not much in Oxford if you know where to go. You can have a damn fine breakfast from The Oxford Cafe for 5.95, so long as you're willing to share personal space with strangers and be partial to conversations about cats and how they poo in particular places.

And we found ourselves marching up and down Broad St eyeing up some really nice places in our hunt for some food. We nearly hit The Grapes, a Bath Ales owned pub with some lovely ales on draught but were put off by the apathetic service and the overactive air conditioning.

So we braved the noisey and chaotic climate of The Greene King owned pub The Wig and Pen next door.

Despite there being a Gourmet Burger Kitchen just down the road, I was unable to persuade my marital unit that this was something we should consider, so I comprimised and decided to have a burger here instead.

Like Wetherspoons, they do ale, a large menu and the usual 'order at the bar with your table number thing'. However, unlike Wetherspoons they have music playing so conversation became a little hard without shouting a lot.

Ignoring the rest of the exhaustive and mostly average menu the one thing that I spied was The Ultimate Surf, Turf and Cluck Burger. For 9.99 you could have the behemoth on the menu with every sort of meat imaginable.

Beef burger (size and meat unknown), Southern Fried Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Tabasco Sweet Chipotle and Cola Sauce and Scampi. Combined in to a massive burger which makes you truly believe you're getting your money's worth.

I decided to do their 'Burger, Fries and Drink' offer and upgrade that offer up to the Surf, Turf and Cluck burger for an extra 2.50. Unfortunately they don't let you choose any real ales with this, which is frankly baffling given Wetherspoons are able to do this with their similar offer?

So after the usual awkward 'shout and order' given the music volume was rising on a timer somewhere in the backroom every 20 minutes, we waited about 10 minutes for someone to put things in microwaves, or whatever they do, and boom. It appeared.

No one really knows where the meat comes from, the cheese seems to be a generic cheese that you can create at home with bacon fat and an airfix model and the bacon is...well bacon and the Coleslaw is mass catering's finest. But I felt that whatever they were trying to achieve, a hole filled and a photo taken in my case, was achieved and although it was a little average on the whole this is something I would definitely have again. The combination worked (although the justification for calling it 'Surf' comes from the two solitary bits of scampi skewered mercilessly to the top) and the chicken, well I was impressed with this as it wasn't dry and was cooked very well. The beef itself was kind of generic and cooked to 'inch of life' but it was pleasant.

Good one Greene King...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Smokey Mountain - Urbanburger, Exeter

Where?: Urbanburger, Queen St, Exeter

What?: The Smokey Mountain

How much?: £8.25

The Verdict:

You have to hand it to Urbanburger, the first Gourmet Burger joint in Exeter has been open for a number of years and they’re still going from strength to strength.  The site they occupy has in my recent memory been a Fish Restaurant, Exeter Sausage and Grill and then a few years ago Urbanburger opened with its bright yellow menu and sunny disposition.  With the launch of their new Smoke Shack BBQ menu (Eating Exeter review to follow!) its endorsement from the Exeter Cheifs Rugby team (see the video here!), they are proving to diners in Exeter that great things are happening in that basement kitchen.  Recently Beer Burger and Beyond were invited down to see what’s happening down at Urbanburger, and sample some of the things that makes this a great restaurant. 

The first thing you notice about Urbanburger is the large opening doors at the front.  These let lots of natural light and air in to the restaurant space itself and on a hot day like a few that we have been recently having, this was nothing but a relief when we visited last week.  The second thing you notice is the blackboard sign with a breakdown of where their ingredients come from and the emphasis on locally sourced ingredients that I love about many of the independent restaurants in Exeter.  This little visual prompt makes you realise that what you are about to eat is more than likely from within five or ten miles of the restaurant, you can’t get any more local then that and add in to this 95% of everything that Urbanburger serves is made from scratch on the premises.

Urbanburger has to be given credit for its new menu.  The white easy read nature of the menus and the information about the food around the sides and has been introduced in the last couple of weeks.  There is also information about the Man Vs Food challenge which quite frankly is slightly mad.  20 minutes to eat seven 6oz patties, seven slices of American cheese, seven pieces of bacon, an organic bun and a little salad.  If you win it, you get the whole lot for free (costs £24.95 regularly), a t-shirt and your name on the leader board and photo on the website.  As far as I am aware, there is no where else in Exeter that has a similiar challenge meal, only the brave should enter.

Beer Burger and Beyond focuses on a particular burger.  This includes the sides it comes with and the beer you can drink with it.  And on this visit, it was going to be the turn of The Smokey Mountain (£8.25).  A wonderfully smokey burger with a fantastic taste from an amazing combination of salad, BBQ mayo and smoked bacon topped off with a glorious helping of smoked cheese encapsulated between a soft locally baked bun.  You get a choice of the burger being either medium, well done or rare and if you want gluten free bread? You can; making the whole burger completely gluten free.

The beef used in the pattie comes from Greendale Farm (on the Sidmouth Road just outside Clyst St Mary) and are made fresh on site.  One of the things that Urbanburger pride themselves on is that the burgers are all gluten free, no bindings,these burgers have nothing added to keep them together. 

On the side we ordered Double Fried Fries and Sweet Potato Fries which we were able to share between us.  The Double Fried Fries were wonderfully crispy and we got a generous bucketful.  The Sweet Potato Fries were perfectly cooked with a crunchy shell and soft insides which given how hard Sweet Potato can be to cook, were certainly some of the nicest I have had in a long time.

As a local Ale lover, eating at Urbanburger and their quite amazing selection of local bottled ales made me feel quite at home. To add to the collection of mental gold stars that I had been collecting in my head, they have Hanlons Yellow Hammer in a bottle and also Avocet Ale (produced by Exeter Brewery at the bottom of the hill from Urbanburger).  So there I was sat with my locally produced burger, sipping on my Yellow Hammer which incidentally is brewed in Half Moon which is a couple of miles away at best.  Tori went for the Blueberry Bros amazing Blueberry Ale which is brewed by a BBB favourite, Hunters Brewery out at Ipplepen in the Teign Valley.  A lovely dark ale with a lightness and slightly sweet aftertaste which had distinctive blueberry’ness’ to it.

Our server was a lady called Nicole who has been at Urbanburger since the start.  From North Carolina, she has a southern lilt which gave her away, but her attentiveness to our needs and welcoming nature made us feel very much at home.  She also gives her name to Nicole’s Peanut Butter Pie which is without a single doubt one of the nicest desserts that I have ever tasted.  We shared one between two of us, as it was so rich but it had such an amazing peanut punch to it balanced with a sweetness and the slightly salty nature of peanut butter, the whole thing had the most delightful texture which just melted like a cheesecake but with the density of cake.
The Smoke Shack menu is the first of its kind in Exeter, and has to be seen to be believed.  In the near future keep a look out for a review on Eating Exeter of this menu as it looks amazing and really needs to be sampled.  Urbanburger has a fantastic menu with some really friendly staff and a really good local bias to its food and drink.  The gluten free burgers are really accessible to those with special dietary needs and the new accessible menus are a real bonus.  The menu is not exhaustive but gives a good balance between choice and a well engineered menu with its own distinct flavour to the food and the surroundings.  This will certainly be the first visit for Beer, Burger and Beyond but not the last.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The One Burger, Ruby Modern Diner, 74 Queen Street, Exeter

Where?: Ruby Modern Diner, 74 Queen Street, Exeter

What?: The One Burger - TWO 6oz hamburgers, double Hawkridge mature cheddar,
double smoked streaky bacon, loads of RUBY sauce

How much?: £10

The Verdict:

This monster is The One Burger which you can get from Ruby Modern Diner.  Its not a challenge burger, but you will be challenged to eat the whole thing.  Its not just vast, it is genuinely epic.

Two 6oz patties, bacon, lots of Hawkridge Cheddar, Ruby Sauce, gathered between two brioche buns like two titans fighting in a meaty battle to the death.  There is something gladitorial about this burger, and it isn't even supernatural.  I did wonder if the sheer size of it could create a distortion in the Earth's gravity but I was wrong, it warps space and time as you know it.

Add that to the portion sizes that Ruby is famed for, this is something that must be prepared for.  But humorous description aside, the meat is as local as you can get (Ruby have their own dedicated herd from a farm in Mid-Devon and can get through a cow a week, two if they're busy!).

We've already reviewed Ruby Modern Diner, so if you want a full review head here and have a look! 

The Original Gourmet Burger - The Imperial (Wetherspoons)

Where?: The Imperial, Exeter (Wetherspoons)

What?: The Original 6oz Gourmet Burger

How much?: £6.99 with alcoholic drink

The Verdict:

The first burger I've had since hitting Ruby Modern Diner, and the difference between a Ruby Burger and... um this one is quite evident.

Served with a slice of bacon and blue cheese with token lettuce and tomato in a possibly brioche bun, it needed a lot of chewing.  The meat had no taste and eating the whole thing was quite hard work.

Disappointing given some of the good burgers that we've had here before :(, the Brunch Burger is still king and still remains one of my all time favorite burgers.  The other side of the table loved her Brunch Burger, but never mind, there is always next time.

Beer was nice.  Loddon Brewery's Bamboozle which is a strong pale ale heavily hopped with English Goldings.  The Pale Ale malt gives the beer a clean crisp background so the website says!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Byron Burger - Byron Hamburgers, Exeter

Where?: Byron Hamburgers, Princesshay, Exeter

What?: The Byron - Dry cure bacon, mature Cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion and Byron sauce

How much?: £9.25

The Verdict:

"The Byron is a simple burger, and it was cooked well.  With a similar taste to a burger you could pick up at The Hub Box for instance, the soft bun was lighter than I had imagined it to be with a good taste.

Using Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, it is ground and made on site in to 6oz patties.  Then cooked to medium, whacked in a bun with the garnish and off it goes.

It took about 10 minutes from order to arrival so there wasn’t much waiting around, but just enough that we were able to start to count the cows.  If you do visit, you will see what I mean

Read the full review on Eating Exeter here

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Ruby - Ruby Modern Diner, 74 Queen St, Exeter

Where?: Ruby Modern Diner, Queen St, Exeter

What?: The Ruby - 6oz hamburger, Hawkridge mature cheddar, smoked streaky
bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, RUBY sauce

How much?: £7.50

The Verdict:

Eating Exeter has loved Ruby Modern Diner since they opened their doors a couple of years ago, and it was with great excitement that I we got invited back to add them to Beer, Burger and Beyond last week.

Situated 20 metres from Exeter Central Station and about the same from The Rougemont Thistle Hotel, Ruby Burger was Exeter's second Burger Restaurant, bringing a modern twist to the American dining experience.  Occupying the corner of a building that was at one point the old Exeter Post Office, the lofty modern styling of the interior of 74 Queen Street gives this independent restaurant a very clean and light feeling.  The summer evenings in Ruby are lovely with the sunlight streaming in through the large windows, this is one of those restaurants that you can truly relax.

There are few other restaurants in Exeter that has such strong focus on local ingredients and this is evident in the role-call of suppliers for the various different ingredients that go in to their burgers.

Copplestone Barton Farm in Mid-Devon supplies the Ruby beef which originates from one herd.  Ruby uses one cow a week and if they're busy, maybe two.  MC Kelly of Copplestone supplies local pork and chicken, buns come from Emma's Bread (Real Food Store, Exeter), Cheese comes from Hawkridge Farm also near Copplestone and the Sandford Cider comes from orchards near Crediton.  Darts Fresh supply fresh veg and the Ice Cream is from Otter Vale Ice Cream near Honiton.

Their hard work has paid off recently when they picked up a Taste Of The West Gold 2014, having already won a Taste of the West Gold last year and the Food and Drink Devon Best Takeaway 2013.

The menu is a well engineered combination between the classic American diner and modern British cuisine.
With a great choice for Vegetarian and Gluten intolerant diners, they have encompassed a range that is easy to choose from.  The menu is balanced in size to give you just enough for choice but not too much to make it overwhelming.  Burger choices are good with Chicken and Veggie options alongside some of the classic American style burger types such and culminating in'The One'which is simply massive and only for the very brave!

The Ruby:

For me, this is one of their signature burgers.  Its a 6oz hamburger with Hawkridge mature cheddar, smoked streaky bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, with Ruby's own sauce.

At the heart of this meaty creation is the Burger made from Ruby Beef and cooked to Medium as all burgers are by default here unless you say otherwise.  Despite generous amounts of filling, this is an easy burger to eat and requires no dissection or disassembly before squeezing it together and taking a big chunky mouthful.  The taste of the meat is something else, locally sourced meat makes this a damn tasty patty!
The veg enhances the burger, but doesn't detract from the star of the show. The burger itself.  As a burger it is well balanced and with the sauce and the bacon as well, making this one of the nicest burgers on this blog so far!

The sides always impress me at Ruby, simply because they are so generous.  Proper Chips (£3) are cooked in Beef Dripping and are left with the skin on, for added flavour.  I went for the Macruby Cheese, which for the uninitiated is Macaroni Cheese, to accompany the whole thing.  The Mac Cheese was crispy on the outside and tasted strongly cheesey; it was not dry but beautifully creamy all the way through and was one of the nicest Macaroni Cheeses I'd had out for a long while.   And given this is Beer, Burger and Beyond I couldn't resist another bottle of Brooklyn Lager's Summer Ale (£4.25) which I was lucky enough to sample recently.

The other side of the table fancied 'Three Sliders Two Sides' for £15 accompanied by a Cream Soda.  To add to the mix, Tori ordered her burgers with Gluten Free bread which was reassuring given some places have still not quite cottoned on to the fact that their diners have complex dietary requirements.  Our waitress was knowledgeable as to what items on the menu contained gluten, which was reassuring given the look of horror that can spread across the face of waiting staff when you start enquiring about the ingredients!
As the meal came with two sides as well, (Tori chose Proper Chips and Onion Rings) it was clear that my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach.  For the money spent, the generous portions mean Ruby is definitely great value for money.

Tori went for Panko Chicken, Pulled Pork and a Classic.  The onion rings got a high recommendation given the fact that the onion didn't dribble out once bitten and the coating was seasoned well.

Ruby  does a whole heap of other things other than just burgers.  Recently they've started doing Weekend Breakfasts, and they have an impressive alcohol list too including Craft Beers from Camden Brewery and Flat Cap Beers (not to mention Brooklyn Lagers).  They do Five Dollar Milkshakes, Cider Hybrids, Super Salads (for those of a none-meaty disposition), Hardshakes and Cocktails.

Without being biassed, and as this is my blog I am allowed to be, Ruby really shows its diners what an indie burger restaurant can do.  And they do it well.  Ruby presents excellent value given the portion size, and their use of high quality local ingredients makes this a BBB favourite.  Although part of me wonders if they will ever open a second restaurant, a tiny part of me hopes that they don't so that we can keep Ruby Modern Diner firmly to ourselves.