What?: The Ruby - 6oz hamburger, Hawkridge mature cheddar, smoked streaky
bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, RUBY sauce
How much?: £7.50
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!
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.
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.
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.