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.

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