Living in Exeter, my wife and I don’t often venture outside the city to eat, given that there are so many good restaurants practically on our doorstep. So it was with a real sense of excitement that we made our way to The Chronicle Restaurant in Exmouth for the latest One Magazine restaurant review on a warm and sunny Easter Sunday.
The restaurant, situated across the road from the town council offices on Chapel road is a place I have often walked past and thought looked nice. If it weren’t for this review perhaps that’s all I would ever have known of it. Unlike some of its better known competitors, The Chronicle isn’t recommended in Michelin guide books or the base of a celebrity chef, but it could be. Run by Irish Chef Kathy and her Croatian partner Ricardo who looks after the front of house the restaurant is now in its fifth season.
After being seated we were given a portion of homemade soda bread – Kathy the chef is Irish – and butter which were superb and a great way of staving off the hunger pangs I’d developed after the pre-dinner walk we’d taken. With a welcoming and cosy atmosphere, the restaurant offers fine dining in a relaxed environment with a compact menu offering a fantastic variety of choices, each of which sounded more appetizing than the last.
Finally we settled on our choices with my wife ordering the Nosworthy Goats Cheese Souffle, Pickled Beetroot, Walnuts and Truffle Oil (£6.95) for starter, and the Roast Monkfish Loin with dauphinoise potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli, bokchoi and a dill and vermouth sauce (£15.50) whilst I chose the Fresh Devon crab meat lasagne with Jacksons hot sauce and Nolly Prat Sauce (£6.60), and the Duo of West Country Lamb with herb encrusted loin and pan fried lambs liver, braised red cabbage, garlic and rosemary mash and a mint jus (£15.70). Each dish was perfection and to list each high point would take up several more pages but everything was cooked perfectly with lamb so tender it melted at the touch of my knife, and a soufflé so light and creamy it was like eating flavoured air. The crab and the monkfish were both delicately flavoured and beautifully fresh whilst the presentation of each dish was superb. It’s also worth mentioning the wine list which like the food menu is not massive but rather focuses on quality rather than quantity of choice, and offers something for every plate of food and every palate.
By the time it came to ordering our desserts we were both stuffed, but in order to give a full and unbiased review it seemed only right to order two desserts. I went for the Not Together Chocolate Cake (£5) which was effectively a Chocolate Fondant with the sauce on the outside which was both light and fluffy and rich and decadent at the same time. My wife went for the Vanilla Crème Brulee, Cherry Brandy and Shortbread (£5) which was again fantastic with the creaminess of the brulee offset by the sharp sweetness of the Cherry brandy.
By the time the meal was over both of us were very full – we had managed to finish both desserts – and content with life. I’ve always enjoyed my food and maintain that there are few things better in life than really good food served well in a great setting and Kathy and Ricardo have managed to offer all of this.
This is without question one of the nicest meals I’ve eaten in some time and wherever you live The Chronicle restaurant is well worth a visit.
By Steve Fothergill
Visit the website: www.chroniclerestaurant.co.uk