When we first saw The Terrace arriving on the scene as part of Exeter’s latest dining quarter it aimed itself more towards providing a place for the younger people to enjoy the city’s nightlife. But more recently, it has positively evolved, moving away from student nights and focusing on creating an environment where young professionals and a more mature clientele can come together and enjoy quality food and creative cocktails in a trendy, classy ambience.

As you step in through the front door, you are greeted by high-end, industrial chic décor. Small plants and ornate decorations add highlights to complement the visible air ducting and metalwork overhead and, combined with the natural wood and well thought-out colour palette, creates a real air of sophistication. This is mirrored in the quality of food, drinks and service you receive.

The atmosphere kept building the later it became. I don’t know about you, but I need a good level of buzz humming away in the background to be able to truly unwind and enjoy my meal out. Not so loud that you can’t hear the person in front of you talking but enough ambient chit chat and background music to allow you to relax in your surroundings and not have to worry about the sound of your own voice if it’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop. The Terrace strikes this balance perfectly for me – and that really can be quite rare.

Friendly and knowledgeable staff will greet you on arrival and are on-hand to guide you through the menus – both food and drink. A fantastic array of cocktails adorns the pages of the drinks menu, in addition to a wide range of other drinks from the bar. From traditional cocktails to their own signature creations, there is plenty to choose from and new drinks to try – I particularly recommend doing this during happy hour from 4pm – 7pm where you get 2 for 1!

A great feature of the main food menu is how nearly every dish can be altered to your dietary requirements. Vegans, vegetarians and those with intolerances and allergies are all catered for above and beyond just being able to choose a token option meal choice, making for a much more enjoyable dining experience where you’re not feeling like a second thought.

Each dish that we tried had incredible tastes and textures, and the flavour combinations were either imaginative or classic pairings done well. The Home-Cured Salmon Gravadlax was a particular favourite. Served with port-cooked beetroot, horseradish Chantilly and sourdough crisp, it really was a tease for the pallet as a starter. Each delicate section of absolute art on the plate in front of me provided a taste sensation that married up beautifully together.

The Pan-Roasted West Country Loin of Lamb selected for a main simply melted in the mouth and was seasoned beautifully. Accompanied by a crispy potato rosti, red wine reduction and seasonal baby vegetables, it truly is a great combination and just the right amount to leave you satisfied without feeling uncomfortable.

With such a tempting selection of deserts to choose from, you simply can’t pass up the opportunity to give one a try. The Orange Crème Brulee was the perfect indulgent treat to end a meal – a traditional and satisfying caramel case to crack and cute hazelnut shortbreads to accompany.

Such a vibrant atmosphere, and with the way the restaurant and bars are set out over multiple floors, means that a night at The Terrace doesn’t have to end just because your meal has finished. A blend of affordable, quality dining and the stylish bars and casual seating for drinkers means that you can stay here from early evening well into the night. You’ll certainly not feel in any rush to get away.

Special events only add to the Terrace’s already impressive repertoire. Their Sunday Sessions that run from 12pm – 7pm every Sunday are a unique way to enjoy a roast dinner accompanied by live acoustic music from local artists. They also host fantastic nights in the middle floor club, boasting retro nights and exclusive deals for when you really want to let your hair down.

The Terrace has really flourished into a fantastic venue. Whether you’re unwinding after a hard week or day at work, or you’re out for a special occasion, The Terrace has become a sophisticated paradise in Exeter city centre.

What it costs (average prices):
Starters: £5-7
Mains: £12
Desserts: £5.50
Cocktails: £8

Visit The Terrace online at: www.theterraceexeter.com

Words & images: Sam Ottaway

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