So it is time once again to start debating the age-old question with your house mates/course mates/ family… where to for the annual Christmas meal? Luckily, Exeter has options a plenty, ranging from the distinctly bargainous and alternative to the very special. It definitely makes sense in my mind to venture somewhere exclusive to Exeter and so the following Christmas menus are institutions exclusive to the capital of the South West (oh, except Bills – but who’s counting that as it’s just beyond yummy…)
Photo credit: Hubbox
So Hubbox may be a fairly new addition in the city centre, but it has already cemented itself a reputation as seriously delicious and rightly so… their Christmas Menu is pretty drool-worthy, including new menu additions such as the Hello Me; “crispy halloumi, pickled beetroot, roasted red pepper and basil mayo” as well as the sprucing up of existing favourites with a rather delicious sounding cranberry mayo. Obviously, Hubbox would be somewhat of an alternative choice of Christmas meal destination, but two courses for £15.95 or 3 for £19.95 works out pretty good value for money when you consider Hubbox’s rather generous portion sizes and the fact that few would find it hard to put a price on “crispy halloumi” as it is.
Ok, so Razz’s second recommendation has to be On the Waterfront; another famous, albeit slightly longer established Exeter institution whose Christmas party menu has been reworked to include gems such as a special Christmas pizza with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce… do I need to sell this to you anymore? The prices for On the Waterfront come in at £20.95 for 2 courses or £24.95 for three or you can attend a buffet for a slightly reduced price of £15.50. Not only this, but On the Waterfront can cater for up to 100 people so whilst Hubbox could potentially be a bit crammed if you’re a larger group, there would be no such problems here.
Photo credit: My Uni Years
It may be a chain, but I find the cosy and quaint charm of Bill’s hard to beat. I’ve never had a disappointing meal there, it’s perfect location wise and for the quality of food I think very reasonably priced. You have a choice between their ‘Merry Christmas Menu’ at £24.95 or the ‘Winter Wonderland Menu’ at £29.95, which is virtually identical apart from the additions of Prosecco and Rosemary Bread with Olives on arrival. The various offerings including delights such as “roast turkey stuffed with apricot and sage, brussel sprouts with pancetta and chestnut” making the menu feel distinctly British and traditional, but with just a little extra sparkle and I reckon would make this a memorable Christmas meal for parties ranging in number from 4 to around 40.
Photo credit: The Abode Hotel
The Abode Hotel, run by celebrity chef Michael Caine is something of a hidden gem in Exeter. Tucked away on the corner of Cathedral Green, this would make more of a special occasion Christmas meal, maybe for visiting with family. The prices are actually identical to those found at Bill’s, but you would receive somewhat less food for this. Although, I think many an Exeter resident could nonetheless be charmed by whisperings of a banana parfait accompanied with “salted peanut butterscotch and lime sorbet” this yuletide and so, if you are in the market for more gourmet cuisine, the Abode definitely merits investigation.
Although only four restaurants have been included here, the majority of restaurants and pubs around Exeter are in the business of releasing Christmas menus at this time… if Jamie’s Italian opens in time for Christmas or the old Firehouse releases a Christmas menu, I for one will definitely be checking those out.