I reckon I could spend a good few weeks exploring the restaurants around Exmouth Market and I still wouldn’t have been to them all. It’s a serious foodie destination and I won’t deny that I love it: chilled, cool, unpretentious and authentic. I mentioned the Quality Chop House recently, we’ve been to Moro, albeit some time ago — so in the interest of fairness, we decided that we’d try a few others.
First on the list was a rather attractive looking Porchetta bar / restaurant right on Exmouth market from where, one gloomy midweek lunchtime, I decided to bag a fantastically great takeaway porchetta sandwich . At the time I didn’t realise that is was a ‘proper’ restaurant but the sandwich was bloody lovely all the same. Heaps of well seasoned pork with salsa verde in a chewily fresh bun. Oh my god it was lovely. The lunchtime trade is seriously competitive on Exmouth but I thought it was up there with the best I’ve tasted, even though I do fancy myself as a dab hand at the old Porchetta.
So when Mrs D and I decided to have an executive lunch, we headed right there. This lunchtime sandwich bar, it turned out, was more than just that…it’s a full on dedication to all things piggy: a restaurant called Blackfoot.
Sometimes I’m just a bit dim and I didn’t realise at the time whose restaurant this was. Blackfoot was founded by TV food celeb Allegra McEvedy along with Tom Ward (both ex Leon bosses, which is A* in my book)…but you could just tell someone amazing was behind the cooking, even from the simple elegance of their humble pork sandwich.
The front of the restaurant pays homage to its origins as a pie and mash shop (no, I’ve still not tried P&M yet if you’re wondering) and there are more traditional tables in the rear. The menu is super simple and the service is warm and welcoming. Our waitress studied in Leeds , recognised our accents and we had a lovely rapport.
We weren’t really in the market for a blow out lunch so Mrs D opted for pulled pork tacos and I went for the long smoke pork belly. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but these were quite clean and not hugely stodgy, although the fiendishly good chips to share put paid to any dietary smugness we might be feeling. We washed this down with a bottle of the house white, which was superb value and very good indeed.
My pork belly was smokier than Lauren Bacall’s voice in To Have And To Have Not and Mrs D’s pulled pork tacos defied civilised eating, resulting in a finger-licking good lunch. Chips, black treacle and star anise, salsa verde, pickles, salad all complimented each other beautifully, adding bright flavour and satisfied grins to our lunch.
We wimped on desserts and vowed for an evening return when we didn’t have to be responsible and talk sensibly to people in the afternoon. Superb.