18 Bedford Street
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, September 26, 2009
The Victim: Joanne
The Damage: £11 each!
The Background: I’ve known Joanne since I don’t know? Kindergarten? 1st grade? 2nd grade? It all runs together after a while, doesn’t it? She was the “English girl” in our class for years and years and years. And despite all those years in America, she and her brothers always spoke the Queen’s English. She got a lot of shit for that. Sorry, Jo!
Anyhow, Joanne and her family moved back to the U.K. when we were in our early teens. I’ve seen her exactly four times since then–once, extremely randomly late at night in a bar in Crouch End. What are the chances???
Of course, as soon as I moved to London, Joanne moved to Devon. And then she decided to just bum around the world for a while. But now she’s back and engaged to be married and here it is more than five years since I’ve moved to London and I STILL haven’t visited her in Devon. So I finally hopped a train to Exeter to explore the city and the countryside.
And of course, upon arrival, I was STARVING. And faced with a wall of chain restaurants. (Should have taken a photo of that. That was pretty funny.) ExeShed was the only place I hadn’t heard of before, so I pointed us in that direction.
The Entrance: ExeShed is large and airy and we’re led up a large staircase that passes by these very large paintings, one featuring a woman’s breasts. Lovely. Well, not really. Our server is a retro-rockabilly girl and very cheerful and friendly and helpful. Cheerful enough to make up for the sloooowwwnnnnessss of the kitchen. Because things took a while, let me tell you.
The Food: Love eating outside of London. At ExeShed, one course = £6. Two courses = £9.25. That being said, I kept my expectatons low. I ordered the smoked haddock fishcakes with courgette spaghetti and a parsley sauce. Washed down with a glass of white, as recommended by our server. (Um, I got the large glass. Joanne gets a small.)
It arrives and although I’m initially dubious about the courgette spaghetti, it kinda works. And I feel absurdly healthy eating it and then start imagining making my own courgette spaghetti at home. (That, my friends, is crazy talk.) And then I dig into the fishcakes and the first one is okay. I’ve had worse. I’ve had better. (Still thinking about the fishcakes at Plane Food!) And then I dig into the second one–the one that’s all covered in the parsley sauce. And I decide that the reason why it’s all covered in parsley sauce is because it’s just not done enough. Hmmm. So I eat around it and things work out just fine. Plus, there’s that glass of wine to enjoy.
The Verdict: Hmmm…the price sure was attractive. But I have to remember that outside London, not every main at a middle-of-the-road restaurant costs £12.95. And the courgette spaghetti was nice. But between the slow kitchen, the undercooked other fishcake, and the fact that it took me 5.5 years to get to Exeter just once, I don’t think I’ll be back a second time. Next time, I’ll do more research and try to make some suggestions to the local…if you’ve got any, pass ’em on.