Review of Ruby Modern Diner Exeter – Ruby, Scorchio and Blue Burgers
What they say:
Our Ruby beef is outdoor reared on a Mid-Devon farm and our burgers are made here fresh every day.
Ruby – 7oz patty, Lettuce, Tomato, Cheddar, Streaky Bacon, Red Onion, Ruby Sauce.
Scorchio – 7oz spiced patty, Lettuce, Tomato, Mexicana, Spicy Chorizo, Jalapeños, Chipotle Mayo – Hot!
Blue – 7oz patty, Lettuce, Tomato, Chestnut Mushrooms, Devon Blue Cheese, Caramelised Onions.
Price: £8.00, £8.50 and £8.50 respectively.
In the space of 36 hours we have driven a total of 430 miles to bring you our latest 21st century burger adventure. The first leg of this trip started with a jaunt to London to exclusively reveal the next McDonald’s promotion.
Now if McDonald’s and their menu does not appeal to you then do not look away as the second part of our journey took us to the city of Exeter… and Ruby Modern Diner. This is a tale of an independent restaurant committed to bringing you fast food prepared with the finest, fresh local ingredients.
I’ve lost count now how many times on Twitter people have got in contact to tell us about Ruby. Normally the tweet is something along the lines of “If you’re in Exeter Burger Lad® make sure you go to Ruby” and sitting here now in the landmark Grade II listed building in the heart of Exeter I can start to see why.
We were in town for the excellent Exeter Food Festival and despite an array of tempting food on offer we saved ourselves for lunch at Ruby… and I’m sure glad we did! When we arrived (early) we were welcomed with a friendly smile and shown to our high-backed, leather booth seated table (my favourite). It wasn’t particularly busy but by the time we had finished lunch, virtually every single seat in this split-level, 100 cover diner was taken.
So yeah it was an excellent lunch, we thoroughly enjoyed it and would go back again. The end. Oh I jest…
We kicked off with a couple of milkshakes but I’ll let our very own Miss Milkshake cover that aspect later on when she reviews the Blue burger. First up though I want to share with you their signature/flagship burger – the Ruby.
This arrived and I would describe the precision presentation as tidy, compact and tempting with a beautiful looking, fresh glazed brioche bun. The beef housed a thick melted goo of Cheddar, atop which contained two healthy strips of bacon slathered with the house Ruby Sauce. Now I had to have a burger with Ruby sauce, there was no way I could come here and not have it and I’m really glad I stuck to my convictions as well. First up though let’s talk about that 7oz beef patty. It was cooked perfectly pink as you can see from the cross section shots below. The beef patties on offer here are homemade every day from 100% whole cuts of beef. The traceability however is unique as these are made from a single animal from one herd so anyone worried that “the meat in a burger isn’t as good as a steak” can take yourself straight out the door now.
It’s melt in your mouth beef – meaty, with a good texture for the carnivore in you but also cooked to utter perfection. Moist, not greasy and doesn’t get lost amongst the other ingredients.
Now I have to have cheese on a burger and this was melted lovingly over the beef. Creamy, gooey and full of flavour. This combined lovely with the mayo-based (Big Mac style) Ruby sauce which contributed to the creaminess of the burger without being overbearing. Both of these elements worked wonders with that rich beef and the bacon.
Do you know what? I’m not a fan of streaky bacon… but this, oh this was good! Top quality and cooked crispy but not “I’ve got to visit the dentist after” crispy… and I’ve never thought streaky bacon to contain enough meat on it compared to back bacon but I was once again proved wrong as this was certainly not the case here.
|Inside the Ruby…|
The Ruby is finished with the usual suspects – lettuce, tomato (removed) and red onion which all combine very nicely with the fluffy egg glazed brioche buns (we were told these are also baked locally by Emma Parkin at Emma’s Bread).
Overall the Ruby is an excellent burger and I would put it up there with some of the best I’ve had so far on my adventures. In fact I would probably say I preferred it to its cousin – the Scorchio. But only just… read on.
The patty on the Scorchio is an interesting one. It’s got a blend of spices added to it which sets it apart from the regular patty. We couldn’t quite put our finger on exactly what was used but found it to be more “herby” than spicy. Again for this one I would remove the fresh tomato; it’s just one topping I’ll never truly like, despite Miss Milkshake’s 8-time rule…
Mexicana cheese – I am a massive fan of this so was really looking forward to having the Scorchio for this reason. To be honest I’m not the sort of person that likes a Cheese Board and I would have preferred the cheese to have been melted more (for me personally I’d like it to have been grilled longer)… but that’s more of my own finicky tastes and credit where credit is due I actually found I got more flavour than when I blast-furnace my own! Being able to eat cheese not melted or on a pizza is something I’m working on… along with fresh tomato.
The Spicy Chorizo was beautiful. Bordering on outstanding… very rich with its signature smoked paprika flavour, thickly cut and a very generous amount on-board. In my notes I described it as highly decadent, oozing with quality bringing another dimension to the arsenal of tastes in my mouth.
The heat is provided by the fair array of Jalapeños and Chipotle Mayo. This had a smooth, sensual taste with just a pang of spiciness. It brought everything together very nicely making this another great burger.
What better way to quench that heat than with a milkshake, so here’s Miss Milkshake’s verdict on her specialist subject, and our final Ruby burger for the day:
It’s a well-known fact that burgers and blue cheese go together like Aretha Franklin and Soul Food, so my eyes made a beeline for the Blue as soon as I got my first glance at the menu weeks before our trip. Expecting to see Stilton listed as a main feature, I noticed Ruby had chosen an alternative cheese called Devon Blue instead. My initial reaction was mild disappointment with a teeny dash of panic; Devon Blue! Stilton is a firm favourite of mine (took a whole wedge of it to school in my packed lunch once, true story) and a couple of other blue cheeses haven’t always gone down too well. Luckily Ruby puts a great amount of care and attention into their menu, and have a marvellously easy-to-find list of suppliers on their website.
Matured for a minimum of four months, the Devon Blue comes from Hawkridge Farm, less than 20 miles from Ruby. Luckily for me, the farm also supplies The Cheeseworks – a small but incredibly well-stocked deli right on our doorstep. The Cheeseworks were kind enough to let me try a sample of this mysterious Devon Blue, and Hawkridge Farm aren’t making it up when they say it has a “beautifully smooth creamy texture coupled with a round buttery flavour”. It was gorgeous, and I couldn’t wait to try it on the Blue at Ruby.
We’re used to drooling over burgers at BLHQ™, and I can safely say that all that build up and anticipation didn’t leave me disappointed. The Blue works so well, with a perfect and subtle creamy local blue cheese, the nutty savouriness of the mushrooms, and the beautifully sweet caramelised onions all playing in harmony like a Blues band on a mission from God. I could definitely see the light with this burger. As Burger Lad® has already mentioned the beef on its own has a remarkable “steaky” quality to it, and you’re more akin to fine dining then this would be an ideal choice for you to ease yourself into the casual world of burgers (you can even eat it with a knife and fork if you so wish). I could’ve easily managed another, not for lack of size, just because it was so delicious. Luckily we had a pile of Chilli Cheese Fries to fill any gaps in our bellies.
|Delicious burgers at Ruby…|
But the pièce de résistance for me? The milkshakes!!! As soon as they were delivered to our table I knew that my yard was now devoid of boys, because they’d clearly all rushed over to Ruby’s. I wasn’t going to mess around, and ordered one of their Hard Shakes (Burger Lad® isn’t the only loose cannon around here you know…) All three Hard Shakes sounded amazing, and thankfully the waiter was on hand to recommend the Peanut Butter Wolf. As well as peanut butter, this sexy number fuses malt and Buffalo Trace Bourbon with Otter Valley chocolate ice cream. Blended to perfection this is a rich, creamy and very indulgent milkshake which would be right at home at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Ruby have officially raised the bar in the Shake Stakes, and any milkshakes I have in future will be compared to this one alone.
Due to the sheer volume of food we ordered we couldn’t finish everything (we blame the freebies at the Food Festival) and in no way is that a reflection of the sheer quality of food on offer at Ruby. I think our only minor grumble was the Chilli Cheese Fries. Both Miss Milkshake and I regard Sour Cream as our arch nemesis so when the fries were presented to us with a massive gloop over it we would have preferred it to have been included in the menu description – thus enabling us to ask for it without. Unlike us we were “terribly British” and didn’t mention this at the time and ate around it instead.
Speaking of the Food Festival, here are a few people/places we would like to mention from the day – we cannot recommend them enough!
The Blueberry Brothers
Eat the Smoke
Otter Valley Dairy
The Pepper Pod
We’d also like to say a massive thank you to Erin who kindly helped us out with tickets for the Festival … we had an amazing time and are sure to return in 2016!
Ruby Modern Diner opened in January 2013 and is a top quality establishment. They are passionate about their food and very proud of knowing where their local ingredients come from. If you’re travelling down the M5 anytime soon and see junction 31 approaching I’d recommend taking the slight detour and checking them out (we also did the return trip in 1 hr 45 mins to Cheltenham so as you can imagine we’ll be heading South again soon!).
There are a number of things guaranteed if you visit – they will welcome you with exceptional service, top quality food and you will not leave disappointed…or hungry! With two Taste of the West Gold awards already don’t be too surprised when they get their hat-trick!
Congratulations to all the team at Ruby you should be very, very proud!
|Cracking menu and quality food…|