Locally sourced food and drink seems to be a selling point for lots of cafes, restaurants and bars at the moment. So, when I received an invite to attend opening of The Stable in Exeter, I was a little sceptical about how a Dorset-headquartered, growing chain of pizza restaurants could honour its claim to offer quality, local fare in the heart of Devon (aka a foodie's paradise).
However, I was impressed by the obvious dedication to finding the finest local food and drink producers to supply the Exeter branch of The Stable.
Exeter is the latest location for The Stable, which now has a presence across the south of England from Falmouth to Whitechapel.
The opening night was absolutely rammed, no doubt thanks to the free-flowing cider and copious amount of pizza being offered for free. However, it was a fantastic opportunity to try the menu and meet some of the local suppliers, including Quicke's Cheese and Green Valley Cyder.
The pizza menu also reflects The Stable's commitment to local fare with names such as The Guildhall Grazer (potato, blue cheese, spanish onions and spinach), The Cathedral Clucker (chicken, roasted red peppers and field mushrooms) and The Ten Tor Tingler (spicy chopped pork, naga chillies, garlic, red onion, basil leaves and field mushrooms) nodding to local landmarks and offering a twist on traditional pizza toppings. My absolute favourite was The Fresh Hawaiian, which features avocado and chilli as well as the usual ham and pineapple.
I really enjoy hot food and the generous addition of different varieties of chilli to lots of the dishes like the Blazing Saddle (slow roasted pulled beef, bacon, caramelised onions, roasted red pepper, sour cream and jalapeños) and The King Crabber (West Country crab meat lightly infused with red chilli, garlic and lemon, roasted red peppers and fresh basil leaves).
Opening night can be a fraught affair as new staff get to grips with their roles, but at The Stable, everything seemed to go swimmingly. The pizza came thick and fast and, despite the huge crowd over two floors, there wasn't long to wait until we were offered more slices of the pizza to try.
Elliot, my 9 year old son, is a big pizza fan and I love proper cider. With The Stable located so close to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), the main shopping area of the city and Exeter Central railway station, I can guarantee we'll be back. After all, I was very restrained and only tried the Black Rat Perry.
Have you been to The Stable? What was your favourite pizza?
DISCLAIMER: I was invited to the opening night event to try the pizza and cider for free. However, I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.