Review: The Hen House Restaurant, Exeter

Towards the end of 2017, news broke of a new restuarant opening in the old Tiger Bills plot. The Hen House restaurant was founded in 2017, and the owners long stading dreams of being able to share their good food with friends. They believe in freshly prepared, tasty, healthy and convenient food.

One of the best things about them is that they are a small and independent family restaurant, something we seem to be running out of in Exeter thanks to big chains. They promise freshly cooked food with recipes passed down through generations and created with locally sourced produce.

One thing we loved from the moment we walked inside was the lush smell of wood and rustic feel throughout. We sat on haybails in candlelight and enjoyed the relaxing and friendly atmosphere from the moment we walked in. It feels super homely, somewhere to relax and eat.

The rustic feel with hay bail seats.

Even the menus were rustic!

We even got to sit on chicken cushions!

I love the lay out of the place!

We looked at the menu and were pleasantly surprised at the massive range and variety on offer. You would be forgiven for thinking it was a chicken only restaurant, but there were also steaks, burgers, rotisserie chicken and other meats on offer. We started off with some appetisers.

This was the wonderful croquet, which is minced pork and cabbage wrapped in a pancake, breaded and fried, served with beetroot soup. The croquet itself was really tasty, and something very different from what I have tried before. The meat and cabbage mixture had the right amounts of each, and the croquet was stuffed.  I am not usually a fan of beetroot, but this soup was something else. It tasted really rich and meaty, without what I call 'The beetroot dirt taste'.  It was delicious and went so well with the starter. It is there to be drank, rather than poured over the food. 

Liver Pâté  with red onion relish and grilled brioche. The Pâté was so creamy and went well with the sweat relish.

We had an amazing selection of items to try, for our mains!

This is the Hen House Chicken Kebab, served on a naan bread with plenty of salad.  The chicken was wonderful, so full of flavour. The sauces and salad complimented everything perfectly. You forget how truly wonderful a simple kebab can be, until you try this. 

One of the lovely owners who served us for the evening, recommended we try the steak Tartare, which is raw beef mixed with diced onions, cornichons, parsley and anchovies served with olives and fresh bread. It is not something I have tried before, and knew it would be an acquired taste. I have it on good authority that this is one of the best that you will be able to find in Exeter!

This is their famous grilled chicken strips topped with melted brie, served with chutney. You can choose 2 sides to accompany this dish. The chicken was so succulent and tasted incredible with the melted brie.

The 2 sides were roast potatoes and gravy, and we also added some creamy mash. They have a rotisserie in the kitchen, and cook whole chickens,  with the chicken juices used to cook the potatoes and make the gravy- so we had to try some! Hands down, the best gravy I have ever tasted!

This is easily our new favourite restaurant in Exeter and we can't wait to go back and try out some more of the items on the menu that we were just too full for!

Food ***** Service ***** Atmosphere *****

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