Bilby Bites - the food blog from Bilby Marketing

Lloyd’s Kitchen, Exeter

Lloyd's Kitchen inside/outside tables

Ive known about Grazing Kate and her Westcountry food blog for many years. There aren’t many of us around. I’d wanted to meet with GK for a long time and we toed and froed on dates and venues, until we finalised a face-to-face conversation date and agreed on Lloyd's Kitchen as the place to have it. A conversation that…

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Ruby Burgers Exeter

Ruby Burgers

It's a long time in the coming, but I've finally pulled together a review of one of my favourite ‘easy’ dining Exeter independent eateries. Ruby Burger arrived on the scene in early 2013, but for one reason or another I just haven’t got my act together to post my thoughts until now. Exeter has no less than four devoted burger restaurants right now (July 2014) and this compelled me to give them all a comparative visit.…

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Byron Hamburgers Exeter

Byron Hamburgers Frontage

Once again, things have slipped outrageously with my blog posts. It has been a very long time - 10 months in fact - since I posted a review and I’m too embarrassed to say how long it has been since I posted a recipe. I have my excuses. Earning money and paying the mortgage clearly have to take precedence over my crazy love of food. I’m keen to get things moving again and have plans (who doesn’t?) to ramp things up, time permitting. One thing that carries on despite the ebbs and flows of…

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ASK Italian Exeter

ASK Italian Exeter

Things have been very quiet on the blog front for some time. I have been to several wonderful restaurants and cafés over the past 12 months, but I have also been steadily growing my marketing business and that has left me little time to write blog posts. It became a case of 'something has got to give' and, very sadly, my food writing was the 'thing'. That was until just over a week ago, when a very nice lady from a PR agency in London contacted me to ask if I would like to cover an event at Read more …

@Angelas Restaurant, Exeter

@Angela's Restaurant Exeter

One very ordinary Friday I was checking Twitter, as I do intermittently, when I spotted a fun looking photo competition that the Food Magazine was running. Take a picture of your local food lunch and pop it up on Twitter. It was their Fab Food Friday way back at the end of June. It has taken me a while to finish my review due to a chaotic summer of work, family visits from Australia and my Real Food Store activities. Maybe a poor set of excuses, but I'm sticking with them due to a lack of any…

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Premier Café Budleigh Salterton

Premier Café Fish and Chips

In recent months I haven't ventured outside of Exeter for food very much. This is sad, but mostly down to a lack of time. My paid work and volunteer work at The Real Food Store - both of which are great fun and very enjoyable - are my main focus at the moment and my poor food blog is suffering as a result. Well, maybe suffering is too strong ... it is just slipping down the priority list…

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Bel Green Magdalen Road

Gleaming Elektra coffee machine at Bel Green

After hearing all sorts of positive things about Magdalen Rd café and restaurant Bel Green, I was keen to visit for at least a small spot of lunch. Quirky, vintage and intimate. I personally couldn't think of three more enticing adjectives to describe an eatery. After some online research - de rigueur - I was even more excited to discover that they were holding pizza nights to eat in or take away every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.…

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Bill’s Café, Restaurant & Store, Exeter

Outside Bill's

When I first saw the renovations starting on the old G2 store in Gandy Street I didn’t hold out much hope for what might be replacing it. I had never stepped foot in the previous shop and the location didn’t seem to be all that great. My 3 week sojourn in Australia during March saw the Bill's Cafe, Restaurant & Store project come along in leaps and bounds and it was only once I had returned…

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LittlePod Vanilla Beer launch

LittlePod Vanilla Pods, Extracts and Paste

I have to start out by saying that I have been in love with vanilla since I was very young. Having discovered LittlePod’s special vanilla products at Dart’s Farm about a year ago, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to attend the launch of their latest product, a vanilla infused dark ale, at the impressive 540 year old Tuckers Hall in Exeter. LittlePod

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Tea on the Green, Exeter

Tea on the Green lookout

Just before I took my recent trip to Australia back in March, I organised a Sunday get together at Tea on the Green with JC’s family, to celebrate his mum’s birthday and catch-up before I headed down under for three weeks. That was such a long time ago now and since my return I have been caught up in a whirlwind of trying to get some structure back into my day to day life and fighting the post-holiday blues. In the…

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Totnes Good Food Sunday Market

Totnes Good Food Sunday Market

If I had to make a list of my top ten towns in Devon, then Totnes would come right at the top of said list. I love the alternative, chic vibe, with an abundance of great places to eat and independent shops. It helps no end that it is a very pretty town as well. Just before Christmas I was in total and utter food mode, even more so than usual, and desperate to visit a market that would get me in the festive mood. It just so happened that the Read more …

The Bakehouse, Penzance

The Bakehouse entrance

Once I’ve decided I’m going on a trip, the next few hours is spent diligently and very pleasurably, searching for accommodation, things to do and most importantly (almost), places to eat. With a busy season at work upon me, I wanted a quick long weekend in Cornwall to set me up for the next few months and I chose Penzance. JC, having spent years listening to my travel plans, just nods loose agreement and lets me get on with the arrangements. I booked incredibly cheap advance train tickets…

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The Coffee Cellar

View from the Coffee Cellar

The Quay is one of my favourite places in Exeter. I have spent over 10 years living and/or working within a 20 minute walk of the area and if ever I need to just get out of the house to stretch my legs, indulge in a bout of architectural admiration and general soul replenishment then this is where I like to head. In the summertime we like to cycle to the Double Locks or Turf Locks, depending on how energetic we’re feeling and on the way back stop off for an ice-cream by the quay; you can wander…

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The Exploding Bakery

The Exploding Bakery, Queen St

Queen Street in Exeter is my corridor to the High Street so I wander down it on a regular basis. To my surprise on the way back from town a few months ago – clearly I wasn’t paying much attention on the way up – I noticed that Juice Moose, a shop which I really quite liked, no longer existed and in it’s place was the rather fetching store, The Exploding Bakery. Upon entering said store, I noticed that they sold Monmouth coffee in bean, ground and takeaway brewed form. Having tried Monmouth…

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Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink 2011

Exeter Food Festival Entrance

After last year’s rather low key trip to the Food & Drink Festival whilst I was in the midst of a self-inflicted no dairy, alcohol, sugar or wheat diet, I was ready to sample whatever the heck I liked this year. I have been partying a lot recently as my sister and brother-in-law have been over from Australia and together we have eaten our way across the UK and France over the past fortnight. No wine, cheese, cured meat or cake has been safe. Despite the fact that my skinny fit jeans are…

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The Real Food Store, Exeter

The Real Food Store opens its doors

It's been a long time in the planning, but The Real Food Store in Exeter has finally opened its doors. This might be a slightly biased review, but being a member I was always going to want to shout from the rooftops about this wonderful new 'store with a heart & soul'.

After 2 years in the planning, the founding members and first official Board of Directors, finally saw their dream of a ‘Real Food’…

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Occombe Farm Shop, Paignton

Occombe Farm Shop

For some time now I have been planning to venture into South Devon to visit Occombe Farm Shop near Paignton. Having spent many years wandering around West and East Devon, poor old South Devon has been sadly neglected in my travels. This is mostly due to the large volume of tourists that head towards this part of the world every summer and partly due to the fact that I just don’t get the time to visit everywhere I would…

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Bilby Christmas 2010

Exmouth Palm Trees & Snow

The Christmas vibe starts for me around the 1st December. I don’t like the idea of getting too worked up about it before then as I’m always cautious of being caught up in a wave of commercialism. When it comes to planning my Christmas day menu though it’s no holds barred and I try to come up with something a little different. My aim is always to get the balance right between tradition and novelty. Rather selfishly this is all for me I might add as JC would willingly go along with the same…

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Bath Christmas Markets

Abbey Green Busker

My love of the Christmas season has grown in the last 10 years. Growing up in Australia, Christmas was a very different affair – it was still good fun, but different. Nowadays, as soon as December arrives I start to look for possible food ideas for Christmas day, bauble additions for the tree and festive film and music favourites start to edge their way out of the TV & iPod. I’m not a massive traditionalist, but with age comes a need for the familiarity of repetition and custom so I seem…

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Gidleigh Park Hotel

The Gidleigh Park sign - keep your wits about you on the drive!

Between 10 & 15 years ago I came across the name Michael Caines whilst he was working full time at the The Gidleigh Park Hotel and heard tales of his incredible culinary talent. Ever since that day I have told myself I would bite the bullet and get myself out there for a meal. I managed to achieve my goal this weekend and it was most definitely worth the wait. I had seen Gidleigh Park Hotel popping up on various food…

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The Coffee Rush, Shaldon

Coffee Rush, Shaldon

We awoke on a Sunday morning in late October to find that a little winter weather had hit us overnight. The rain was falling and the wind was picking up. I didn’t feel justified in complaining as we have had a very good run of relatively warm weather over the last few months so it had to change at some point. Anyway, there is a reason for me giving you a belated weather report (you can’t beat a chat about the weather) and that is because it actually motivated me to find somewhere new and lovely…

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In Praise of Clotilde

Brocolli and Apple Quiche

Stumbling around the web is a daily event for myself, like millions of others on the planet. Not only do I work in online marketing, I write this blog, I have a Facebook page, I have a very neglected Twitter account, I am on LinkedIn and ... you get the picture. One of my favourite things to do is to read other food blogs with two of my favourites being Not Quite Nigella and Read more …

Carluccio’s Exeter

Carluccio's Exeter Facade

There have been a number of occasions over the past 6 months that I have been tempted to add a review of the Exeter Carluccio's Restaurant & Caffè on the site, but as it is part of a chain, I have wrestled with whether or not it deserved to be there. I always prefer to promote local, independent restaurants for the most part, but I have enjoyed many a meal at Antonio’s place and so have finally decided to go…

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West Country Cheese Co.

West Country Cheese Co Facade

On a wet Saturday in August, my BFF (best food friend) and I decided we would head off on another of our bourgeois adventures, looking for great food to eat and chat about. We caught the train up to Barnstaple with few expectations, but in good spirits. After the very pleasant train trip we walked the short distance to Barnstaple town centre with umbrella overhead and made our way through the weekend shoppers towards the historic Pannier market. I hadn’t been to Barnstaple in a number of years,…

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James Duckett at the Old Custom House

Old Custom House Barnstaple

My relationship with Barnstaple isn’t particularly strong, nor is it beautiful, but I’m the kind of open-minded person (I like to think I am anyway) that never says never. Having worked for a relatively large advertising agency with it’s head office in Barnstaple (strange, but true) I had only ever experienced the kind of practical eating that included nipping out for a sandwich to M&S or popping to the nearest pub chain offering in between meetings. On that basis, I definitely didn’t…

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Riverford Organic Veg

Yummy Riverford Veg Box

Ive been shopping with Riverford for the last 3 ½ years, so I feel I am in a position to sing their praises with some level of authority. With so many veg box schemes out there nowadays, Riverford ironically seem to be the big, bad corporate boy of the day which I find puzzling. The Watson family have been farming for many years, but Guy Watson, founder of Riverford, picked up his piece of the family land in 1985, moving…

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The Oddfellows Exeter

Comfy leather chairs

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to eat in some wonderful restaurants for my job. Not as a result of food writing unfortunately, but in advertising & marketing people like to eat out. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards that line of work. In Sydney, my first real job at 17 was as a Junior in a typesetting company, and my boss liked to take us all out to dinner as a sort of team building exercise. None of this paintballing or swinging from trees lark that companies seem to think…

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Taverner’s Farm Shop

Ice Cream Sundae complete with Orange Elephant  Wafer!

Twas a sunny afternoon one Saturday in July – yesterday actually – and I thought a little country drive would be in order. Saturdays have always been a touch bitter sweet for me. It’s the day when I like to get the majority of housework done, so cleaning the bathroom, washing, vacuuming and dusting are the norm, but it’s also cause for celebration in that it’s not a regular working day and I can relax for some of it. At the very least I like to get out of the house for a walk at some…

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The Holt, Honiton

The Holt Pub Restaurant & Smokehouse

On a sunny Summer’s day, spending time with good friends, eating, and perusing boutique shops in small Devon villages, has surely got to be one of the most perfect ways to pass the time. My Best Food Friend (BFF herein) and I had planned to head for Topsham for the Food & Drink Festival, but unfortunately we were quite late in arriving and ended up sitting in a lovely coffee shop sipping our hot beverages and sharing a slice of gingerbread instead. Time passed and when we reached the quay…

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Café at 36

Café at 36 inviting you in

In need of a little respite on a sunny Friday afternoon in June, I decided to walk myself along the River Exe to Cowick Street to sit in the lovely Café at 36 and grab some sustenance. It is only around 20 minutes walk for me so it means I get exercise, rays, food and pleasure all within a convenient distance from my house.

As I switched off the computer, grabbed my bag and headed for the sunshine, I had no real intention…

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Can I Get a Coffee?

The Phoenix Centre, Exeter

Ive lived in and around Exeter for over 15 years now and it is a fantastic city. Not being a true, authentic, card-carrying city-dweller I fight with myself intermittently about whether I really belong in an urban environment, but if I am honest Exeter is a perfect compromise for me. I spent much of my childhood growing up in Australia, moving from place to place alongside my nomadic mother. Roughly every 2 years she would ‘announce’ casually that we were moving to a new area and my sister…

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Brizzol Beckons

Rocotillos Cafe

Over the last 12 months I have been happily taking fairly regular trips to Bristol with my partner in crime JC, in order to visit his lovely Nan in Bedminster and a few of the local eateries. Bristol is a very cool city, with a large student population and the music and fashion scenes that can stem from this fertile culture. JC’s maternal family are Bristolians so he has solid connections with the city and I am more than happy to nip up there on the train every few months to soak up the funky…

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Rick Stein’s Fish & Chip Shop

Rick Stein's Cod & Chips

We planned our trip down to Padstow well in advance. I was incredibly excited when friends of JC’s decided that they were getting married and that they would be doing it in the bride’s home county of Cornwall. To my absolute delight it turned out the lovely bride was originally from a small parish outside of Padstow called St Eval and that’s the direction we would be heading for the last weekend in April. A weekend in Padstow was exactly what I would need considering I would be experiencing…

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Fun-Free Food Anyone?

Exeter Food & Drink Festival

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to visit the Exeter Food & Drink Festival on Sunday 11th April which is Family Day. After all, how can anybody with a food blog miss one of the most important culinary events of the year? The deliberation came about as a result of the diet I am currently on. After a month of feasting in Australia and in celebration of my birthday back in the UK, I decided that I would benefit from a sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol & caffeine-free month or two to help…

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Dining Down Under (Part 3)

Pilu at Freshwater

Once back in NSW, having left behind the lush scenery and produce of QLD, I did what any self-respecting food lover would do and headed straight for my next culinary experience at Pilu at Freshwater. This was a big event for me as I had been planning it for some time – my friends will back me up on this as I bored them senseless with emails in the lead up. I researched for weeks trying to find the best venue…

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Dining Down Under (Part 2)

The Boatshed, Cotton Tree

After having been in Australia for over a week and taken in some of the great food in the Hunter Valley I was looking forward to seeing my mum in Caloundra and visiting some of my favourite haunts on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. We’d already spoken on the phone about where we would be having most of our lunches and dinners during my 3 night stay. My mum has always been a great cook and a keen food fan so within a few hours of my plane landing we had visited our first supermarket and made…

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Dining Down Under (Part 1)

Arnotts Bakehouse, Morpeth

What’s the difference between Australia and a pot of yogurt? The answer to this 'hilarious' joke is to do with one having a lack of culture and you can probably guess it isn’t the yoghurt. I’ve heard this joke a lot over the years but like most cultural generalisations – the Irish are daft, the British don’t wash, the French wear garlic necklaces – there isn’t a lot of truth in it. I’ve recently returned from a fantastic trip to Australia to visit my family & friends and it…

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Hello ... Good Pie!!

Pieminister Packaging

Firstly, I need to say a massive thank you to Jon Simon and Tristan Hogg who hooked up in 2002 to create some of the most gorgeous pies I have ever tasted when they formed Pie Minister pies. They are a well travelled pair with plenty of catering experience between them. Starting with a small shop in Bristol, they quickly progressed to holding a pie stall at London’s borough market and now, in 2010, you can pick up a…

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Devon Delights meet French Fancies

Millers Farm entrance

Situated on the edge of Kilmington, Millers Farm Shop has been operating since 1985 and is just off the A35 about 8 miles from Honiton. Combining a broad range of West Country gastronomic delights with an extensive selection of French goodies, the Millers have created a treasure trove of edible bounty. A good friend of mine told me about it a few months back and I couldn’t quite believe I hadn’t heard of it…

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Darts Farm Shop

Dart's Farm Fruit and Veg

Darts Farm is a bit of a foodie institution in and around Exeter. Based in the ancient port of Topsham on the edge of Exeter, the Dart family have been selling their produce to the locals for the last 40 years so their credentials are sound. Not your average farm shop, they have lost most of their rusticity and are now more akin to a ‘Selfridge’s food hall’ as the Guardian put it, but quite a distance from London. In the last 5 years the Dart brothers, Paul, Michael and James, have received…

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Love Local Food

Love Local Food van & produce

Back in February 2009, I spotted an article on www.wmnthinklocal.co.uk that peaked my interest and I clicked through to the Love Local Food (LLF) website eager to find out more. LLF consists of founding members Emma Parkin, Martyn Bragg, Jo Cotter & Christine Duff and was built around a vision to highlight Exeter’s position as both an urban conurbation and a rural idyll. The idea being to remind the inhabitants…

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