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Restaurant review: The Lazy Toad Inn, near Exeter

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The cult of being idle was extolled by Bertrand Russell for bringing ‘happiness and joy … instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia’. Kinda fitting for a slothful evening stuffing your face at a relaxed dining pub, discovers Jo Rees

The Lazy Toad Inn

It’s useful to think about laziness through a different prism. And once you’ve made the adjustment, it’s clear that idleness is just the kind of attitude to adopt on a Friday night visit to a dining pub.

Let someone else do the cooking and washing up while you embrace your inner lazy toad. Enjoy the pleasures of good food and wine – without lifting a finger.M Tabitha Amador-Christie was able to employ, wholesale, much of the Michael Caines’ trained brigade, including head chef Alex Gibbs and pastry chef Sam Brook. The result is a well-orchestrated kitchen team and dining experience that most new business owners can only dream of.

VISIT to discover a quality foodie pub that you’ve probably driven past without even knowing it’s there (lazy toads don’t like to brag about their accomplishments). Just a couple of minutes off the A377 on the outskirts of Exeter, the Toad is worth the short detour for its attractive modern rural decor, friendly vibe and crowd-pleasing menu.

DON’T VISIT with expectations of fine dining. It may be in the Trencherman’s Guide and focus on locally sourced ingredients cooked well, but this is more brogues than Blahniks.

WE LIKED the menu stuffed with dishes that are genuinely difficult to choose between: fillet of beef with dauphinoise; turbot on sweet potato rosti; loin saddleback pork with fondant potato, buttered cabbage and red wine sauce – you get the picture.
Finish with dessert paired with plum sake or a Blandy’s Madeira, followed by rum truffle and tiffin with coffee, then leave the plates and glasses for someone else to deal with and toddle off home to bed.

INSIDER’S TIP Arrive early so you’ve time to get in on the nibbles: Quicke’s Cheddar and pepper straws, and quail’s eggs with celery salt start the evening as you mean to go on.

What we ate (dinner)

Starter Rolled ham hock, spinach and grain mustard roulade, homemade chutney, walnut toast
Main Deep-fried herbed skate wings, cubed roast potatoes, tartare dressing, golden beetroot
Pud Saffron poached pear, red wine syrup, blackcurrant sorbet

3 courses from £29

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