Steve and I were picked up by Emma and Ben and we drove the short distance from Exeter to Brampford Speke. Lunch was booked for 1pm and we arrived on time to a warm welcome at the bar. We ordered our drinks… Emma, Steve and Ben went for a Christmas ale from Otter brewery called Winter Warmer. I opted for a non-alcoholic ginger beer. We were shown to our table and given menus to peruse. It took a while to choose as we were catching up on the goings on over Christmas and the New Year. Eventually we came to our decision. Steve and Ben chose the local gammon, black dog fried egg, hand cut chips with tomato and pineapple chutney. Emma decided on Toad’s crispy fish and chips, minted mushy peas, hand cut chips and tartare sauce. My choice was a bit random.. There was squid on the menu as a starter. I’m a squid fanatic and have to give it a try if it’s on the menu. Squid is so difficult to get right. It either has to be cooked really quickly or really slowly. The squid here was cooked quickly.. Crispy squid with lime, pickled carrot salad and homemade sweet chilli jam. It was very good.. The squid was cooked beautifully with a light and crispy batter. As it was a starter sized portion I felt I needed a side dish so I plumped for honey glazed parsnips. They were so good.. Little baby parsnips in a sweet honey glaze. I know you wouldn’t traditionally have squid with parsnips but I figured they were a slightly healthier chip alternative! It worked for me anyway.
As billed on the menu, Emma said that the batter on her fish was crispy and light. I have to say I had a little bit of food envy as it did look mouth-wateringly good.
The boy’s gammon looked incredibly tender. They were impressed and the pineapple chutney gave a little nod to the 70’s gammon and pineapple! The hand cut chips looked great from where I was sitting.. Steve didn’t offer me one unfortunately!
I skipped dessert but there was a good choice. Ben had vanilla creme brûlée with raspberry sorbet. Creme brûlée is my all time favourite dessert. If I ever go to The Lazy Toad again I will definately save space for dessert if it is on the menu! Steve had a rather wonderful looking warm chocolate brownie with candied pecans and a salted caramel sauce. I had a little try and it was very good. Moist and not too sweet. Sometimes chocolate desserts can be a little sickly for me. Emma decided on some little squares of Turkish delight. She wasn’t that impressed with it. She commented that it was a little “raw jelly cube” like. It was a bit of a shame because everything up to this point had been very good.
Our bill including 5 pints of ale, a ginger beer and a tea came in at about £78.00. We split the bill four ways so it came in at under £20.00 per head with drinks. Not bad value in my books.
I would like to go back to The Lazy Toad on a cozy winters evening and sit by the fire. Or a summers afternoon and sit out in the garden. There is a rather lovely beer garden that I think could be a real sun trap. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to do both!