Review of 'Michael Caines Café Bar, Exeter (NOW CLOSED)'

Not to be confused with the “proper” Michael Caines in the hotel upstairs the small Café Bar in the basement is far more reasonably priced and a great deal more relaxed. The interior is quite light with an eclectic bit of music always playing (they have live music on Fridays). The wood floors and contemporary interior mean this would be a good place for a light coffee and nosh, however, I visited just as the “day menu” was changing to the “evening menu” which was a bit confusing as the menu in the window was for the evening but they (when they eventually came to the table) wanted me to order from the day menu.

Confusion over I was not terribly hungry so skipped the starters and went for the “Brochette of seafood on a bed of noodles with lime, bean sprouts and clams in a chilli and parsley sauce”. Despite the rather elaborate description the dish ended up on the table looking like a bit of seafood scattered on top of some spaghetti with tomato sauce. To be honest the look pretty much reflected the taste though the fish was terribly fresh and the scallops and clams really stole the show. All of the seafood, I was assured, was sourced locally. Most of the other menu items, I read, were also sourced from local ingredients which was also good to see. At £13.75 for my brochettes I should hope so.

I was reasonably impressed so moved onto a dessert. I decided to go for the Crème Brûlée (evidently “Michael Caine's own recipe”). After a considerable delay (and many apologies) a small shallow dish arrived with this wonderful dessert inside. A fantastically creamy and firm custard with a firm, crunchy top was absolutely top-notch and well worth the (considerable) wait. All puddings were evenly (and suspiciously) priced at £5.00.

The service was a bit slow but to be honest there were only a few of us in the restaurant (and I was at the far end away from the kitchen and the rest of the diners) so I am sure the waiter's had other things to do. When the service eventually did arrive it was courteous and perhaps a bit aloof for such an informal atmosphere.

I will be back perhaps next time to check out the bigger brother upstairs. If you are looking for quite a nice meal and are not too afraid of prices but don't want to visit the much more expensive Michael Caine's full-on experience upstairs I would suggest you give the Café Bar below it a try.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2007-02-09

Cuisine: American/British

Address: ABode Exeter, Cathedral Yard, EX1 1HD

Location: Exeter (England)



Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 1392 223626