What would you class as a staycation? A holiday in your own country perhaps? Maybe a neighbouring county? Or perhaps even closer to home? I recently had the pleasure of staying the night at the City Gate Hotel which happens to be a ten minute walk from my house. Now, that has got to be extreme ‘staycationing’, right?!
I was invited by the hotel to sample a boutique hotel experience and I jumped at the chance. I have visited the City Gate a few times for supper since it’s recent refurbishments and have always been excited by the menus that Jason Mead creates. Food features heavily at the City Gate and they only source the best produce for their seasonal menu. It’s the seasonality of the menu that excites me with much of the ingredients being locally sourced.
On this occasion asparagus featured on the menu amongst other seasonal goodies. The Wye Valley asparagus spears with a crispy egg, shallot and caper dressing was drawing me in. With asparagus being one of my favourite vegetables I was already hooked and the addition of a crispy egg was intriguing. After talking to Jason he explained how the egg became this crispy delight. After a lot of trial and error in the kitchen they finally came up with the winning method. A soft boiled egg coated in breadcrumb and then deep fried for a couple of minutes to create a crispy shell. Once cut, the oozing egg coats the asparagus spears.. it’s completely dreamy. Highly recommended!
Steve’s starter was just as delicious. He opted for the dressed Brixham crab served with plenty of toasted sourdough for scooping. The addition of finely diced red apple mixed into the crab mixture was ingenious. The sweetness of the apple was top notch alongside the crab.
For my main course I had the warm beetroot, Carrot and pistachio salad with an orange dressing. Beautiful and simplistic but full of flavour. Steve had the sirloin steak and said it was one of the best steaks he had ever eaten. High praise indeed.
I couldn’t manage dessert but did sneak a sample of Steve’s delicious white chocolate panacotta with roasted peach and shortbread. The flavours were fresh and light and the dish was beautifully presented.
After supper we took ourselves up to our beautifully presented boutique bedroom. One of fourteen, all decorated tastefully with the addition of little local treats that sets this hotel one level above the rest in a similar price bracket. The City Gate really has thought of everything. Luxury toiletries are at your disposal in the bathroom as well as a hairdryer and hair straighteners. In the bedroom there’s a well stocked mini bar, a chocolate lovers dream goodie drawer full of sweet and savoury treats plus tea and coffee making facilities. On top of all that there is complimentary wifi, air conditioning, an iron and board, safe and an iPod dock so you can play your own music.
The bathroom in my room (no 11) was ginormous. The walk in shower was an absolute joy and the aforementioned luxury toiletries smelt beautiful.
This city centre boutique hotel is a five minute walk from Exeter Central Station, a fifteen minute walk from St Davids Station and the bus station. Here you are a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Exeter’s main shopping areas and there are many restaurants, bars and cafes within a five minute stroll if you fancied venturing away from the hotel.
Now, let’s talk about the bed. It was huge and so, so comfortable. Crisp white cotton sheets and divine soft furnishings for comfort. I fell into bed after our evening in the restaurant and bar promptly drifting off to sleep.
After waking and using that wonderful shower again, Steve and I ventured down for breakfast. I fancied something light so decided on a continental breakfast while Steve wanted to try the full English. A table laden with pastries, fruit, cereals and juices was laid out to help yourself. The hot offerings were made fresh to order in the kitchen. Breakfast isn’t included in the room fee but prices are fair and vary between £5 to £10. Coffees and teas are available at an additional cost.
The City Gate gets my recommendation for great service, well cooked seasonal food, beautifully decorated bedrooms and lovely communal areas. If you are ever visiting the city then don’t hesitate to book in for your stay. The team are really eager to please and show off their newly updated hotel.
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