Last week, Ollie and I decided to go out for dinner to celebrate being together for one whole year! We had our first date at Coal Grill & Bar in Exeter so we thought it would be fitting to re-visit the restaurant which is based in Princesshay. I am a big fan of Coal having visited for drinks and cocktails with friends on a number of occasions but I have never eaten there.
After looking through the menu online and stumbling across a 33% off food voucher, we couldn’t wait to visit again. Taking our seats in the restaurant which is located on the first floor, what struck me first was the atmosphere. I love how cosy Coal is and the electric heaters they had dotted around close to the tables was a great welcome in from the freezing cold. The walls were decorated with unique art made of coal and the furniture was all very stylish and comfortable. Tables were being cleaned quickly and empty glasses were collected promptly. I have also always loved the music they play in there. They have a real mix of smooth hip hop and songs that are currently in the charts.
As we were celebrating, we ordered a bottle of Prosecco which was only £15 due to their Friday Fizz offer – bonus! The Prosecco was gorgeous, nice and fizzy, just how I like it. One comment I would make was that the bottle was placed in an ice bucket which had no ice in it. I quite like bottles to be kept in ice because it keeps the drink nice and chilled but maybe they don’t like to chill the drinks too much in winter!
I ordered the Chicken Schnitzel which is described as oven baked breadcrumbed breast of chicken stuffed with cheese wrapped in Serrano ham with creamed spinach served with fries. It came out quickly and the portion size was good. The food was delicious, everything on my plate was hot but I would say that the chef had overdone it with the spinach. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love spinach but even for me there was a bit too much of it! Due to my plate being swamped with spinach, I couldn’t really taste the Serrano ham. It was lovely and creamy though and really did fill me up.
Ollie ordered the Slow Cooked Beef Brisket which was served in their home recipe spicy bbq sauce between a toasted brioche bun with dill pickle, pan-fried onions, tomato, lettuce, mustard mayo and fries. He thought that his meal was mediocre. He got the impression that the burger had been pre-made and just re-heated as parts of it were cold in the middle. The bbq sauce was nice though although not very spicy and the portion size was good.
We ordered a side of mac and cheese which was delicious, perfectly cheesy, creamy and hot which complimented the mains nicely.
The plates were cleared away quickly but we were sat waiting for someone to come and offer us the dessert menu. After roughly 30 minutes of waiting and feeling like we were invisible to the staff, we eventually got the menu after Ollie asked for it!
I ordered the Homemade Oreo Pie in a Glass but anyone could have made it. The glass had a squirt of chocolate sauce at the bottom, crumbled digestives, squirty cream, a dollop of vanilla ice cream with one, yes one, Oreo crushed on the top. I wasn’t that impressed to be honest. I could have made it myself at home. Ollie ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding which wasn’t anything special and again, he got the impression that it had been heated up in the microwave. Both desserts lacked the wow factor for the price.
The table was cleared away without the waitress asking if we wanted another drink, tea or coffee. Instead, she returned and dumped the bill on our table – we hadn’t asked for the bill! We advised that we weren’t actually finished yet and we would like a pitcher of Sangria.
We were really keen to have some Sangria to finish off the evening as we haven’t had it since our trip to Barcelona back in September. It was extremely weak though and I could barely taste the red wine so was a bit disappointed.
Overall, we did have a lovely evening as it was a special night for us. The food was nothing to write home about but still tasty. We got quite a good discount off our bill due to the various deals we were taking advantage of but I definitely wouldn’t say that the food was worth the full price. The service was quite poor and the team could have been a little more attentive.
Coal Grill & Bar is a great place to hang out with friends and drink good value cocktails as the whole place has a great atmosphere but I wouldn’t eat here again.