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City Gate Hotel Exeter

City Gate Hotel, Exeter

It’s often said that it’s the little things that make a hotel stand apart. Whether it’s good staff, great decor or just those final touches to your room – the little things go a long way. So, when we first arrived at City Gate Hotel and were shown to our room, it’s safe to say that I was more than a little impressed with what we found.

If you live or work in Exeter, you may have paid a visit to City Gate before. It used to be known for it’s busy beer garden in summer but it’s foodie reputation was neither here nor there. However, a lot has changed in the past few months. The Young’s Hotel has received a complete boutique transformation, including a brand dining room, 14 individually designed bedrooms and a trendy alfresco drinking and dining space out back.

City Gate Hotel Exeter

City Gate Hotel Exeter

We were lucky enough to spend the night in one of these new rooms and from the moment I stepped inside I knew that Young’s was onto something special with their latest refurb, nothing about the new hotel spoke of it being part of a larger chain. Every little detail appears to have been thought through. In our bedroom, we were greeted by a little complimentary decanter of port and some homemade cubes of fudge sporting ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’ labels, along with a well stocked mini bar, a Nespresso coffee machine and some cute little boxes of speciality tea.

New Refurb

City Gate Hotel Exeter

It’s not just the hotel bedrooms that have been given the boutique once over, the classic colour scheme is continued throughout the hotel and I love all the little artefacts dotted around the dining room and bar area. You’ll find that much of the artwork on display pays homage to the City of Exeter and downstairs there’s even a trendy cellar bar, complete with comfy sofas and warm lighting, perfect for an evening sipping on cocktails with good company.

City Gate Hotel Exeter

Dinner is Served

You’ll forgive me for dwelling on the hotel’s decor up until this point.. It really is very nicely done and I think that a lot of customers will appreciate the lengths they have gone to in order to create a relaxed atmosphere to meet with friends and enjoy good food and drink. However, I suppose I should probably get on to the City Gate’s newest menu..

City Gate Hotel Exeter

After we’d settled into our room and had a little tour of the cellar bar, we made our way into the dining room and helped ourselves to some appetisers in the form of mini pots of fish and chips alongside delicious sliders with Bloody Mary relish. We were then given the opportunity to browse the menu for the evening, which Head Chef Jason Mead came out to talk us through. His menu was designed to not only showcase his teams talents, but also to make use of the wonderful variety of ingredients that are seasonal in Devon right now (such as wild garlic, rhubarb and lamb).

City Gate Hotel Exeter

I started my meal with the Crispy Duck, Spinach & Watercress, Pomegranate, Hazelnuts and Aged Sherry. The duck literally fell apart as you bit into it and the pomegranate and hazelnuts were the perfect accompaniment. Meanwhile, my partner opted for the Devon Crab Cake, Homemade Tartare Sauce & Pickled Cucumber Hearts. He wasn’t quite as convinced with his starter, as he had high hopes for a stronger crab flavour, but I admire chef for his use of fresh, ingredients and the tartar sauce was tasty.

City Gate Hotel Exeter

Up next I just had to go for the Brixham Hake Fillet, Lemon Garlic Butter, Samphire & Crushed Pink Fur Potato. The fish was beautifully cooked and the Samphire added all the seasoning it needed in my opinion. I remember preparing a very similar dish at Exeter Cookery School and desperately wanting to recreate it, so this plate of food certainly hit the mark for me.

City Gate Exeter

My partner had the Pan Roasted Elston Farm Lamb Rump, Wilted Wild Garlic and Purple Broccoli. I don’t eat lamb (they’re too cute, don’t judge me) so I didn’t get the chance to try it. However, he assured me that the meat was very well cooked and the greens – which I did sample – were absolutely wonderful. I loved the addition of the wild garlic, not least because it made the greens taste that little bit more indulgent, but because it’s very seasonal and was apparently foraged locally at nearby Lympstone.


Finally we got the opportunity to sample the deserts on the menu and once again, I can safely report that they were made to a high standard. The honeycomb was freshly made and chefs mini lemon meringue tarts were perfectly done.

City Gate Hotel Exeter

Our Thoughts

After a wonderful nights sleep and a breakfast that offered plenty of variety, I can honestly say that I have nothing but praise for City Gate Hotel. I’m so pleased to finally have another spot in Exeter that I know I can head to when I’m on the hunt for good food and great service. All of the staff at City Gate go above and beyond to provide their guests with an enjoyable stay, you definitely won’t be disappointed by the quality of the food on offer. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Exeter or you simply want to grab a bite to eat, I would definitely recommend putting City Gate on your ‘go-to” list.

Find Out More
Iron Bridge, Lower North Street, Exeter, EX4 3RB
Tel: 01392 495811

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