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Miller and Carter Exeter

Miller & Carter Steakhouse, Exeter

Review by Collette

*We were offered a complimentary dinner at Exeter’s Miller & Carter Steakhouse in exchange for an honest review*

Conveniently located opposite the Honiton Road Park and Ride – in the building that used to house to The Barn Owl Pub – Miller & Carter is self-styled ‘premium steakhouse’ that promises its diners a variety carnivorous dishes, from prime steaks through to gourmet burgers. As you’ll probably know by now, we like to shout about independent restaurants on this blog, so we were more than a little sceptical about the emergence of yet another chain restaurant in Exeter. However, Miller & Carter sells itself on being a ‘cut above’ the rest when it comes to quality and so the lure of great steak proved too tempting to resist and we had to see if it made the grade…

Miller and Carter Exeter

A Brand New Look

From the moment you step through the Miller & Carter doors it’s apparent that they’ve gone all out to replace the old style English pub vibe that characterised its predecessor The Barn Owl. It’s out with the old and in with a brand new contemporary steakhouse interior. Personally, I’m a big fan of the interior design and I was immediately impressed by the dark wood furniture, red leather accents and the impressive glass-fronted wine cabinet that greets incoming guests. 

We visited at 7pm on a Monday evening and the restaurant was already buzzing with businesspeople and families alike – which we assumed could only be a good sign? 

Miller and Carter Exeter

The Menu

Carnivores will no doubt be happy when they get a look at the Miller & Carter menu. There’s everything from Toasted Bread & Beef Dripping to start off your meal, to prime burgers with and a wide selection of premium steaks that can be cooked to your liking. We decided to skip the starters and head straight for those steaks…

Miller and Carter Exeter

Mains

Our lovely waitress took the time to talk us through the menu and explained that steaks can be cooked any which way you like and are accompanied by a wedge of lettuce with a dressing of your choice. I’ll admit, we found this last part a little confusing, but we were nonetheless excited to find out how Miller & Carter would make a bowl of lettuce exciting…

As expected, my dining partners both decided to go for steak. Gabriella opted for the Fillet Steak (blue) with a Garlic Mayonnaise Lettuce Wedge and a side order of Lobster Mac n Cheese; while my husband went for a Ribeye and Chips with a Bacon & Cheese Lettuce Wedge and a side of Spinach topped with a Fried Egg.

The wedges came out first (before the steaks themselves) and consisted of a third of an iceberg lettuce topped with their chosen sauces. Our waitress explained that the theory behind the lettuce was to help aid in the digestion of the steak itself – a concept which I’ll admit I haven’t heard before! My husband ate every last bit of his wedge – claiming that it was a brilliant idea – while Gabriella and I were left a little bit baffled by the notion of eating a bowl of lettuce by itself! 

The steaks arrived about five minutes after the wedges and both of them dived right in. Apparently, the fillet steak was perfectly cooked and the knife cut through the meat like it was butter. The presentation of the Ribeye wasn’t anything to write home about, but my husband informed me that it was also delicious, as were the chips and the complimentary onion rings served on the side. 

I did have to wait a little longer for my salmon dish to arrive, but the waitress was very apologetic about the delay. As I said before, the restaurant was full to the brim and i’m sure that delays were due to teething problems in the earliest days of its opening. When the salmon did arrive thought, it was well worth waiting for. The skin was crispy and the fish itself was very nicely cooked,. The dish was topped off with a salsify mash and a lobster sauce – which I really enjoyed – and I wouldn’t hesitate to order this plate of food again.

Dessert

For dessert, my husband had wanted to order the Banoffee Pie but was disappointed to learn that it was out of stock and therefore chose a Sugar-Glazed Passion Fruit Tart. The tart was surprisingly delicious and the portion size was generous, so in hindsight he probably went for the better option after all. I meanwhile opted for a Mini Dessert, which turned out to be a Small Raspberry Creme Brûlée served with a cup of tea. I thought this was a great idea and I maintain that more restaurants should follow suit and offer similar sized portions for those of us with a smaller appetite. It was just big enough to give me the sugar fix I was after, without feeling overly-stuffed after a big meal.

Miller and Carter Exeter

The Verdict

We’re always emphasising how much we love to support our local food producers and restaurants, but as far as chain restaurants go, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t really enjoy our food at Miller and Carter. Our visit was not without its problems – we noticed that quite a few things had ‘sold out’ and my dinner arrived five minutes later than the rest. However, the staff were all very helpful, the decor was spot on and the food was  delicious. All said and done, Miller and Carter may be a chain restaurant, but this does not effect the quality of the food and if you’re hankering for a high quality steak you definitely won’t be disappointed. 

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