Sitting opposite the Pinhoe branch of Aldi, and next door the Sainsbury’s supermarket, The Pinhoe Hoard is Exeter’s newest
mega-gastro-chain pub that is catering to the widest spectrum of punters with its large dining area, kids play facilities ample car parking and convenient placement.
You don’t have to travel narrow lanes, to reach this pub as it is all handily plonked on the side of one of the main arterial routes in to Exeter. According to their website, just a short drive to Dartmoor too; I would challenge their definition of short given that it is nearly half an hour away.
The Pinhoe Hoard was named after, the ‘Pinhoe Hoard’ which was a small collection of bronze age axes or palstaves discovered by metal detectorists on the present site of the pub.
They serve what I call functional food. There are many things that it is not, but it fills a hole and definitely has its place in the diverse array of places to eat out in Exeter.
My recent experiences of Marston Inns has been getting steadily better recently. My low-point was The Waterloo Cross in Uffculme with our disastrous wedding anniversary meal a few years ago. Then The Red Deer in Crediton; apathetic at first but each time we’ve been its been getting better, and finally culminating in a generally pleasant experience at The Pinhoe Hoard after a mad day out. Despite the mixed bag of reviews on Tripadvisor, there is a trend towards the Excellent’s and Very Good’s but not without the Terrible reviews which is filled with the usual whining and moaning that seems to grace every restaurant’s page.
Given it was a busy Friday night, we had to wait a few minutes for our table. So we sat at the bar area and waited for our buzzing/vibrating/beeping thing to go off in around 10 minutes. It did in about 8 minutes, to indicate that our table was ready. The gentleman on the podium/till/touchscreen-of-power was friendly and took us to our readied table. We already had our drinks that we had been able to add to our tab easily with the buzzing/vibrating/beeping thing. I went for a European pilsner which was pleasant enough.
The Pinhoe Hoard is a Rotisserie Pub. This means it has a Rotisserie and a slightly different menu from other Marston’s. For a full ‘spotters guide’ of Marston Inn pubs head to their website.
It was quite a large menu (PDF), there was a lot of text and with these sorts of gastropubs it takes a while to fully browse everything. To give the serving staff their credit we weren’t hurried in to a decision; we often end up playing Menu Battles with over eager staff but either we were feeling particularly decisive or we were given enough time to fully take in the vast amount of options, there was little pressure to ORDER FOOD NOW.
I went for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger served with fries and coleslaw for £10.95. Tori went for 10oz Gammon with Skin-On Fries and Peas.
One of my biggest bug-bears with Marston Inns is their apathy when it comes with coleslaw. Compared to the lovely large portions that you can enjoy at other restaurants, the coleslaw comes in a teeny pot which is just enough to feed a voracious shrew, not an overweight 34 year old with an appetite. However ‘Coleslaw Apathy’ is something endemic to large chain gastropubs, Wetherspoon’s being the worst offender.
This is my only negative, the chips and the burger were well cooked and was definitely a burger I would have again. Tori’s Gammon was evenly cooked and tasted nice. Though the portions were a little on the small side, I would come again and maybe have one of their speciality Rotisserie meals which seem to have a larger portion size.
For functional chain-gastro-pub food this was a pleasant experience and I would recommend this place for what it is. The modern interior is inoffensive; the staff were imeppcably friendly and swift throughout our visit; the toilets were clean; the table was level; the cutlery was clean; the price for the whole meal was reasonable despite it being a very busy evening there was no sense of panic.
I’ll see you again pub…