Old Timer’s Wine Bar & Restaurant – by Chris Gower


Little Castle St, Exeter EX4 3PX – 01392 477704 – http://www.oldtimersexeter.co.uk/

Old Timer’s Wine Bar and Restaurant is one of Exeter’s hidden gems, of which we seem to have many!  An independent establishment that is owned by the same names that own The Timepiece Nightclub and Hole In The Wall, it has been one of the highlights on the dining scene in Exeter for many years.  This is one of the most anticipated reviews for me – given its great reputation with its Sunday roasts – this restaurant delivers excellent value with big portions.

Finding Old Timers is a little bit like trying to find a large restaurant-sized needle in a city-sized haystack if you don’t know Exeter well.  Set well away from the bustle and mania of the High Street, it sits on a wide alleyway that leads up to The Timepiece Nightclub.

On entering the interior feels a lot like a vintage emporium.  It is dark and dimly lit; I don’t know when it was last decorated but there is a timeless quality that has never left since the last time I was here about 10 years ago.  Is it how I remember? I think so…  For me the highlights included the model B52 bomber and the whiskey boxes adorning the wall.

There were five of us, we had booked in advance, but there was no need to really as there was only a light smattering of punters at various tables around the restaurant.  It was 5:30pm and we were definitely the calm before the storm.

Old Timer’s has got the right idea by providing a small yet well rounded menu, covering British classics along with Pizzas, Burgers.  There isn’t many bells & whistles,  but I was chuffed to see that most mains were around the £10 mark, with steaks being slightly more expensive as you’d expect.  The food isn’t sophisticated and the interior is quite rough around the edges, but when our meals appeared the generous portion sizes made us all do a double-take.

I went for the Cajun Chicken Burger; served with Onion Rings, Salad and Home-made Chips.  The chip portion was a little measly in proportion to the rest of the meal (but at the end of the meal I was glad that I hadn’t had MORE chips as with everything else it was a good size) but they were tasty and clearly made of actual potatoes.  The chicken was moist and well cooked with a tasty Cajun finish all encompassed in a soft fresh white bun.

To top this meal, they were selling pints of Exeter Brewery’s Avocet Ale for £3.00 a pint which was a perfect accompaniment for what was one satisfying meal!

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