Yi Xiang Ting: "Exeter's Latest Chinese Restaurant - In A Pub!" Top 5 Page for this destination Yi Xiang Ting - CLOSED Tip by johngayton
Yi Xiang Ting - CLOSED, Exeter: 1 reviews and 3 photos
UPDATE - November 2014 - Unfortunately now closed and the pub is up for sale :-(
The last time I passed through Exeter by train I was in no particularly hurry (I think I was heading back to work) and as is my wont I dropped into the Jolly Porter, opposite St Davids Station, for a couple of beers.
I was also kindof peckish and was looking forward to getting one of the excellent burgers from Peeps burger van once I'd worked up the motivation to head onwards.
However plan A went straight onto the back burner once I discovered that the JP is now host to a new Chinese restaurant which has taken over the left-hand room. Chatting to the guys at the bar most of them had tried it out and were unanimous with their praise.
Well here I was with a few trains that were easily missable and the prospect of a few beers which were pretty much unmissable and so I decided to give it a brief workout.
This turned out to be an excellent change of plans.
The restaurant occupies what was formerly the pub's lounge area and it still retains the pub fittings and furniture. The tables though have been laid up with, admittedly a bit wrinkly, tablecloths and some plasticky orchids whilst the only change to the decor is the addition of a couple of hanging lanterns and other ornaments. It was obviously early days but the young couple running it were welcoming and enthusiastic and the couple of guys on the other table occupied were making a lot of appreciative noises as they ate.
The table menu was the same four-fold giveaway as they use for their takeaway but that was OK by me - the less frills the better and of course this means the eat-in prices are the same as the eat-out. The menu covers pretty much all the Chinese takeaway staples and lacks a "house specialities" section but as I was to discover everything IS the house speciality.
Favorite Dish: A basket of very prawny prawn crackers with a nice chilli kick got the gastric juices working as I perused the 140 or so dishes and finally I settled on the Hot and Sour Soup to start, to be followed by the Duck with Ginger & Spring Onion accompanied by Egg Fried Rice.
HA! I suppose it's the Chinese way of doing things but instead of getting my soup to start everything arrived at once but that wasn't worth complaining about especially considering the assualt of delish aromas my palate was assailed by - the chillies, the garlic, the ginger and the aromatic spices - I just tucked straight in!
The soup was definitely worth writing home about - rich, sweet, sour with a good depth of flavour and a tongue-tingling heat. The duck too zinged, meaty but not fatty, cooked with copious quantities of onions and an unexpected slathering of Chinese mushrooms all bound together in a rich soy-based sauce. The rice too was exemplar and tasty enough to have been eaten as a meal in its own right (though maybe I should have stuck to plain boiled rice as a foil to the richness of the soup and duck).
Having thoroughly enjoyed my meal I went to the counter to pay and the chef popped out to ask if everything had been OK. I didn't tell him I am a cook myself but I did tell him that it was one of the best Chinese meals I've eaten and we passed the time of day having a little natter - about how long he'd been there (a couple of weeks) and how trade was (picking up).
The bill came to the princely sum of £9.10, I gave them £12 - I'm not normally an extravagant tipper but at even at £12 it was still too cheap. We shook hands and as I left I did mention that us philistinical Brits do expect the starter to come before the main course.
Then it was back to the bar where I added my profound praise to the consensus.
Address: The Jolly Porter, St Davids Hill
Price Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: Over the car park in front of the railway station, on the roundabout.
Phone: 01392 2757933
Theme: Chinese/Dim Sum
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