It might seem strange for a vegetarian to do two burger posts in a row.
It might also seem strange for a vegetarian to visit three burger bars in a week.
It might seem stranger for a vegetarian to choose a burger diner for her birthday meal.
But Vicky and I are no ordinary vegetarians and we are promptly chowing our way through the Exeter (veggie)burger scene.
After trying to get a nice photo of the birthday girl having fun on her 23rd birthday (which may have been ruined by me trying to adapt Taylor Swift songs to fit the occasion) I turned my attention to the interior of the Ruby Diner.
Being a Monday evening, it was nice and quiet apart from a few rowdy tables upstairs who nevertheless ensured we were entertained throughout our meal. I was happy because it meant that I could take photos of the restaurant without feeling like I was assaulting the usual crowd of poor, innocent, unsuspecting diners with my ever-intrusive camera.
For me, most of the appeal of eating out is based on the atmosphere of a place and as shallow as it might be, a good interior makes me very happy. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and I know the food itself is the most important part but I like a good package and the restaurant setting itself really contributes to the overall experience.
Scientists have found that music changes peoples perceptions of taste. Others have discovered that wine experts quite often fail blindfolded taste tests. So how many of our eating experiences are affected by what we see and hear rather than what we actually taste? Could my penchant for appearances be grounded in science? Food for thought...
It's amazing that we all had room for a big dinner just days after Vicky's surprise birthday party on the Saturday night. Lauren and I recruited as many of Vicky's friends as we could and put a huge spread on including homemade chutney and veggie-sausage rolls, mango and feta salad, root veg and mediterranean veg stew with cheesy dumplings, macaroni cheese and a giant black forest trifle with jugs and jugs of Cosmopolitans to keep the evening merry. Our guests practically rolled out of the house at the end of the evening but these troopers were back for more greed a couple of days later. My kind of girls.
Ruby is an interesting mix of a modern dining space with more than a nod towards industrial chic on one side and classic diner-style booths on the other. Which, having just written that, makes sense considering its owned by Modern Diners Ltd. Duh.
Some of the girls started the evening with some cocktails of which I didn't actually get a look in. There are a few good cocktails on the menu as well as hard shakes (the best thing in the world ever) and a range of craft beers alongside the usual soft drink selections. I had the Ted beer which was fresh, hoppy and perfect alongside my burger(s).
I get sad when my camera is taken away for too long.
Now, back to the vegetarian thing.
More and more places are getting good at providing more than one option for veggies and happily Ruby has three different veggie burgers. Alas only two of them are available for the slider plates but that didn't put me off having a meal made for two to share ;) I tried the Faloumi (falafel with halloumi and red pepper, avocado, chipotle, lemon yoghurt) and the Beanie (Monteray Jack, jalepeno & black bean patty, Mexicana cheese, red pepper, avocado, chipotle mayo). Both were delicious but I personally preferred the Faloumi as the Beanie is pretty spicy and I am a massive wimp.
Just take a look at those faces. Let's get a close up on that shall we?
I'm pretty proud to say that I ate all of that ^ and I also managed to polish off everyone else's chips when they couldn't manage them. Yum.
Once the food arrived, chaos ensued.
Until pretty soon there was nothing left.
So we ordered dessert.
I went for the Toblerone hard shake with chocolate ice cream, honey, Kahlua, Frangelico and Baileys which was absolutely fantastic and a waffle with banana, banoffee icecream and salted caramel sauce.
Both were brilliant but very, very, very sweet and after only a few mouthfuls, I had a giant sugar coma going on. You know when you actually get a headache from the sweetness and every mouthful just makes your head pound?
It could just be me. I have come to realise lately that most of my experiences to do with over-eating are fairly unknown to other, more restrained people.
Unlike poor Jess who got everybody's "naughty squirty cream" piled on top of her ice cream sundae as none of us like whipped cream and she is quite the fan.
But it was all too much and, in her words, her "pudding hole" was full after only half a sundae.
Overall, it was a great place to spend the evening. Whilst Hubbox's food is still a winner for me, Ruby has great options for everyone and a good atmosphere for relaxed special occasions (and being able to book a table is a definite plus!)
As well as tasty burgers, the hard shakes are seriously good and if you've got space, the desserts will fill you up for days. It's definitely worth checking out.
As for us, we were giggling all the way as we rolled home. A great night out with great friends.