It's always nice when an invitation to a free dinner drops into your inbox.
This time, it was for the newly opened Absurd Bird in the brand new Exeter Queen Street dining area. The old Guildhall shopping area has been undergoing development for what feels like years so we're all really excited to see many of the new restaurants opening their doors to all us hungry students.
I took the best office mate a girl could ask for along for the free food.
We were given the option of sitting at a table with rocking chairs (tempting) or having our very own little booth. We plumped for the second option and were shown to a small, wooden booth that was incredibly cosy and cute.
The Absurd Bird in Exeter is only the third restaurant in the country - the other two are in London (Soho and Spitalfields). This is, in itself, something to be excited about given that Exeter quite often feels like it's been awarded the title of "city" by mistake and is still trying to muddle along when really, this big town has absolutely no clue what it's doing and how to do "city-ing".
Lorna went for a Little Red Rooster (Finlandia vodka, raspberry, strawberry, fresh lemon juice, sugar, fizz) and I went for a Sauvignon Sling (Bombay Sapphire, mint, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, Sauvignon Blanc).
Admittedly we'd both had a cheeky swig before I could remember to take ^the photo...
(What can I say, I never have been - and never will be - a natural at smiling in photos).
I enjoyed my cocktail but the overpowering flavour was the wine and I couldn't really taste much of the gin (basically, it wasn't strong enough for the alcoholic likes of me.)
When we came to order, they'd run out of the black bean burger I'd had my eye on and the only other veggie options were salads or a guacamole and quinoa wrap. I wasn't particularly tempted by the wrap (quinoa and I have never really gotten on very well) but was definitely swayed by our waitress' offer of letting me have three of the smaller plates instead. I'm pretty sure I got more food than I would have done this way round (evil laughter).
And what delicious food it was! The idea behind Absurd Bird is to provide the tastes of the American Deep South's fried chicken (not a good place for a vegetarian, I know). Nevertheless, I had the smoked corn on the cob with "Absurd" butter, the plain mac & cheese (also available with jalapenos but I am the biggest spice wimp in the world) and the quinoa and mango salad (yes, I know I just said I don't get on with quinoa but mango).
My mains were good but I could have done with something a little more savoury. The smoked corn was delicious and had a really lovely smokey flavour mingling with the sweetness. The mac & cheese was also good but would have benefited from a little extra kick, perhaps with some mustard (or jalapenos probably). The quinoa and mango salad was also very tasty although I feel that overall the meal tasted a little too sweet with all the mango and pomegranate seeds in the salad and the sweetness of the corn.
Still had room for pudding though.
Lorna had the peanut butter cheesecake with an Oreo base which was pretty damn good. I had cookies and milk. Always a favourite, right? You can't go wrong with cookies and milk, right?
Holy crap... I mean, cookies and milk are good enough normally but this really took the biscuit.
After placing our order, I saw the cookies arrive at another table nearby. Three huge cookies, all warm from the oven, crispy around the edges and gooey and chocolatey in the middle. Escorted to your table with a cute little milk bottle.
I love chocolate. I love warm chocolate cookies. I love warm chocolate cookies and milk. But this was something else. Gorgeous fresh cookies, all sugar and sweetness, punctuated by oozing slabs of bitter dark chocolate. The only downside was that they made me so thirsty I wanted to glug my milk down in one go and the bottle was only pint sized (oh God another one, what's happening to me tonight?!) Our waitress said that we could have asked for more milk if we'd wanted though so that's something to remember for the future!
I would hands down go back to Absurd Bird again, just to have milk and cookies. In fact, I live so close to Absurd Bird, I may even make this my regular nighttime routine. Now that really is an idea.
By the time we left, the restaurant had emptied out upstairs so I took a couple of quick pictures of the rocking chair set up before bidding goodbye to our booth and basically rolling downstairs.
I will definitely be back to try that black bean burger and to drown myself in cookies and milk. I mean, I just can't.
So good. So so good.
Please tell me you'll have the cookies if you go?