Family Restaurant Review: The Cat & Fiddle
All content by Joff Alexander-Frye
It was deadline day for our November edition. I was busy. I was stressed. I had a few thousand more words to write before the day was over and just wanted to get my head down and crack on. However, thanks to a kind invite from Mike Goff (landlord of The Cat & Fiddle Inn on Sidmouth Road), I was due to meet my wife Jodie and my three kids Darcie, Noah and Safferty for a family restaurant review. It was such a kind offer from Mike that I decided to override my instinct to work and enjoy an hour out of my busy day to share a meal with my lovely family. It proved to be an oasis in an otherwise stressful day and a decision that I would not regret.
Upon arrival, we were given a friendly and warm welcome, shown to our reserved table and introduced to our waiter, a charming and hospitable Portuguese guy called Gui. Over the course of our lunch time, Gui was attentive, polite, engaging and managed to capture the attention and affection of my children, something that many other waiters and waitresses have tried and failed over the years. Bravo Gui. Bravo.
With kids colouring sheets, crayons and drinks delivered to our table quicker than you can say “Don’t worry darling, your Fruit Shoot will be here in a minute”, we settled in and started perusing the menu, noticing that it has been designed with both children and adults alike. The kids menu itself included a variety of tasty options for children of most culinary leanings and the adult menu was diverse, seasonal and well-priced.
In the end, we made our deliberations and opted for a Nachos Sharing Plate and Sweet Potato Fries for starters, both of which went down a treat and were polished off in no time at all.
Moving on from starters, I chose the Hunter’s Chicken (an Autumnal favourite of mine), Jodie went for Trio of Sausages with Mash and the kids opted for a Chicken & Bacon Burger, Gammon & Chips and Sausages with Beans respectively. All of our mains were generously portioned, well-executed and nicely presented. Particular stand-out elements were the nicely seasoned sausages and the Hunter’s Chicken.
The very fact that my youngest, a notoriously picky eater, partook in the starters and polished off her mains was a great complement to the chef. I think she also had a bit of a soft spot for Gui too, which probably helped (in that sort of 4-year old first crush kind of way).
Moving on to dessert (which we didn’t really have room for if I’m honest, but it felt rude not to), we ordered Waffles and Ice Cream for each of the kids and Jodie and I shared a slice of decadent Banoffee Fudge Cake.
With every course that passed, and with a lovely pint of Bath Ales Gem to accompany me along the way, the stress of the day started to slip away and I started to feel more like a balanced human again. There is a relaxed charm that the Cat & Fiddle has which seems to create a space for relaxation and taking a pause from the busyness of life. So much so, in fact, that I’ve highlighted their snug private meeting room as a future location for business meetings and interviews. Overall, the food was lovely, the dining environment pleasant and the service impeccable.
For those of you with families, I would highly recommend it as a dining destination where your children will be comfortable, relaxed and well looked after. As if the dining experience wasn’t well-suited enough to kids, there is both an indoor and outdoor play area and plenty of space for more fidgety children to stretch their legs.
As previously mentioned though, it would be a perfect venue for a team lunch, a business meeting or a small event too (as there are private spaces to hire within the cavernous pub).
So, why not head down to the Cat & Fiddle on Sidmouth Road, just a stone’s throw from the outskirts of Exeter, to sample some solid pub grub, a great range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a healthy serving of good old-fashioned British customer service.