B ase and Barley is the latest venture from Exeter’s poshest coffee shop chain, Artigiano. Situated just a stone’s throw away from The Old Firehouse and across from the (in)famous King Billy pub, the restaurant opened its doors last week, offering pundits and foodies alike the chance to sample their Italian sourdough pizzas, craft beer and cocktails.
The restaurant itself is a spectacle, with a mixture of rustic and modern interior fittings and ambient mood lighting. A huge wood-fired oven dominates the room, churning out delicious looking and authentic Italian pizzas. The drink selection is varied, with exotic cocktails and posh soft drinks. The craft beer selection, however, is a little limited, with Brewdog’s Dead Pony Club probably the highlight.
The Menu Is Surprisingly Reasonably Priced, With the Pizzas all costing under nine pounds
The menu is surprisingly reasonably priced, with the pizzas all costing under nine pounds. I plump for a No.2 pizza, topped with mozzarella, peppers and spicy nduja sausage. The waiting staff are attentive and friendly, although there are clearly still some teething problems that need to be ironed out – orders kept arriving at our table, before our hopes were dashed as we realised these weren’t in fact our pizzas.
Unfortunately the turnaround on the food is slow, and our pizzas finally arrived almost an hour after we ordered. Luckily the food is excellent – crispy thin sourdough bases and fresh toppings that could easily have been prepared in a restaurant on a sunny Rome piazza. The portions aren’t massive, but represent good (if not great) value for money for under ten pounds, and the food seems reasonably healthy, or certainly healthier than your average Domino’s.
It’s safe to say that the restaurant is clearly still finding its feet, and there are undoubtedly flaws that need attention, but once these are sorted, Base and Barley may just become one of the trendiest and some most popular hangouts in town.