Exmouth Market isn’t short of great places to eat, with the likes of Morito, Moro, Caravan and Medcalf. New kid on the block Blackfoot, which specialises in all things porky, replaces an old school pie and mash shop which apparently could no longer afford the rent.
Inside they’d kept the old pie shop vibe with booth tables on the right and a long bar on the left. There was also a small bright orange dining room out the back with tightly packed tables. It was a plain and simple space which lacked a bit of personality to be honest.
Things got off to a ropey start as for some reason or another there was no chicken and chorizo stew, pork belly salad or lentils or mashed potato sides. They’d also sold out of the chilli crackling. By 5pm. Hmm. It was only when we left that we actually realised they’d charged us for the crackling!
I opted for the Love Me Tender ribs (£13) slathered in barbecue sauce and served with a pot of coleslaw. They were cooked perfectly; the meat was soft and came off the bone with the merest coaxing. It was a big old rack too which filled me more than happily without a side dish. I just could have done with more of that sauce on the ribs. They were tasty enough but not the best ribs I’ve ever eaten.
Our other two mains were less impressive. The pulled pork tacos (£9) were a failure. They were cold for a start and the tacos themselves were bland pieces of cardboard. There were far too many beans and not enough pork and what little pig we did have was dry and stringy.
The Long Smoke (£15) which was a whole belly smoked in apple wood chips, was juicy in the centre but dry and tough round the outside. A little pot of black stuff which we later found out was a Ghanaian pepper sauce, tasted burnt and acrid with an underlying flavour of fish. Weird.
Desserts were the best thing we ate surprisingly enough. “Like a Key Lime Pie” (£5) was basically a lime cheesecake. My Mum’s eyes nearly popped out of her head after the first bite; it was rather limey which, after the initial shock, became quite addictive. The chocolate eclair (£4) was exactly what I expected and tasted as it should.
If a restaurant is going to specialise in pork specifically then surely it should be the star of the show – but sadly that was far from the case. Whilst eating at Blackfoot I couldn’t stop thinking about the pork on offer at other restaurants; Pitt Cue Co, Smokehouse, Foxlow – even Bodeans, which all feels a shame as the staff were so lovely and friendly. I couldn’t help but feel they’re flogging a dead pig.