Review: The Exeter Street Food & Innovations Market

** This post was published in 2013, the traders change on a regular basis and some are and aren't there any more! **

I have lived in Exeter for 7 years and I wasn't aware of anywhere to buy freshly cooked, hot delicious food without having to sit in a restaurant.   I worked for years in town, and always had the quandary of what to buy myself for lunch.  It seemed the only choices were sandwiches or greasy fast food.  Finally I have found somewhere that meets my desires.  Exeter Food and Innovations Market brings value and quality to the high street. Today I visited and spoke with the organiser, Karen Smith, to find out more.

The Exeter Street Food & Innovations Market started in April 2012 when it was initially just a market, that had a pizza oven. The pizza oven proved so popular that they expanded to doing more and more food stalls, until it has grown to the worldwide selection of foods on offer today. Karen told me how she strives for high quality artisan food, but on a budget.  One of the many selling points of this market is that you can feed a family with foods from all over the world for around £20.  All stalls are independent local retailers, who source most of their ingredients as locally as they can, boosting the economy around the South West. There is a very strong community vibe that is obvious from just the short time that we spent there, with stall holders walking around to each other and engaging in banter. Karen explained how the market has been building up regulars with people coming for miles just to try the food and meet new faces. People have given feedback that they have been new to the area, and visiting the market has helped them find friends within their community,  Karen said she was really proud of how everything is going with the market, and so she should be!

The Market is open 3 days a week; every Friday Saturday and Sunday.  It is the perfect place to visit on your lunch break on a Friday, or with the family when you're doing your shopping on a Saturday.  Instead of cooking a roast on a Sunday, why not bring the family to sample the different culinary delights from around the world. From the 2nd to the 23rd of December the market will be open daily, with a cocktail bar and live music. What better way to ease yourself in to the festive period?

I walked around and spoke to each individual stall holder to learn bit more about them.

Tasteful Tapas

'Bringing the taste of spain to the Westcountry' Ian told me that when he left the military he took some time out in Spain.  It was here that he was taught how to cook using traditional methods by a Spanish woman.  When he returned to the UK he put his new found skills into practice by starting Tasteful Tapas.  He sources all of his meats and vegetables locally, but gets is Chorizo directly from Spain, as nobody can quite make it like the Spanish do! The food was all being cooked in-front of us in massive Paella Pans.  The smell is enough to take anyone back to Spain, let alone the taste! Ian serves a variety of Spanish wraps, Paella with seafood or chicken and many more delicious, traditional Spanish dishes. You can find him at the Exeter Street Food & Innovations Market every week.

Taco Macho

Taco Macho is run by Gustavo, a professional Chef from Northern Mexico. Mexican is one of my favourite food types, and I am always complaining about the lack of a decent Mexican food place in Exeter.  Well, look no further! Serving a variety of Tacos, Burritos, Fajitas and Quesadilla made from beef chilli, beef steak, chicken fajita, pulled pork or rice.  Not only is there a feast for the mouth, but a feast for the eyes too, with all the food being cooked in front of you, often with flames belowing up into the sky from the pan of delicious Mexican food. Find them online here

Ice American Food

Dan Wagner,who has 14 years experience in the catering trade, is the proprietor of this stall.  He is an expert in making gelato and sorbet and supplies this to restaurants around the UK.  This stall however is all about the sort of American food you might have dreamed of after watching Man V Food.  Food like the Philly Cheese Steak.  There was a constant crowd around the stall and a heavy flow of steaks and burgers being served.  Dan has been running this stall since may, and can be found here weekly. You can find more about Dan online here

Kenniford Farm Kitchen

Offering a wide range of Hog Roast, Baps, Bacon rolls and Pork and Apple Burgers, all made from Kenniford Farms own RSPCA Freedom foods approved free range pigs. Winners of multiple awards for their pork varieties and sausages, they are not to be missed.  Being situated in Clyst St Mary you really are eating locally.  Kenniford also have a farm shop, as well as offering fully catered Hog Roasts.  You can find them online here

The Fude Dude

The Fude Dude is a relatively newly set up family run business, having been fully functioning for 8 weeks. They aim to serve honest, good quality food.  They offer a range of sausages including a footlong, as well as the 2 foot challenge!! (I think I will be bringing my Dad here, he does still hold the certificate for the Harry Ransoms eating challenge after all!)  Have a look at their website for pictures of the 2ft challenge!  We couldn't resist coming back a day later for a foot long each!

The West-Country Higgler

A fabulous coffee shop selling local teas, coffees and goodies. Lawrence explained how they promise to use and sell the best they can with no compromise.  They also promote West Country fare everywhere they go and only sell products made by companies based in 'The west Country'.  A fabulous mission, and apparently one that has so far been accomplished. Higgler is an old fashioned word for a merchant and the best description they have found  is 'A traveling purveyor of fanciful items and unnecessary trifles'. The coffees and teas they use are all blended, baked and prepared in Devon. Find them online here


Serving a range of Homemade fresh Egyptian catering including Falafels and other grill products. I am told that people travel from as far as Plymouth just to sample his wonderful Falafels. I didn't get a chance to speak to him because his stall was just so packed with people.  I think that just goes to show how good the food that he is serving is! You can find him online here

Good Game

I covered Good Game in my post about Exeter Farmers Market.  I spoke to the owner, Stephen, and he told me how, unlike at the farmers market, here they get to cook and serve customers their products which allows them to get direct feedback from them.  He offers burgers, a BBQ menu and sausages.  I tried some of their meats again, and tried some cooking chorizo, all to die for! You can find them online here

Posh Pasty Co.

Some of you eagle eyed readers may notice that this is TV Presenter, Chef  and son of Dick Strawbridge, James Strawbridge! The Posh Pasty Company is a small family business run by James and his wife Holly. All pasties are hand crafted in Cornwall on their Eco farm.  As well as serving their pasties on the stall today (in handy boxes so you don't waste any of their delicious meat!) they also supply deli's, pubs, farm shops and cater for private functions and events. Take a look at their website here

Linleys Bistro

Run by Tom and his FiancĂ© Aisha for the last 6 weeks. While Tom is used to racing power boats, Aisha has been running a bistro for the last 3 years.  They are getting married next year and decided that they wanted to embark on something together, and so Linleys Bistro was born.  They only use local suppliers for all of their ingredients, including flocal free range chicken.  Their menu changes according to their suppliers, and they go directly to farms to gather their supplies. This guarantees something different and completely fresh every time. All food is cooked in front of the customers and the smell is an absolutely amazing mixture of tomato, garlic and cream.  I had a pulled beef and spicy tomato wrap.  The beef had been slow cooked and soaked in whiskey.  This adds a new depth of the flavour and has a lovely aftertaste.  It was filling, warm and satisfying and only £5

La Cantina

This was our personal favourite for the day. Tim has been working in restaurants for years, until October when he decided that he wanted to start his own business, and also get back face to face with the people he is cooking for.  He somewhat strategically let us try some of his pulled pork.  I say strategically, because he knew full well as soon as we tried it we would be wanting more!! His pork is cooked and smoked for 14 hours over a wood fire, and coated in his homemade BBQ marinade.  It was phenomenal, and low and behold we were soon buying lashings of it coated on some chunky chips with coleslaw and homemade chipotle sauce. We were both sat in heaven eating it. I think that Nick will be spending the majority of his lunch breaks here during December when the market is open daily!  Find them here

There were also a variety of cake stalls and hand crafted goods, selling hand turned woods, jewelry and other exciting crafts.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and learning all about the chefs and business owners. They were all so passionate about what they do, and all shared a love of great food.  Karen was right, she really does find good people that make good food.  If you get a chance this December, pay them all a visit.  The only difficulty you will have is deciding which of these friendly faces you will buy buying from!! I will being making it my personal mission to try something from every vendor across the month of December, and will be updating this blog as I do!

The The Exeter Street Food & Innovations Market is open daily from 3rd-23rd of December in the Exeter Guildhall.  For more information, visit their website.

 L x

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