Review: Cafe @ 36, Exeter

Sometimes, especially as the winter is closing in on us, you just have to take time out from you day to sit back, relax and treat yourself. Whether that is taking the time to have a nice breakfast, or grabbing some coffee and a cake on the go, the award winning Café at 36 on Cowick Street, Exeter has everything to cater to your needs.

It is a family friendly independent café in the heart of the local community of St Thomas. I went there to find out more, and discover the wonders they have inside their doors! The first thing that stood out to me when I spoke to one of the owners, John, was his passion for sourcing as much of their food and ingredients as possible from within the West Country, as well as his support for independent local traders. Their Sausages, bacon and ham all come from Burrow Farm @ Courtneys, who I have written about on here before, and also happen to be just a few doors down from the café. Their coffee is obtained from Origin Coffee, based in Cornwall and follow strict ethical standards.

The milk is organic and obtained from Ashclyst dairy farm. The soft drinks are supplied by award-winning Devon producers Frobishers and Luscombes Drinks. You can find my review of Luscombe drinks here. The eggs are free range from Blackacre Eggs and their crusty bread is baked at Shaldon Bakery, the surfing bakers by the sea! Their soup is also Organic and made by Rod and Bens', which is just outside of Exeter. I tried a delicious cup of Café @ 36's speciality hot chocolates that is made from real dark and milk chocolate pieces and a rich cocoa powder, it tastes so good and so naughty!

As well as their range of coffees, steamers, teas and hot chocolates, Café @ 36 have a range of delicious looking cakes, pastries and tarts, most of which are made in house, and those that aren't are sourced from local cake makers. Café @ 36 have won awards for their summer fruits flapjacks, and they look incredible! They have a food menu full of breakfasts, sandwiches, soups Panini and other tasty treats.

The café is decorated with a range of wonderful local artists which means there is a feast for your eyes as well as a feast for your tummy! Currently until the 5th January 2014 they are the hosts to a Pop Up Art Gallery which is displaying original artwork by Devon artists. The gallery has been coordinated by Devon Art Pop - a group of artists that have collaborated to run pop up galleries all around Devon. All items exhibited are for sale and range from beautiful upcycled spoon jewellery and watercolours, to calendars and Christmas cards! For more information, you can search for the hashtag on twitter #popupart.  After this gallery, a different set of artwork will be on display.

This is just one example of the wonderful work the Café @ 36 does to help and support other independent retailers. They are also a part of local the independent business community and help set up Exeter trails. This is a scheme that has been set created to help you "discover the plethora of local, independent shops Get great customer service and unique products". You can choose from Activities & Hobbies, Bygones & Boutiques, Café Culture – which is where you will find Café @ 36, Creativity or Food Glorious Food. This is definitely something that I will be embarking on soon!

The owners of the café, John and Sue, are off to the arctic to take part in the Arctic Challenge 2014 to help raise money for Age UK Exeter.  An amazing challenge that they have taken on to include dog sledding, Nordic skiing, ice-fishing and more terrifyingly, staying out in the freezing cold for 3 days! You can sponsor them online here (they must be mad, but what an amazing thing to do!)

While I was in the café I saw multiple plates of delicious breakfasts and food going past me. Their menu is all very reasonably priced, but most importantly high quality. I will definitely be going back there as they serve one of my all-time favorite breakfasts of American pancakes, bacon and maple syrup, something that I have been desperate to find in Exeter for a long time!

If you want a quiet, friendly place to eat good food with a great atmosphere that welcomes children, and even any well behaved, friendly dogs - then this is the place for you, I definitely recommend you try it out if you get the opportunity!

You can find them on their website, twitter and facebook

L x
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