Darkhorse Espresso, 135 Magdalen Road, Exeter

This isn’t a rated review as I was passing this funky little cafe and thought I would pop in and say hi.


Over the last ten years or so, St Leonards has become a desirable affluent part of Exeter that attracts money and prestige.  Where the borders of St Leonards end and the beginning of other bits of Exeter lie is a bit of a mystery to me.  It is the place of private schools, posh shops and Georgian terrace houses and green well-tended gardens.  Cars are bigger this end of town, shops are tidier and don’t have 99p in the title, Tim Martin Lord of Wetherspoons lives down this way.  Even the dog poo is rose scented.

It doesn’t get much of a look in on Eating Exeter, mostly because of the geographical alienation that exists in my life.  It is a well known fact that I live in a bubble and the border to that bubble is just beyond ASK on Cathedral Green.  So I was excited when I was able to escape albeit briefly.
And I was thrilled to be walking past this funky modern little cafe today on my way to the hospital.  Creatively called Darkhorse Espresso, a newly opened cafe next door to St Margaret’s School sites at the top-end of Magdalen Road.

Exeter is fast filling up with cafe’s, places that sell tea and coffee are not exactly a novelty in Exeter.  Which means that if you want to open a cafe and survive, you have to have something novel and engaging.  So what is Darkhorse’s speciality? What makes them different?

They are an independent cafe! They serve Ozone coffee, the interior has to be one of the nicest I have been in for a long time.  The owners, Sarah and Neil, were a delight to chat to.  Sarah has a background in graphic design (hence the lovely designed interior) and their enthusiasm for coffee came across through just our brief chat.  The use of black, red and white made me all happy and gooey inside given this is my favourite combination of colours for anything really.

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The Toronto and San Francisco coffee scenes are famed worldwide, and it is easy to see where their inspiration lies.  The unique metallic ceiling, imported from North America, is a unique design feature which is a rare sight on our shores or in our coffee shops.  I really hope they think about hosting music events here, or even poetry nights (hint hint…).  It has something very City Lights about the atmosphere, and I hope it will evolve into something special.

The coffee was, did I say?, lovely…

They do light cafe eats, gorgeous looking/sounding cakes, some to-die-for muffins that I was  able to sample (loved an unusual savory muffin with bacon in?) and the usual sorts of coffee styles, but always fresh Ozone coffee.  There is also a range of nice things to buy, such as posh tea and posh coffee.  I will be returning to sample their lemon drizzle cake as it sounds divine!


Darkhorse Espresso
135 Magdalen Road


T. 07825 397663


Twitter: @darkhorse135

One thought on “Darkhorse Espresso, 135 Magdalen Road, Exeter

  1. I loved this place too, be well worth suggesting a coffee delivery service, there’s a lot of solicitors and designers in Exeter who I think would love this place and hey, where there’s offices there’s coffee snops!

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