Best In-Store Cafe: Waitrose Ltd., Gladstone Road, Exeter

I am sad to declare that Marks and Spencer‘s have lost their ‘best in-store cafe in Exeter‘ title that I gave them years ago.  It has been well and truly beaten by Waitrose in Gladstone Road.  Apologies for the bad photos, camera fail.

Everytime I go food shopping, I spend most of my time moaning.  First off about the prices about things that were at one point, really cheap.  Secondly I normally moan about the fact I need a cup of tea and that the fact we are food shopping is in some way, nullifying my human rights.  I generally like food shopping compared to clothes shopping for my long-suffering wife or clothes shopping for myself.

In-store cafe’s are there to make the shopping process much easier.  They are there to serve two purposes.  Firstly, to give you something to look forward to after the ordeal of lugging your items around the shop, and secondly they exist to promote the foodstuffs that can be bought in the shop.  Many stores achieve this with a greater or lesser degree of success.  Notable bad experiences was going in to the Sainsbury’s In-Store Cafe in Pinhoe Road and waiting half an hour for my English Breakfast only to be told we had been forgotten about.  This normally would not have been an issue but it was the morning of my wedding, so I was already pretty nervous.

In previous ramblings on this website or another, I have written about Marks and Spencer’s cafe in the High St.  Which is generally very nice with good views over the street below.  In my mind, it has been the nicest In-Store cafe as the coffee is nice and generally the experience has always been a good one.  But, the crown has been taken away, only to be replaced by that of Waitrose’s In-Store cafe in Gladstone Road.

Less busy than John Lewis‘s cafe, the whole experience is something I am yet to experience in Exeter, apart from visiting one of the lovely indie cafes (Cafe@36, Devon Coffee), it’d be hard to get this good from an In-Store cafe.

The subtle interior decorating is a little like getting your coffee from an interior design department, the prices are very reasonable for what/where it is and the cakes & general ‘cafe fare’ has been delicious each time we’ve had something.  Yesterday we were partial to share a piece of ‘Dark and Light’ Baked Cheesecake for £2.75 which was mindblowingly lovely.  The service is always friendly, professional and quick, and the teapots (as pictured are awesome).
Now here is the best part.  Become a Waitrose member, which is free, and you can receive a free cup of tea or coffee a day.  And spend over a fiver in the shop generally and you get a free paper too.

The view isn’t as nice as Marks & Spencer’s, but you get to sit outside and watch people drive in to each other in the car park.  Sometimes the comfy chairs are free, but only sometimes.

You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer place to recover from the ordeal or shopping.  But Eating Exeter is always up for suggestions.  Leave a comment below and we’ll investigate your favourite ‘In-Store’ cafe’s to see if they match up!

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