Breakfast

The hunt for Exeter’s best veggie breakie (part deux) by Stephanie Darkes


84 Queen St, Exeter, EX4 3RP – 01392 201 181

Last week it was my birthday and post-party night I was desperate for a top drawer veggie breakfast. So I turned to the oracle that is Twitter for some suggestions and plenty came back including: The Cosy Club, Tea on the Green and Bills, all of which have been added to my ‘Breakfast List’ – which is a bit like a ‘Bucket List’ but is made up purely of vegetarian breakfast eateries!

After some post-Prosecco faffing and website hopping we opted for Boston Tea Party, an eatery that was also recommended to me in my early days of moving to Exeter but I had never made it to.

BTP seem to be part of the new wave of indie eatery chains that recognise the need to act local and think Global. On their site, they describe themselves as a Funky cafe chain serving up breakfast, burgers, salads and baked goods with sustainable ingredients, they also say that they recognise bigger isn’t better and that they design each cafe to be a one off cherished local – a return to the tradition of the UK cafe as a social hub, and what a great ethos that is!

Downstairs is a bit like Pret takeaway, with places to eat, a quick grab fridge and busy tills to buy coffee and order. But that is where the Pret similarities end, BTP doesn’t feel generic and plasticised, it’s organic, wooden and wholesome.

That morning BTP was bustling, seemingly a favourite haunt for students, it was graduation weekend and all the students in town seem to be here with their parents. We hustled in, chose our food and ordered very quickly at the bar. Sweetcorn hash for me, with a soya milk cappuccino and a green vegetable juice smoothie. Espresso and stacked pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for the hubby. I headed upstairs to get a table and they were almost all taken!

Upstairs, the room was vast and very blue with mis-matched wooden furniture ranging from – what looked like – wallpaper pasting tables to little wooden chairs from church. There were some comfy padded chairs all of which are very brown.

I like the ‘reclaimed’ look and I love seeing venues that promote recycling and reuse, I also like an eatery with soul and BTP’s values – never compromising on quality, honouring collective social responsibilities and dreaming of a better world – sing to me in a big way.

I sat down and people watched and felt very at home.

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Cutlery, water and condiments are all self served and hubby returned with our table number and bits and bobs and sat down to read one of the cafe’s papers. On one of the walls there is a massive notice board where people are allowed to pin posters for events around Exeter, this was full to the brim. As someone who has previously run a local music venue, this is that kind of thing that really appeals to me, I’m very into giving local artist, groups and events exposure – keeping it local, supporting the community. The drinks came quite promptly and I drank my green veg smoothie in one go, it was a delicious combination of spinach, cucumber, banana, chia seeds, apple juice and lime, simple and refreshing. The soya cappuccino was also yummy and gave me the caffeine kick I needed. About 10 minutes later the food arrived, I was starving and not really sure what to expect, but the presentation was brilliant and world away from a bog standard, heavily greased cafe breakfast (not that the occasional greasy spoon fry-up is a bad thing mind).

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On my plate I had small balls of fried sweetcorn hash, slices of nicely grilled Halloumi, and two perfectly poached eggs placed lovingly on a mound of avocado smash with tomato salsa, drizzled in what I think was maple syrup and sprinkled with coriander and fresh mild red chill (not too much of the latter), it looked and smelt delicious.

I have to admit I was a bit concerned at the idea of Halloumi for breakfast and how it would taste with eggs but tucking in I revelled in the various flavours and textures, it was delicious, the softness of the eggs, the crunch of the hash and the chew of the halloumi combined with the sweetness of the syrup and the kick from the chillis was a taste sensation. I ate it as slowly as possible so that I could make it last for as long as possible and when I’d finished I wanted to eat it all over again!

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At this stage I’d like to point out that I am not exaggerating or being paid to write this, this was a seriously divine vegetarian breakfast! Hubby’s stacked pancakes and bacon also went down well but – on this breakfasting occasion – I had no bacon hankering and actually, I think he wanted to eat my food instead of his. It was that good. My breakfast verdict: This one will be hard to beat, it’s a great, imaginative, tasty and healthy vegetarian breakfast that a lot of thought has been put into (not a Quorn sausage in sight).

Boston Tea Party is a lovely eatery, with great staff and a great atmosphere, I was very, very impressed!

You can find Exeter’s very own BTP here and check out their website here.

Boston Tea Party also have restaurants in Barnstable, Bath, Birmingham, Briston, Cheltenham, Harbone, Honiton, Plymouth, Ringwood, Salisbury, Stratford-Upon- Avon and Worcester.

You can also read about my first veggie breakie in Exeter at Base & Barley here

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