rust and the wolf ashburton photo

CAFE REVIEW: Rust and the Wolf, Ashburton – by Lauren Heath

The meal provided in this review was gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.

Just tucked away off the main street, is Rust and The Wolf – a lifestyle shop and cafe independently owned by husband and wife team, Matt and Siobhan. Matt was previously a musician and garden designer, whilst Siobhan is a successful interior designer who is assisting in the background and foreground in her ‘spare’ time.

I had met Siobhan during our day jobs as she was decorating a work premises where I was a managing the office; very calm and unflappable, great taste and style of course, and she has to know what people want in their homes or workspaces, without them really knowing themselves. She had told me about their upcoming venture and, after opening just before Christmas, they are proving popular with the locals for their unusual but exciting USP.

We ventured out on quite a drizzly Saturday, to the newborn venue – certainly with an expectation, but also containing my excitement in case it wasn’t quite what their colourful Instagram page had led me to believe.

Ashburton has its deli, fish deli, interiors, antiques shops, and other independents. It is certainly a town that supports its own; it has to otherwise it wouldn’t survive the harsher wintry days or out of season periods. The cookery school has a national reputation, and that helps draw locals and those further field to this quaint town.

Rust and The Wolf’s life started as an online shop; Mat has been selling unique and individual vintage and upcycled household and lifestyle items for the past 3 years – and it has now found new roots in Ashburton, bringing the bright neon lights and reworked decorative pieces to us lucky Devon folk.

Where are the shop items sourced from?

The items are sourced all over the country and the world, We go on regular buying trips to antique fairs and flea markets. Mat tries to get to the States once or twice a year and fills up then. The jewellery is made in town by a local artisan jeweller.

You probably get asked this often, but why Rust and the Wolf?

We are often asked where the name Rust And The Wolf comes from. The shortest answer is that the Rust in the name reflects Mat’s never-ending hunt for old vintage items such as rusty old signs and old iconic industrial pieces that have a history and a story to tell. The Wolf element embodies a wild, free-roaming way of life – harking back to a primeval time of the wild predator in the forest. The two combine to show the strange juxtaposition that we face within the world today where the metropolitan and natural worlds collide.

In St Lawrence Lane, just off the main street, an arched brick doorway eludes to something deep inside, with a hint of neon light letting you know it’s there. It’s an assault on the senses, but of the positive kind; flaking cave-like white walls, bright lights, metal tables, edgy leather sofas and coffee tables.

rust and the wolf interior photo

The shop opens up to the right with all sorts of wonderful paraphernalia, a coffee and cake counter and to the left the bar top overlooking the open kitchen.


To the rear of the building is the cafe; a small but perfectly formed minimalistic area made up of a well chosen mismatch of furniture, bare floors, walls and ceilings but with warmth and comfort from succulents on the table, warm paint tones, cushions and more neon lights. It used to be a car spray shop, and has the nickname of the Spray Shop Cafe.

Serving brunch and lunch Tuesday to Saturday, along with dinner on Friday and Saturdays, the menu has a taste of Southern California (So-Cal) with hints of Mexico – so plenty of lively fresh flavours and both meat and vegetarian options, using very local produce. An excellent array of drinks are on offer plus some fabulous cocktails.

I asked Siobhan about the sourcing of their produce:

We take pride in sourcing all our ingredients from producers within striking range of Ashburton.

Our eggs are of course free-range, our sustainably-sourced fish comes from The Fish Deli across the street and our meat is sourced from local Dartmoor Butchers. Our smoked salmon is from Jacksons in Newton Abbot, where it’s smoked using traditional methods. Even our coffee comes from Buckfastleigh!

Forest Produce and The Husbandry School provide the rest and they know how we like our products – fresh, organic and of the best quality. 

The brunch items we got our teeth into included the smashed avocado and poached egg on multigrain toast and the chilaquiles eggs, tortillas & salsa roja sauce (Scrambled Eggs with Coriander, Chilli, & Crumbled Feta). All the taste sensations and textures for your palate are catered for here!

We opted for some lunch items too including So-Cal-style fish tacos with slaw, salsa & chipotle crema sauce and the Dartmoor-bred beef burger on a brioche bun with chipotle slaw & skinny fries. Crispy fish, in soft tortilla wraps with fresh salsa and a meaty burger to satisfy any burger lover. All washed down with a wonderful ‘wake you up, lip smacking’ margarita and the same goes for the excellent coffee!

All the food was really delicious and a bit different to the usual offering in many cafes we have eaten in, which makes brunch and lunch that bit more exciting.

I imagine for the evenings they serve dinner, it’s a really great vibe for you and a date or a group of friends.

Rust and the Wolf is certainly unique and in a good way. It’s vibrancy is quite uplifting and you feel like you have escaped from it all in their cavern of treasure and treats. So if you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy fresh tasty food and maybe pick up a unique purchase, then head for the bright lights of Rust and the Wolf – let the neon lure you in like Alice down the rabbit hole!

Rust and the Wolf

Workshop to rear of 6 East Street, (Entrance on St. Lawrence Lane – next to Post Office), Ashburton, Devon, TQ13 7AA

Website        Facebook       Instagram

*We were invited to try a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect our opinion*

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