Written by Georgia Byam
Plant-based diets are flourishing. They’re the latest trend for healthy living and a small way to contribute to saving the planet. A huge variety of green options can be found in supermarkets, cafes and restaurants all over the world. But for plant-based goodness closer to home, look no further than Exeter’s independent eateries. This historic city in the heart of Devon features some of the country’s most unconventional vegan menus.
The Plant Cafe
1 Cathedral Yard, Exeter EX1 1HJ
Situated in Exeter’s Cathedral Yard, this quaint and quirky cafe offers a menu that’s light, affordable and full of flavour.
The Plant Cafe is heaven for both vegetarians and vegans, offering fresh and fulfilling dishes made with locally sourced produce. Expect handmade pastries, tasty salads, freshly brewed coffee and sumptuous cakes.
The Plant Cafe embraces a zero-waste policy and opts for recyclable packaging as well as an eco-friendly approach to their food.
The Old Firehouse
50 New North Rd, Exeter, EX4 4EP
The Old Firehouse is one of Exeter’s liveliest hotspots, widely known for its quality ales, ciders and most significantly, its legendary pizza. Situated over three floors, this rustic dark-wood pub offers guests plenty of seating inside and boasts a cosy little courtyard for warmer months.
These guys bake homemade pizzas that are unlike anywhere else and their vegan menu has a mouth-watering selection of toppings. These are no ordinary margaritas. The Old Firehouse offers everything from traditional BBQ, fired-up spice and cheesy garlic bread. The pizzas are only served in the evenings, and during the day there are some diverse dishes at hand.
The Old Firehouse also entertains every evening; a popular quiz every Monday night, live bands and open mic nights.
15 North St, Exeter, EX4 3QS
Herbies is a well-established, family-run restaurant that has been creating vegetarian and vegan food for the past thirty years. It was one of Exeter’s first meat-free places to dine, stealing the hearts of vegans, vegetarians and even hardened carnivores.
The extensive menu is ideal for casual lunches, intimate dinners, and group celebrations. Herbies offer a true variety of dishes with vegan alternatives prepared for most. The wide selection features burgers, sharing platters, salads, risottos, curries, wraps and more.
22 Queen St, Exeter, EX4 3HP
For vegans who are craving junk food, Exeter’s American-style restaurant, Absurd Bird, is the ideal spot to satisfy the urge. Although it is not 100% vegan – the clue is in the name – their vegan options are more than enough to warrant multiple visits.
The vegan menu consists of delectable dishes such as fried buffalo ‘chicken’ burgers, ‘chicken’ tenders, macaroni ‘cheese’, and waffles. All served inside an innovative interior which mimics a southern-American farmhouse, where if desired, dining at the table on swinging benches is possible to maximise the unique experience.
McCoys Arcade, Fore St, Exeter, EX4 3AN
Tucked away in McCoys Arcade, it’s safe to say that Sacred Grounds is one of the coolest hidden gems Exeter has to offer. This little cafe is ethically conscious – running solely on green energy – and offers a menu of unique and creative dishes. Alongside tasty plant-based brunches, you can tuck into sweet and savoury waffles, smørbrøds and marinated tofu sandwiches.
The cafe is filled with calming houseplants and decked out in a sleek Scandi style. As well as serving quality plant-based food, these guys run events promoting everything from live DJs to local folk acts and renowned vegan chefs. Sacred Grounds is unquestionably a space for those who fancy dining somewhere that has independence and great character.