The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Foodie cafes

South West cafes elevating the gourmet game
Soulshine, Bridport

At these foodie cafes in the South West, brunch goes leaps and bounds beyond benny eggs and limp flapjacks. Check out five of our favourite indie finds, where restaurant-quality dishes are served in laid-back settings that invite you to linger longer

Soulshine, Bridport

The owners of this cafe-restaurant hybrid – former River Cottage colleagues Andy Tyrrell and Joel Gostling – have a penchant for food that’s locally grown and produced with care, which is evidenced in dishes packed with wholesome ingredients, including organic veg, net-fresh fish and locally reared meat.

Cakes and breads are homebaked and the coffee is roasted in-house under the moniker Goose & Badger. Breakfast highlights include fried eggs, mushroom seaweed furikake and grated Old Winchester cheese, while the dinner line up features small plates such as cauliflower, chilli and spring garlic, green tahini, seeds and smoked quinoa.

If the weather’s kind, head out to the shaded courtyard to dine alfresco, and don’t leave without stocking up on locally baked sourdough, own-roasted coffee and artisan pantry items from the retail shelves. Keep an eye on Soulshine’s socials for regular supper clubs, foodie events and guest chef pop-ups.

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Lilac Bakery

Lilac Bakery, Exeter

Wednesdays to Sundays, this contemporary bakery lures Exeter’s discerning foodies out of bed early to get first pick of dough-based delights like lemon meringue pie cruffins, peach-bejewelled danishes, and pistachio and mascarpone brioche.

At dawn each day, owners Eddie and Jenn Goodwin can be found handcrafting sourdough, sausage rolls, cakes, laminated pastries and other baked treats. Their high-quality, ethically sourced ingredients include 100 per cent South West-grown flour sourced via the South West Grain Network.

Those who miss the morning rush won’t go hungry: expertly prepped coffee (served as either espresso, batch filter, V60 or AeroPress) is available all day and pairs well with lunchtime fodder such as pimped-up toasties, focaccia sarnies and savoury croissants, to eat in or take away.

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Rafikis, Ashburton

This veggie and vegan cafe delivers the world on a dish to diners in Ashburton. Vibrant menus showcase recipes gathered from across the globe and reflect owner Susie Moss’ passion for travel. Colourful plates of food are complemented by the eclectic and feelgood cafe vibe, which further nods to Susie’s far-flung adventures.

Vietnamese street food sits alongside Moroccan and Indian dishes, and everything – from bread to kimchi – is made in‑house using a combination of organic and local produce from small growers. Swing by after sunset to sample a selection of ‘smackerells’ – snacks designed to be shared (or selfishly hoarded for solitary pleasure) – and a stellar drinks list that includes South West stalwarts such as Luscombe softies and Exeter Brewery beers.

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Botanica, Cheltenham

An industrial estate on the outskirts of Cheltenham isn’t the first place you’d expect to find a green oasis of calm, exceptional brunch dishes and cracking caffeine, but this coffee shop and kitchen in Bramery Business Park is no mirage. Locals and day-trippers (it’s only a five-minute walk from Cheltenham Spa station) stream into this houseplant-filled space to chill out with Cotswolds-roasted coffee and chow down on seasonal staples from the creative kitchen team.

All-day brunch plates range from classics (next-level full English with homemade beans and sourdough toast from award-winning Peter Cooks Bread) to innovative specials such as macerated strawberries with coconut yogurt on a thick slice of orange and poppy seed babka loaf french toast. Even if you have no room left, bag a Botanica Bakery pastry for a sweet treat – future you will be thankful.

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Temple, Bude

Temple, Bude

This cafe-restaurant-bar fusion on Gower Terrace is as much a go-to for salty-haired surfers warming up with a post-dip coffee and slab of homemade cake as it is a special find for holidaymakers who’ve booked an evening table to get stuck into a two-course set menu or knockout small plates, cocktails and organic wines.

Daytime is a laid-back affair, with a bounty of seasonal small plates showcasing the best of local Cornish produce in delicious bites such as butternut fritters, parmesan and burnt lemon mayo, and grilled chicken thigh, hazelnut miso and sesame. Upstairs and on the roof terrace, great food and sundowner cocktails can be paired with dune views.

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Enjoyed reading our pick of the best foodie cafes in the South West? Discover more must-visit cafes.

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