Back in my Exeter College days, I spent many a lunchtime and free period sat in Boston Tea Party, nursing a cup of coffee and avoiding my deadlines. It was well known for it’s laid back atmosphere and to this day I find it a little bit too easy to get through a stack of their maple syrup & bacon pancakes…
So, when we were asked to give our thoughts on their new summertime menu, we were happy to oblige!
We popped by the Honiton branch of BTP last week and were surprised to find it throng on with customers. Clearly, the cafe is a popular spot with locals and by the looks of it, they do a roaring trade on cakes, coffees and afternoon teas.
I don’t tend to drink a lot of coffee these days (as most places make them too strong for my taste) but we thought we better give some a try, since we were checking out a cafe after all. During our visit, we ordered a cappuccino and a latte and we both agreed that BTP have managed to achieve a really nice balance. Both of our drinks went down smoothly and they still contained lots of coffee flavour without leaving that horrible bitterness at the end. That’s a real plus for us!
When it came to choosing our lunch, I was really torn between a couple of the new summer additions. I couldn’t chose between the Vietnamese Banh-mi baguette with pulled jackfruit (I mean, how good does that sound!) or The Cuban Sandwich. Eventually, I opted for the latter and I’m glad I did. The toasted sandwich contained slow roast pork loin, ham, Emmental cheese, gherkins and dijon mustard. I love all of these ingredients separately and once put together and served with a flavoursome slaw, it made for a very enjoyable lunch indeed.
Since I didn’t realise just how big my Cuban Sandwich was going to be, I greedily ordered a portion of fries as well. It’s hardly something I’d like to admit, but I’m quite fond of McDonald’s fries and to be honest, these tasted like a healthier version of them – so I was a very happy customer. once again, the portion size was massive and there was more than enough to share between two.
We also gave BTP’s interpretation of a Salmon Nicoise Salad a try. This was served in a large earthenware bowl and was packed with assorted salad leaves (dressed in a subtle anchovy dressing), potatoes, green beans, salty olives, sweet cherry tomatoes and spring onions. This was all topped with a scattering of flaked smoked salmon and a perfectly cooked soft poached egg. We thought that the egg was a great alternative to boiled eggs -as it added yet more creaminess to the dish – and the dish itself would be a nice ‘lighter’ option to choose if you are watching your figure (which we certainly aren’t). If we were to pass any comment at all, it’s that the dish could perhaps have worked better as a warm salad. The potato, salmon, beans and egg would all have lent themselves to a warmer dish and that little twist would have been the cherry (tomato) on top for us.
What really sets BTP Honiton aside from many of its competitors is its brilliant team. You can tell that their staff genuinely care about delivering good service and they work together like a tight family unit. Everyone we spoke to over lunch was super friendly and helpful, and they went the extra mile to make sure we had everything we needed. I’m a firm believer that good service is as important as good food in cafes, so bravo to their team on that front!
The decor at BTP may not be to everyones taste, but I like what they’ve done with the place. It’s quite bohemian and there’s some fairly unusual artwork on display by local artists. I must admit, I used to fault BTP for being a fraction on the untidy side and many of my friends still don’t like the fact that they leave their cakes out on display on the counter with nothing to cover them. However, I’ve noticed that the cafe’s commitment to cleanliness has massively improved over the years and now I really can’t fault them for how quickly they clean up tables and keep on top of everything!
I’m a big fan of the food on the BTP menu. Their new summer options are fun and definitely worth checking out; and likewise they have some great vegetarian and vegan options available year round. If you’re not sold on the two dishes we talked about here, then there are also some pretty solid all-day breakfast & brunch options that you ought to give a try. But don’t just take my word for it, check out their menu online!
53 High St, Honiton EX14 1PW