I was hanging about Exeter waiting for Kate to finish an appointment when lunchtime rolled around. I wanted to try someplace new to me, someplace Kate wouldn’t necessarily enjoy. Which usually means something extra spicy or fast food loaded with toppings. I went to Hubbox.
Hubbox is another chain across the glorious South West. This one serving burgers in dining rooms decorated in a vaguely post-industrial hipster style with a bit of Caribbean flair. There is a good selection of vegan options. I went for the Fakin’ Bacon. It’s a black bean burger with vegan cheese. Where does the bacon come into it? Well it’s topped with bacon jam which is kinda sweet and a tiny bit smoky but also one of the least bacon-y things I’ve had since going vegan. It was a good burger, don’t get me wrong, but order it based on the lovely black bean patty, not the promise of bacon.
I couldn’t resist adding in a portion of dirty fries. I went for the jackfruit fries, given a kick with a topping of red chilli. They were everything fries should be. Vegan burger lovers should check this place out.
Stable Pizza are slowly taking over the universe, or at least England. If you haven’t got a location in your town yet you probably will soon. They currently have 16 locations, most here in the South West. They focus on pizza, pies and cider, switching up ingredients in each location to keep it as local as possible. And they have a Vegan Menu which is why I’m talking about them today.
We used to eat at the Plymouth and Exeter Branches as dirty, rotten cheese eaters and we’ve always been impressed by the spectacular sourdough crust and the creative combination of toppings. Going back as vegans made us a little nervous but we’re always willing to try new pizza. You know, for the sake of the blog. So we tried the Exeter Branch.
When we arrived we were hungry, very hungry, and laden with bags. The Exeter Branch is in a fab location at the Guild Hall. It’s on the first floor so you can people watch the shoppers below while relaxing with the soft glow of the lights and the stylish chunky wood furniture. The staff were amazing. Though it was hard to figure out who our waiter was as a few had matching beards. When we asked about the vegan menu our waiter was quick to tell us about our drink options too. Not helpful for us, as we’re teetotal, but it’s great they’re on the ball. When it turned out our food was going to be late out they kept us updated the whole time. Things go wrong but when you know the staff are handling it, well that’s just good customer service.
On to the food then. We started with the vegan garlic bread. You can add cheese but we went without because between oily, garlicky goodness and that base you just can’t go wrong. It was amazing. Then the pizzas arrived. And we saw that it was good. I went for the Bute Island Blazer. Peppers, onion, chilli, mushrooms, and finished with Sheese. Sheese isn’t my favourite cheese but I’ve started to appreciate it on a pizza. All put together it was fantastic. The cheese complimented the other toppings nicely and you can never go wrong with a bit of chilli. Except if you are Kate so she had the One Potato, Two Potato instead. Kate gave it two thumbs up. So did I, because I stole a bite.
Then we were asked if we want dessert.
‘Do you have anything vegan?’ Kate asked.
‘We have a Vegan brownie.’
‘Yes please!’ replied Care and Kate simultaneously.
‘One?’ asked the waiter who had obviously never met them before.
‘Two!’ Clare and Kate replied simultaneously again, this time more forcefully.
After gleefully stuffing ourselves full of brownie, Kate got up to pay. They didn’t let her. Because of the wait we had for our garlic bread, they let us have the meal for free. Our wait was around 45 minutes, not unheard of on a busy Saturday, and the staff kept us informed so we weren’t complaining or threatening bad Trip Advisor reviews or anything. We would have been perfectly happy to pay but it was a lovely gesture and we’re not going to argue. We’ll just have to go back and pay for our pizza another time.
Like all good Simpsons episodes the story of our trip to Rabbit starts with a barely related plot point: our blender had broken and Kate’s Wednesday meeting was rescheduled. So off we went to Exeter to buy a Vitamix and why not pop into the city’s only vegan cafe for a meal.
The floor plan of Rabbit is two thirds welcoming cafe and one third sunken garden. The walls are home to gorgeous murals and almost every spare space has its own bunny. I was glad to see a children’s menu as most places I’ve been to recently don’t have one. The grown-ups menu contained a mix of fast food, filling wholesome food and cafe classics. The cake is also a big draw. We saw lots of people come in to take away a box or two.
I ordered from the specials board. I couldn’t resist the Double Cheeseburger, served in a big mac style bun. With Soya Patties, cheese, pickles and sriracha mayo it contained everything I love. It was served with crisps and if I was being picky I might say I would have preferred chips or wedges, but I could barely fit the burger into my mouth so why be picky about the sides. It was a very good burger.
What really stole the show though was Kate’s order. She went for the Seitan Ravioli. I’m not sure if I appreciated how much she enjoyed it at first but she’s been raving about it for three days now. Every now and then the flat will go quiet and out of nowhere Kate will say ‘that ravioli was amazing’. She’s not wrong. She graciously allowed me to sample some and… wow. The pasta was perfectly cooked, the filling was gorgeous and the tomato sauce was a dream. I loved my burger, don’t get me wrong, but I’m having some remorse over not ordering that pasta.