It was a bit of a dull day. We’d just been around the prison
and wouldn’t be able to visit the castle until it opened for the afternoon. Jenny’s Kitchen looked inviting.
“It’s all gluten-free, though,” said my husband, pulling a
I shrugged. “I don’t think it matters,” I replied. I remembered
that one of my favourite snacks is the little gluten-free Bakewell tart that
The café was clean and comfortable inside. There didn’t seem
to be all that many tables and all the ones we could see were occupied.This wasn’t a problem, though. There were more
tables round the back. We found one that looked directly over the kitchen. We
watched as one young woman – Jenny, perhaps? – busied herself making sandwiches
and soup, loading the dishwasher and serving customers in the shop. She never
stopped but she never got into a flap.
A few women on the next table were holding a meeting. Rent-a-table
obviously works well here. There was a shelf of enticing books in one
corner.Book crossing was definitely
encouraged. The walls were covered with artists’ work.Most of the pictures were for sale and the rest
had a “Sold” sticker on them. This sort
of gallery space works well; the café owner gets free decoration and the artists
get to display their work.
I had a really delicious home-made soup and Martin had a gigantic
sandwich. The texture of the bread was a little odd – perhaps more like a scone
but it was very tasty.
On the way out we spotted some attractive slices of Bakewell
tart. Would that do for dessert with our evening meal? You bet. They didn’t disappoint. Amazing that an item that contains both pastry
and cake mixture can be so successful gluten-free.
Standing in the heart of the
town of Okehampton in Devon, Toast Coffee House is surrounded by stone walled
buildings, lying opposite the present cinema, Dartmoor Life Museum and near to
the supermarkets and car parks. The door opens to reveal an impressive, spacious
interior making use of the space well in this old Edwardian cinema. Décor is
modern and fresh and the shop, seating area and counter are all open plan and
There are further rooms and a
seating area to the rear up a few steps. The toilets are downstairs and the café
invites the artisan’s eye to study their surroundings.
I spoke to Laura just as a busy
stream of customers arrived. In between serving she explained that the regular
performances hosted in Toast are for an adult audience and consist of Comedy
nights, Jazz nights and a Spanish Guitar musician. There is a magic show for the
grown ups and all events are ticketed and advertised in advance and include a
platter of food. In 2018 a local choir ‘Moor Harmony’ provided carol singing on
a festive day.
Now we’re on the subject of
eating, the menu revealed a variety of options including gluten free, vegan and
children’s choices. Light lunches, soup, pizza and huge, fresh cakes accompany
the range of teas, coffees and soft drinks. Free Wi-Fi is available and as you
relax into comfortable seating music plays in the
In the gift shop area near the
entrance door there is a range of gifts including cards, jewellery and candles.
Wall space is welcoming and a doorway at the rear invites you to the Toast
Wellness Centre where yoga is available on Saturday mornings, including people
who just walk-in.
A loyalty card allows you to
collect your hot drinks rewarding you with a free, regular drink on your tenth
stamp. Take away and bookings are available or you can sit and relax with a
After enjoying my chat, coffee
and cake I came away from Toast feeling refreshed and hope that the owner, Jo
Seale, continues to provide such an efficient, friendly service and warm
environment for many years ahead.