Johns’ of Instow

Johns’ of Instow has been a delicatessen for ages. Over the last twelve years, since we moved to Devon, we have watched it grow into a thriving business, including expanding to a location in Appledore as well. The shop in Appledore intelligently added a small cafe alongside its deli. This must have been very successful because, as soon as the art gallery next door to Johns’ of Instow closed down, Johns’ took it over. It expanded its site to not only increase the size of the deli, but also to add a cafe.

It was a cold and wet September day when, after running our dog on Instow Beach, I needed to post a letter, so popped into the sub post office attached to the deli. The smell of fresh coffee wafting from the adjoining cafe was enough to convince me that I really needed a pick me up and so I wandered in to have a look.

Gluten free lemon & lime 'zing' cake for morning coffee at Johns' of Instow
Gluten free lemon & lime ‘zing’ cake for morning coffee at Johns’ of Instow
As always I checked firstly whether there was any food (cake was required on this occasion!) that was gluten free. There was a raft of very yummy looking cakes and at least four of the ones on display were labelled as gluten free – a lemon & lime ‘zing’ cake in a covered cake dome, a carrot & ginger loaf cake that was not covered but separate, and two types of brownie that were sat next to and touching the gluten-containing cakes – thus rendering them not gluten free as they were covered in cake crumbs from the other cakes. All of the cakes stated they were home made. Not only that but there was a sign saying dogs are allowed in the cafe – win win. Hubby was waiting outside in the car with the dog, so I went out and got them both and made to sit down.

The cafe has a bar facing the window where you can sit, eat and drink looking at the boats on the estuary. Dogs are only allowed in the back of the cafe, so we were precluded from sitting at the front, but that wasn’t a problem at all.

Gluten free carrot & ginger cake for morning coffee at Johns' of Instow
Gluten free carrot & ginger cake for morning coffee at Johns’ of Instow
I ordered the lemon & lime ‘zing’ cake and a slice of the carrot & ginger cake. I asked the waitress to cut me a slice from the back, which wouldn’t have been touched by the shared tongs and knife. She was very happy to do so, so it’s always worth asking. The ‘normal’ carrot cake looked very appetising so hubby ordered that.
Carrot cake for morning coffee at Johns' of Instow
Carrot cake for morning coffee at Johns’ of Instow

The coffee was great – strong and full bodied – which is always a positive in my book. As to the cakes – hubby said his carrot cake was very nice – very light and flavourful. My lemon and lime zing cake was really lovely. Just the right amount of sharpness v sweetness.

However, the ginger and orange cake was a bit of a disappointment. It was very bland and tasteless, in fact I couldn’t taste the ginger at all in it. The cake had a lovely texture and was very light and moist, so it was a real shame.

All in all a lovely little café and well worth a visit. I will try lunch next time I am there as the quality of the deli food is very high and I assume that lunch would be of an equally high standard.

Opening hours: Every day from 8:00am and 7:30pm.
Gluten free friendly: Lots of gluten free options – except an allergen list wasn’t to hand (which since 2013 is mandatory).
Child friendly: Children and babies are very welcome.
Disabled access: The doors to the cafe and toilets were wide enough for wheelchairs and the toilets were suitable for disabled people.
Dog friendly: Dogs are welcome.

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