The Undergrad Cafe Review: Exeter’s Hippest Restaurant?

Sitting in the heart of Exeter, steps away from the busy Sidwell Street, is Undergrad Cafe. 

This is a bustling cafe that’s loved by students (although welcome to all) and runs as a small local business. 

Filled with plants and enjoying a sizeable menu of trendy dishes like avo on toast and smoothie bowls, plus plenty of veggie and vegan options, it’s a millennial’s dream. 

If you’re looking for a full review, here are all my thoughts!

About Undergrad Cafe

The interior of Undergrad Cafe, with high tables in the foreground. People are working on their laptops.

Run by the South West Coffee Co, the Undergrad Cafe is the third cafe of an Exeter enterprise. 

It’s located on Bampfylde Street, next to an Exeter University building (hence the name) close to Jury’s Inn Hotel, St Sidwell’s Point Spa and the VUE cinema. 

The owners also run the Tasting Room on Topsham Road and the Tiny Tasting Room which is close to Exeter Cathedral and many of the city’s other main attractions.

All three cafes boast the same incredible coffee, with The Tasting Room open some evenings for pizza and tapas and the Tiny Tasting Room being well-loved for its delicious baguettes. 

The Undergrad Cafe is renowned for brunch and its extensive lunch menu! 

While it’s very close to Exeter University, it isn’t linked to the establishment.

However, you’ll definitely notice a studenty vibe when dining here, with lots of people working on their laptops or gorging on decadent breakfasts after a messy one the night before

I loved the atmosphere of The Undergrad – while it was busy, it was extremely chilled.

This was probably largely due to the amount of bright green houseplants in the cafe – these are all real plants and are thanks to The Undergrad’s neighbour, Hutch Houseplants

All of the green houseplants hanging down from the ceiling at Undergrad Cafe in Exeter.

Brunch at Undergrad

Undergrad Cafe serves brunch until 2:30 pm, although unfortunately on the day that I visited, they had stopped doing it early due to there being such a rush – it’s obviously a popular place!

With smoothie bowls, full breakfasts, veggie breakfasts and toast with different toppings, there is something for everyone on the menu when it’s on. 

I was planning to try their avocado and mushrooms on toast but instead opted for something off their lunch menu. 

Lunch at Undergrad

The undergrad bowl for breakfast. It has smashed avocado, fritters, hummus, greens and tahini. There's also a cappucino in the shot.

I chose the “Undergrad Bowl”, a veggie dish with hummus, smashed avo, tahini, fritters and salad greens, with flatbread on the side. 

It was extremely filling, and I actually couldn’t finish it all – which is rare for me!

The fritters were delicious, perfectly crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy inside.

The rest of the food was tasty, but I did think that the hummus and avocado could have slightly more flavour. 

They may have just needed seasoning with salt and pepper – but a squeeze of lime in the avocado and maybe some oil or chilli flavour running through the hummus wouldn’t have gone amiss!

However, the food in general was tasty and reasonably priced.

There were also quite a few other plant-based options on the menu, including a hummus and tomato sandwich. 

Cabinet with all of the sandwhiches in from Undergrad Cafe in Exeter

Coffee at Undergrad

I’d already made myself a coffee before I left the house, but I knew that I had to try the coffee at the Undergrad – it’s what they’re famous for, after all! 

I had a deliciously creamy oat cappuccino and could taste the intense beans running through the hot milk.

The cafe is definitely worth visiting for the coffee alone!

View of the high tables in Undergrad Cafe, with grey stalls and plants hanging down the walls in the background.

The range of options at The Undergrad and the general vibe make it a fantastic cafe to visit while you’re in Exeter.

It’s a local business, so if you forfeit Costa or Starbucks for The Undergrad, you’ll be directly helping the local Devon economy.

Definitely add drinking a coffee here to your Exeter bucket list!

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