Established two years ago, The Glorious Art House continues to impress as a quirky and vibrant cafe, tucked away at the bottom of Fore Street. Adding a bold splash of colour to the road with its carnivalesque outside design, it immediately draws passersby in with its originality.
As you walk through the doors, the amount of artistic detail and effort put into the decor is instantly apparent. The Art House’s director, Derry Tydeman, has explained how he fundamentally disagrees with the old business statement that ‘to make something work you [need] to buy cheap and sell high’, and this is reflected in the way the interior decoration, the extravagant cups, and everything down to the intricately engraved teaspoons, have successfully drawn so many people to the location. Its popularity does, however, mean that it is a good idea to book a table in advance, as we found out when we arrived at lunchtime on a Saturday. Fortunately though, this was not a problem. We were swiftly told by friendly staff that there would be a ten minute wait for a table, but in the meantime they would recommend venturing upstairs to have a gander around the gallery. What we were greeted with however was much more than the art exhibition.
On the way up the staircase there is a multitude of different curiosities, varying from pom-poms and fairy lights to a mini-exhibition in which children had decorated post-cards in front of a glowing globe, apologising for leaving the EU. The art exhibition itself was also unique and intriguing to browse through in a strange, attic-like room looking down on the street below. When we had finished looking through the artworks, we made our way back downstairs, where a free table was visible. It was outside which was perfect for the sunny day, but even on a rainy day it would have been cosy with the charmingly garish colour scheme complemented by plants and flowers in embellished vases surrounding the seating area.
The circus-like exterior is well-known in Exeter and draws people in, but the Art House’s glorious hot chocolates and reasonably priced menu is what makes them return. The extremely Instagram-able hot chocolate was only £3.25!
The hot chocolate was so large that it was almost a meal in itself, but some food was needed to refresh. We chose two light bagels; one the salmon, cream cheese and cucumber,the other chorizo,smoked cheddar and houmous. At £5.95 each, these were also good value for money and freshly baked with a salad on the side, they were delicious.
As the cafe celebrates its 2 year anniversary it is better than ever before, and customers continue to be charmed by its service with a smile, top of the range menu and distinctively bold appearance.
Even the toilets are glorious.