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I’m a huge fan of Johns of Instow – their whole approach to gluten free food is amazing and Sue and Anthony are always willing and excited about creating new free from products and sourcing produce which is safe for coeliacs.

I always stop off at their stall at Barnstaple Real Food Market and have visited their deli a few times, but when they reopened recently after expanding their Instow shop and opening a brand new cafe, I was excited to go back.

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It’s an idyllic place for a cafe, where you can sit on a stool in the window looking straight out at the water, or take away some treats and have a picnic on the beach just a few metres away. Instow is one of my favourite places in North Devon where I go to really get away from it all.

And the cafe looks so beautiful! It’s light and open, with a really classy look and a touch of shabby chic. The wooden tables are gorgeous and I love the pastel colour-scheme which goes with the whole Johns brand.

The shop itself has had a slightly new layout and expansion, but the cafe is the real showpiece. As you walk in from the shop your greeted by the deli counter, bursting with all sorts of treats. There’s a small bakery and a counter serving fresh salads – with all but one of the choices gluten free.

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Around the corner is the naughtier and more tempting section – with thick wooden chopping boards laden with an array of delicious gluten free cakes. Many of the cakes are also dairy free and vegan, which is a nice touch and something Johns are keen to continue working on.

The selection of cakes when I visited included orange polenta loaf, banana cake, the legendary Johns chocolate brownies and carrot and ginger loaf. Sue tells me they are working on a vegan cake mix, and have perfected some delicious coconut frosting – I can’t wait to try it!

But the real highlight of this entire visit for me was possibly the most amazing gluten free scotch egg I have ever tasted.

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Now I love scotch eggs. Ever since Marks and Spencer brought theirs out I have been a little bit obsessed, but these were something else. They were incredible! Seriously, if you’re gluten free or not, you have to eat one, you just have to!

The cafe looks fantastic and I was proud to be able to write an email in support of Johns when they were applying for EU funding for the build. It’s such an asset to the village and I think it will become a great place for holiday-makers and locals to visit – it was already getting busy when I went.

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Their menu is clearly marked with gluten and dairy free options. Gluten free includes breakfasts, deli platters, sandwiches and high tea for two.

I can’t wait to see what new and exciting ideas Sue and Anthony come up with next – but I am sure you will be hearing much more of them on my blog! If you’re in North Devon, make sure you pay them a visit!

Find Johns of Instow in Marine Parade, Instow, North Devon, or visit their website to view their menu.




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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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  1. Thank you, Sarah for interesting information. It looks and sounds very attractive. I have IBS and eating out is a real problem for me as I always have to keep intestinal adsorbent in sachets – just in case. When I’ll visit North Devon I will go there for sure!