About

The Team & The Café

Dining with a Difference

The River Exe Café is a seasonal, family, and dog-friendly restaurant open from 1st April until the 30th September each year.

It is a custom-built barge that floats well offshore in the Exe Estuary. The restaurant offers a wide range of locally sourced food and drink and is surrounded by amazing views.

The River Exe Café can be accessed by boat: Either a Puffin Water Taxi from Exmouth Marina, or on your own boat. You can book a reservation here.

The restaurant is fully covered with outside dining areas when the weather is nice, outside tables are offered on a first come first served basis.

As we are floating the middle of the Exe Estuary it can be windy so please come dressed for the changeable weather. We have heating inside, heaters and blankets for chilly days. We also have cocktails, sun hats and ice for the hot ones…

New for 2022....Push the boat out! Try a truly unique dining experience on our new upper deck. Tables are available to guests with restaurant reservations on a first come first served basis, this area is over 14s only. Visit our booking page for more information

We welcome everyone to the café. If you have difficulty with your mobility, we will endeavour to accommodate you - just call our friendly staff to discuss your needs. We have highchairs for babies and Dogs are welcome too!

Have more questions? Please visit our FAQ pages.

Our Team

Meet the Family

Paul

Since its inception by Paul in 2011, The River Exe Cafe has flourished to what it is today. There isn't anything this man cannot build or repair!

With boating a part of the Craven's blood, Paul's parents, Jeff & Sally, often bask in the tranquility of the 'Own Boaters' pontoon with their sailboat moored alongside, enjoying a glass of wine and a pint of bitter. Meanwhile Paul's 11-year-old daughter, Ella, is his right hand on and off the Cafe during weekends and school holidays.

Paul has a lifelong companionship with the River Exe. He knows the water like the back of his hand and for a number of years resided here on his houseboat. We couldn't ask for a better boss and we are always excited to see what crazy ideas he has in mind for the next season!

His tipple of choice is a large Mount Gay Rum with Ginger ale and lots of fresh lime!

Jack

Recognise this familiar face? Introducing our Head Chef Jack....

An Exmouth local, he completed 3 years at Exeter college, graduating from the Michael Caines Academy and winning South West Chef of the Year. Jack worked at The Salutation, Pascoe House & The Galley before coming on board the River Exe Cafe in 2018. He has experienced life in some of the best kitchens in the country, including a stage with Tom Kerridge.

His passion for cooking comes from all of the local produce in the area and strives to make each plate unique and show off the quality ingredients we have right here on our doorstep.

When Jack is not at the Cafe he can be found playing rugby for his local club in Exmouth, or wakeboarding out on the water.

Kate

Kate, our Restaurant Manager, has been with us since 2017.

I'm sure you all will know & recognise Kate with her wild hair and intricately patterned arms! Her love of travel is what brought her on board, joining us after spending 3 years living in Asia and Australia, she wanted to come back to her home town of Exmouth but not have the restraints of a year long hospitality job.

With a true passion for hospitality and seafood, the cafe is the best place to spend her summer. During her 3 months of downtime during the winter months, she is always off on new adventures exploring the world with a Negroni in one hand and an Oyster in the other.

"There is something truly magical about The River Exe Cafe. Like the ever changing water, no day is ever the same, which is what makes me come back year after year!"

Jozef

Jozef, our Bar Manager, is the man behind those fabulous drinks we all enjoy all summer long!

Jozef is our longest serving team member, joining the Cafe on our second season back in 2012! Jozef moved to England from Slovakia in 2005 and has spent all of his time in England gracing the town with his charm and wit in various hotels and hospitality establishments.

When Jozef's not on the cafe he can be found exploring the world, with 6 of the 7 wonders of the world already under his belt. His tipple of choice is a large glass of Moet (but make sure you leave him the bottle!)

Laura

When Laura first joined the team in 2014, she was our Superstar Front of House Supervisor, while also working UK Festivals at various food stalls. After having a short break 2018-2020 as a Catering Manager at the National Trust site 'A La Ronde', she rejoined the REC crew but this time behind the scenes as the brains behind the bookings in 2020.

Originally from Plymouth, Laura studied Environmental Science at Plymouth University and went on to work on Super Yachts, travelling the world in style.

Currently on maternity leave, Laura and her partner Zac have recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world and we are all so very proud to have Arti as our youngest member of the team! If you pop by the shop throughout the season you may be lucky enough to meet him.

Jon

Meet Jon, Captain of the Puffin Fleet since 2016. You may not see him on your journey to the River Exe Cafe because, like Paul, he works mainly behind the scenes making sure the Cafe runs smoothly. However if you're lucky, he does occasionally make an appearance as a Skipper!

Although he was born in Singapore, Jon grew up in Exmouth. Along with his wife Nikki and children George and Emily, Jon spent 7 years living and working in Spain as a Marine Engineer before he joined the team.

When he isn't at the Cafe, you can often spot Jon walking with his Jack Russell; Stanley. In the summer months you'll find him cooking up a Paella in his back garden with a large glass of Spanish Rioja in hand.

Molly

Molly, joined the team in 2023, you may recognise her from the office and is our events coordinator.

Originally from the Lake District she moved down to Devon after meeting her partner Toby whilst working together on Super Yachts. Molly has been in hospitality for over 10 years working as a chef all over the world. Her favourite place whilst working on the sea was Alaska and sailing through the northern passage encountering Kodiak bears and orca whales.

When not in the office Molly can be found out walking her puppy Landy, who I am sure you will meet in the office over the season or enjoying the sun whilst boating around the Devon Coast.

Turning the Dream into Reality

The River Exe Café is a floating barge just off the water-ski lane on the River Exe. It was created back in 2011 using two flatbed barges and a shed! The base of the café is two mud hoppers from Stoke on Trent, which were transported by road down to Exmouth; sandblasted, painted and steel worked together to create a 1.7 km decking area on which to build the cafe.

We have no mains water or electricity, so we use holding tanks and a generator; everything we need for the cafe has to be transported to and from the mainland by boat. We are very proud of our achievements and hope you enjoy every minute of your stay with us. Our aim was to create a venue that maximises the incredible river views that the Exe Estuary has to offer; a place for guests to sit back and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying a modern British menu using some of Devon’s finest produce.

We are 100% committed to customer satisfaction and we want you to relax and enjoy every moment of your unique experience with us.

The bare barges after delivery beached in Exmouth gut

Barges arrive from Stoke-on-Trent in 2011

Painted and sand-blasted barges

The barges are sand-blasted and painted

Timber decking being built atop the two joined barges

Work on the deck begins…

Continued work on the deck for the café

and goes on…

Continued work on the deck for the café

and on…

The café in progress with the main seating area under construction and the deck half finished

Nearing completion with the addition of a covered space

The café moored in the estuary in its final place with work continuing

The River Exe Café in place on the estuary

The nearly completed café afloat in the River Exe

And nearly complete, afloat in the River Exe

The Café - full to the brim for opening night

Open for business - July 2011

Drone shot of the restaurant at sunset 2023
Crows Nest 2023