A definitive ranking of Exeter’s campus meal deals

Hold on to your keep cup


At the start of each term, we all tell ourselves we'll make food at home. Some last months, some weeks, but most of us resort to Marketplace within hours of arriving.

It starts as a fling: "one won't hurt", and then we wake up one morning deep in the overdraft but already craving a hoisin duck wrap (no mayo).

Rather than wallowing in this bleak reality, lets take a look at the heroes and the zeroes of the campus meal deal world.

Pret

In the immortal words of James Acaster: my favourite place to manger.

Haters will say its not a meal deal. And they would be absolutely right. But I'm hungover and this seemed a good justification for blowing £9 on what is essentially a glorified school trip lunch.

Image may contain: Text, Plant, Meal, Lunch, Food

The food itself is right up there. I would happily say in court that a Pret superclub sandwich is among the best assembled anywhere in the world, and the coffee has got thousands through deadlines.

However, you can't look past the unfriendly-to-student price, so I apologise to the Exetah students already ousted on our Instagram, Pret props up the others in a dignified last place.

2/5

Marketplace

Could you be more basic?

This is an absolute work horse of a meal deal (for legal reasons I must state this is a metaphor); plodding along the middle of the road, extraordinary only in its sheer, incredible ordinariness.

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The sandwich range is vast, but they're all somehow sad, and the bacon in my BLT had a sellotape-y quality to it. As for the drink and the snack, all the big names are on offer, and you'll notice I've gone for the classic student combination of serious caffeine and basic crisps.

It'll get you through a seminar, but is it worth queuing for?

2.5/5

Pieminister

Surprisingly exciting.

Here my abstract interpretation of the meal deal shifts once more. We now leave the sandwich for something more wholesome, a symbol of a time when food was an event.

Image may contain: Confectionery, Food, Sweets, Plant

I have opted for the humble Moo pie with gravy and sweet potato fries, and I was thoroughly impressed. Not only does the pie have the massive advantage of being hot in a stormy Devon winter, it's also good value and lovingly prepared by the ever-friendly pie people.

Not to be eaten every day, but perfect once a fortnight in the midst of our many storms.

3.5/5

The Guild Shop

A hidden Gem.

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I am reluctant to reveal this hero of a meal deal, but needs must. This is what Marketplace dreams of being. Tucked away behind the Ram, never busy, always fully stocked. The bacon here made an absolute mockery of Marketplace, genuine taste and generously thick – they could serve it at Brody's without complaint.

The price is good, there's a great selection, and the Urban Eats BLT is a great-value heart-stealer.

4/5

The Ram

Iconic.

Is it a meal deal? Who cares.

Image may contain: Lunch, Meal, Nuggets, Bowl, Food, Fried Chicken

The Pieminister fries are instantly blown out of the water by the majesty of these curly heroes (I should stress the picture is not a full portion I got distracted between buying and writing and ate most of them).

I've bucked convention and gone for the scampi, and it's bringing me nostalgia for long afternoons fighting off wasps at a village pub, even though I'm sat in DH1. And its raining.

Whether a distraction from exams as a Wednesday lunch or a pre-Lemmy stomach lining, this is the undisputed king of eating on campus.

5/5

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