By Tania Ballantine
There’s a reason supermarkets put the bread section near the entrance (or a big fat fan) – few things are more enticing than the smell of baking. Add a small play area for little ones (the locale is full of ankle-biters), some farmhouse chic styling, and it’s no surprise this bakery and café is wildly popular.
The counters are groaning with food fresh from the ovens: think giant gingerbread men, iced buns and millionaire’s shortbread alongside pastries and posh muffins (blueberry and almond, spiced apple). There are clever creations too, such as a cold ‘breakfast pie’ made of bacon, sausage and egg, or our savoury croissant – a dense, meaty sausage slathered in wholegrain mustard and folded into an envelope of beautifully rendered, golden puff pastry.
Equally simple, yet effective, was a slice of quiche, marrying the full flavour of a strong, creamy goat’s cheese with chunks of red onion, all over a buttery base. Only a slightly overcooked chocolate chip cookie showed their fallibility.
Busy periods create a real problem with crowd management. At the weekend, service was at breaking point, with the well-meaning staff barely able to cope with demand. The seats are uncomfortable too: the long banquette is raised high off the floor, making you tower, despot-like, over your companion.
Go for a take-away espresso (Allpress roast) and something baked in a box. Then get out. Fast.