The Diamond Jubilee and Olympics left a legacy: BBC2 doesn’t seem to be able to air a programme without including ‘Great British’ in the title. After Menus and Baking, we’re offered a sewing contest, presented by the omnipresent Claudia Winkleman, alongside a rather stern May Martin from the WI and dapper designer Patrick Grant. Eight amateurs must sew, stitch, pipe, invert zips, make darts and scallop necklines in an attempt to be crowned Britain’s best home sewer.
The contestants are a nice bunch and the history lessons mildly interesting, but the ‘How To’ guides too vague to be useful. Perhaps in future episodes we’ll be treated to some couture of exquisite beauty, but so far watching people hunched over a table sewing clothes simply doesn’t appeal to the senses in the same way as watching people create and consume food. Winkleman talks of a quiet revolution, but this one’s positively silent – for craft enthusiasts only.
Signage for this clean food café is so subtle, we walked past it twice. Once inside though, the welcome was warm and the room full of light. Mismatched furniture is carefully chosen for its style and you can sit at one of three tables, or perch on stools overlooking Heath Street and watch the world go by. The all-day menu features smoothies, juices and breakfast bowls, layered salads in jars (yes, jars) and toasties. We tried the chicken and pearl barley salad with blueberries, blue cheese and walnuts, and a falafel toastie. The salad was a revelation with a simple balsamic and olive oil dressing – a surprisingly appealing blend of flavours and textures. The toastie was tasty but a bit on the dry side and I was glad I’d agreed to go halves on mains with my companion. Coffees and juices were on top form and the array of desserts was spectacular, although sadly, our two choices delivered more on appearance than flavour, with a tiramisu missing the customary creamy layer and a chocolate tart featuring the slightly bitter aftertaste of sesame. That said, it’s impressive what they deliver from such a small kitchen, visible through a sparkly bead screen from the café.
Venue says: “A health-focused cafe with an easy going attitude to food and drink. Just eat real food!”