Having taken a break from discussing the best parts of Paris to save for when I can blog about my explorations once I move back in a few weeks’ time (suggestions welcome!), I’ve decided to write about one of the best cafés I’ve been to, which can be found in the quaint little ‘city’ of Durham.
This is where I spent my university years and, having graduated in June, I’ve found myself missing this cute little eatery as both a weekday workplace and a weekend retreat. Situated just off Elvet Bridge, heading down towards the infamous Klute, this quaint little café is host to an array of indoor and outdoor seating, complete with cushions and blankets for those who aren’t used to the Durham chill! Even if it looks busy, tables usually become free pretty quickly, & it’s definitely worth the wait (top tip: there are two stools at the back with a little table built into the wall, if they’re free they’re normally not visible from the doorway, so worth a try if it looks busy!).
As the name suggests, the coffee here is spot on. Their flat whites come in glass cups, as do their piccolos (mini flat whites, similar to a cortado at Costa), whilst their cappuccinos and lattes come in larger cups, topped with some impressive coffee art. However, that is not all they do for drinks. The iced coffees are perfect when sitting outside in summer, served in little jam jars with a straw, and the inspiring range of teas (personal favourite is the Jasmine Green) mean you’re never without a choice. For those who like something a bit more decadent, the hot chocolates are the perfect thing, and for the more adventurous… London Fog, apparently an Earl Grey latte, which, although a fan of Earl Grey, I have never plucked up the courage to try and always settle for a favourite classic.
This situation experienced with the London Fog also occured whenever my bestie and I used to go for a sandwich as a brain break; we would ponder the different fillings and pretend as though we may go for something different… but, time and time again, we would go for the same sandwich (beef and horseradish for me and chicken pesto for her); we now use ‘chicken pesto situation’ to describe similar occurrences in different contexts (although mainly food based…). It is important to point out that this is no reflection of the other sandwiches – with a choice ranging from houmous and roasted veg to the classic BLT or the ultimate Wensleydale cheese and mango chutney, they are all well stuffed with fresh ingredients in homemade granary bread, and come with varying crisps (think Real, Marks and Spencer’s handcooked… you get the idea: crunchy and tasty).
If you get there in time you can always sample the brunch range: classic scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or a bacon sarnie, but also the prosciutto and cheddar croissant or the mozzarella and pesto version (brought alive by the homemade pesto, which is leagues above that in supermarkets). For a light bite between meals or maybe to finish off a lunch, there’s a cake for everyone. All homemade, the rocky road (with whole, large marshmallows!) and the white chocolate and cranberry tiffin provide that sweet kick, whereas the gooey brownie or the blondie provide the chocolate fix. Fancy something a bit different? Gluten free cakes are available, as is Parkin, and sometimes other freshly baked concoctions.
So with all that, on top of soup and salads to add to the mix, a good shuffle of music and friendly staff (even if they do occasionally make a comparison between you and characters from Game of Thrones…), it’s definitely worth a visit (and a bit of a queue). As the tshirt of a friend aptly says, whenever we’re in the area, ‘Flat White makes my coffee’.