The specials board has been tantalising me as I pass by on lunchtime walks along Breck Road for months. Having finally paid a visit with my two sisters and baby niece, and being welcomed in out of the cold by a friendly hostess, I can’t believe I waited so long.
The front half of the building is a gift shop selling a beautiful range of jewellery, cards, candles, notebooks, handbags, woolly hats and, at the moment, gorgeous Christmas decorations and stationary. Lovely presents you’ll want for yourself and your loved ones.
With lanterns and art (which is for sale) adorning the walls and exposed lighting cables and bulbs hanging from the ceiling, the cafe at the back has the feel of a cool underground bunker, with an abundance of fairy and tealights giving light and warmth.
A straightforward menu offers all the staples; breakfasts, sandwiches, toasties and a pledge to make whatever you fancy, so long as they have the basic ingredients! Daily specials include homemade soup and a couple of less ordinary options – on the day of my visit, bacon and cheese burger served in a brioche bun and coronation prawn vol-au-vents.
There are children’s choices and a great selection of cakes too; chocolate, Victoria, tiffin, parkin and cherry bakewell to name just a few plus gluten-free varieties.
As a dedicated tea drinker, I was pleased to find a selection of Atkinsons black teas on offer including my favourite brew, Assam, along with lemon and vanilla plus green Chai tea and herbal varieties. There’s also a bring your own booze policy with a minimal corkage charge. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, ’bring a bottle if you feel the need’!
I thoroughly enjoyed the hearty homemade leek and potato soup with doorstep bread and (soft) butter plus a pot of tea, served in a pot with teacup and saucer. My sisters enjoyed their choices; soup, cheese and tomato toastie (again on doorstep bed and served with salad), hot chocolates and a giant scone with obligatory jam and cream. The bill came to just under £20 and we all left feeling full and happy.
You can see the chef at work preparing your food in an open kitchen in the corner and the cakes calling you from a counter beside. There are around half a dozen tables, chairs and benches plus a comfy chair for coffee, attentive waiters and I’m reliably informed, good changing facilities. My sister was able to breastfeed at ease too.
For a perfect escape from the elements this winter, hole up in Tinderbox with tea and cake. Check out the Tinderbox Facebook page