Thursday, 19 April 2012

Caffe Nero, Stratford-upon-Avon

This is the nearest global coffee brand to Shakespeare's Birthplace; meaning that most of the other eateries on Henley Street might sell familiar brands like Lavazza but that does not form their raison d'etre. Consequently it can sometimes get full of younger tourists buying takeout and drinking in store. Not to say it is an objectionable practice but if you are concerned about access the clutter of people at the front of the store can be problematic. There are two steps to the back of the place that are not easily negotiable if you cannot get a table near the counter.

Staff are very helpful, though. And knowledgeable. Know all the regulars and their requests, know the music that is playing. My friend Kelley is right about one particular chair by the stairs. You are directly under the speakers so the music is loud in that spot. Check your mood and the music before you sit there. It is not a good spot if you are are feeling gloomy about the prospect of continued medication. Vivaldi's violin concerto in C, followed by Mozart's violin sonata in E Minor is not exactly conducive to a Patience on a monument mood.

But the staff are good. They even what the funny red bits were in my tuna melt panini. The latter was so-so; but then, we all know deep down that no matter what the advertised claims as to the artisan credentials of the food, if it is pre-packaged, it is not going to zing your taste buds. The coffee is too strong for me but I have a one shot and that is perfect. Creamy foam on the latte and one of the few places not to serve it in a tall glass. The cupcakes deserve a mention. They have the merit of being perfectly proportioned. Cake and icing are usually served in a ratio of CAKE: icing. In this case it is more cake: ICING. A small cake too; so at no point do you have to bite into plain cake without sweet sweet topping. It also serves the best cheesecake ever. The white and dark chocolate truffle cheesecake is truly magnificent. Marbled chocolate on a dense biscuit base that leaves very few crumbs and makes a satisfying clack when cut with a fork. A smooth, cloying topping with a firm texture. It is worth taking time over this. So dense is the topping that is retains its shape in your mouth. Resist the urge to plunge your teeth into it. Instead, hold it on your tongue for a while then compress it against the roof of your mouth. The cloying magnificence of it all might induce a fatal infarction; but what a way to go.

Access: *****
Latte: *****

No comments:

Post a Comment