Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Marks & Spencer's Cafe, Stratford-upon-Avon

This is an excellent place to hide in plain sight. If someone is hassling you to Take More Care and you are sick of the sight of broccoli, this is the kind of place you can get full fat lattes and brownies and toasted teacakes with actual butter. If caught, brazen it out. Have a bottle of water handy and insist that no one cleared the table so the sticky detritus of crumbs and cream cannot possibly be yours.

A medium cup of coffee is a generous slug of organic, Fairtrade coffee at an astoundingly reasonable £2.45. Very creamy, dark foam, quite a sweet chocolatey aftertaste. Food-wise the range is very limited. They seem to work on a 'once its gone its gone basis' rather than replenish stocks. I have turned up there at 3pm and been left with a choice of lemon drizzle cake or millionaire shortbread. No great hardship, I know, but worth remembering if you are in town late on and hungry. First thing in the morning there is a run on toasted teacakes, so get in quick. These are the best in town, warm, toasted in a palate of umbers and siennas, with pulpy fruit and a generous allowance of butter. Rest the pat of butter on the teacake to soften it a little, spread liberally and wolf it down in an unseemly manner.

Access is excellent as are the helpful staff. And the regulars are great. The sort that suggest you resolve a difficult sudoku by the diligent application of reason, logic and clear-headed conjecture.*

*and not, apparently, by shouting at it.

Latte: *****

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