Friday, July 2, 2010

Cawfee crawl, part 1.

Because I tried to make the route fairly geographically useful - I didn't want to criss-cross the city or double back on myself - I started off in Holbeck Urban Village. The idea behind HUV is nice, although it doesn't seem to take into account the original local residential views much and after 7pm the place is empty. Lots of media and business types hang out here, so there's a couple of restaurants, two boozers (that can be a bit snobby at times) and a bunch of trendy cafes, along with one or two that cater for the brickies that are still renovating.

So! The first cafe I visited was the Engine House Cafe, a lovely, good-sized place with big ceilings and some outdoor space. You order at the counter and if you're staying in they tell you to take a seat and bring stuff over to you as it's ready. Because it was still breakfast time - just 9am - I ordered some toast & marmalade as well as my black coffee.
Black coffee
Love that mug! First impressions are a huge thing and I love that they seemed to use a collection of random mugs instead of a uniform, carefully collated collection of uniform white teacups and saucers (or ones with a coffee branding on). These days ordering a black coffee tends to result in an americano, and this was the case here. The smell was fine - it smelled of coffee, always a plus - but had an interesting acrid undernote that translated into a robust taste; good and strong coffee, which started out slightly bitter but smoothed out as it cooled. Brilliant accompaniment to the toast and marmalade, by the way - granary bread and pretty decent marmalade (which may have been Duerrs, but I'm not an expert). Coffee was £1.25, toast &c was a further £1.25. Totally worth it.

Next was Picked Pepper, just around the corner. This is more of a sandwich-y place but friendly and had a great smell when you walked in. They also have an outdoors, but the interior is nice enough to sit in. Again, order at the counter, pay as you leave. This coffee was a branded one - Coopers - but the mugs were plain white.
Black coffee
First impressions were great; it came with a bikkie! There wasn't much smell with the coffee, though it looked ok, and this was a pretty subtle brew with some flavour but no complexity to it. Don't get me wrong - this was a decent brew - but it's a "does the job" coffee, not necessarily one to savour. £1.50.

The last place in Holbeck was Out of the Woods. This place was stunning; great atmosphere, a sofa to sink into, the tea comes in pots and the cakes look excellent. They also go a good range of daily soups and have a great little astroturfed space outside that is really very sweet. Unfortunately, I ordered the wrong coffee.
Black coffee
Y'see, all the mugs - great mug! - are the same size, so ordering a "small black coffee" gets you a single shot of espresso in the same amount of water normally used as a double shot. And weak coffee is not my favourite thing; hotel coffee is often the same, and it tastes like... well, like nothing much. It gives no indication of how good the coffee actually is, which is a shame as I imagine the coffee in OOTW is much better than the one I had. This was an important note to remember: singleshot americanos are for people who don't actually like coffee. Anyway, the important thing to note is that I would totally bring people to OOTW just for the atmosphere, great looking sundries, tea and sofa. £1.55, next time remind me not to ask for a small one.

So, that was HUV! Part two coming soon.

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