I’ve been working here about six months, although I only work at weekends now, when its extra busy and people shout at you when the roast pepper and goats cheese lasagne has sold out.
I love the place, mainly because of the people who work here and the people who visit. Customers tend to be a mixture of nice elderly ladies who like tea and cake and young new-age vegetarians who do Yoga and Pilates, as well as those in between. Apparently Vic Reeves from the telly came in the other week and bought a cookery book, but I was too busy to notice. Most probably a lie anyway.
The food is good. There’s a regular main menu, and then daily specials, which are special and change daily. The cuisine is varied, with a world food theme (Enchiladas, Tagine, Spanakopita, Arami Parcels, Mushroom Wellington) as well as main-stays such as Vegetarian Burgers, Root Vegetable Rosti and Welsh Rarebit . Most meals cost between five and six pounds and come with new potatoes and a mixture of fresh salads, and are (I’m biased) invariably delicious and scarily healthy. There’s a wealth of choice, plus cakes, biscuits and coffees. The coffees are good when I’m not making them. Incidentally, if you visit at the weekend, you can watch me drop plates and glasses and then swear. And then apologise.
The surroundings are pleasant. Think lots of natural wood and stone, with plants and displays by local artists, with a soundtrack of mellow jazz. It’s a nice place to be because it feels vibrant yet relaxed. It’s exciting, no really it is, to argue about the ingredients of the soup of the day (£3.50 with a roll), or to talk about what the cast of ‘Allo Allo’ are up to these days you‘d be surprised) and to discuss the merits of diets (“no potatoes, I’m on the Atkins”).
The food is all vegetarian; some of it’s vegan, some of it’s wheat-free. We accommodate a lot of special dietary requirements and highly unusual requests (Peppermint tea with soya milk is an acquired taste).
The café is a bit of a secret, mainly because it’s hidden in the depths of a bookshop. Half the fun is finding it. It’s a bit like the Secret Garden, only there isn’t a garden, just a pleasant café with a small patio.
We’ve won an award for our child-friendly policy (although I noticed recently the certificate was addressed to the Blackhead Café and took it down). It’s actually called the Blakehead Café in tribute to William Blake, the eccentric Nineteenth Century poet and artist, who also happened to be a vegetarian (fact) and a genius (disputed fact).
Assuming I haven’t been sacked for this unauthorised article, I might see you in the café. You can recognise me because I’ll be the one who clumsily drops your food everywhere, and then apologises profusely. Now how could you refuse that offer?