Monday, 15 February 2010

The Gallery Café, 103 Foregate Street, Chester CH1 1HE – check out the cappuccino slice!

Photographs from the top: my order of tea and a cappuccino slice; an exterior view of the Gallery Café and the ceiling, which is decorated with the pages of various magazines. 

The Gallery Café in Chester is my idea of the perfect caff, although the term 'caff' probably demeans the place a little; it is, quite simply, a quaint place to stop by and enjoy the delights on offer – of which there are many.

For a start the place has a certain vibe, an ambience, which is conducive to just stepping off the roller coaster of life and enjoying a little serenity. Paperback books are sold here, there are works of art from local artists (painters and photographers) on show and also for sale, the ceiling is, well, interesting (go there and take a look for yourself or check out one of the above photographs) and the food is good too. Oh, and they also sell decorative bead necklaces.

The Gallery is owned by Jacob and Katie Potter, who have been ensconced at the café for four years (and two months) and seem intent on making it work. They will succeed because they have the passion for it, which is good to see.

This is a long café with an upfront seating area and more seats out back too. There are wooden floors and furniture and blackboards on the wall announcing various deals; for example, you can add a small bowl of soup to any sandwich order for just £1.50. Smoothies are £2.65 and so are milkshakes, the place sells pannini and ciabatta breads, conventional sandwiches and toasted sandwiches, there are jacket potatoes and 'light bites' and the cakes are to die for.

When I bowled in there, having spotted the place earlier that morning while out on the hunt for toothpaste, it was mid-afternoon and I hadn't eaten a thing all day. In short, I needed something to eat, but it wasn't really meal time so I opted for a pot of tea and an interesting variation on millionaire's shortbread (that's a caramel slice if you live south of Birmingham). This one wasn't caramel, it didn't have a milk chocolate top AND it was much bigger than your average product, almost twice the length, and a little bit wider too. It was called a cappuccino slice and it was amazing. I would have enjoyed a second one, but my inner nutritionist slapped my wrists at the very thought of it. I did order a second cup of tea. 

One tea and the cappuccino slice set me back £3.45, excellent value considering the enjoyment I received from the slice (seriously, it was amazing).

What's more, the Gallery is licensed (it sells bottled beers and wine) and there's a take-out menu too. You really couldn't ask for more from a café and this one comes highly recommended by teashopandcaff. Had I more time I would have spent a lot more money in the Gallery, but I was on my way to Leeds via Scarborough and Manchester (by train). I contemplated buying another cappuccino slice for the journey (and wished I had once on the train) but there you have it, all good things must come to an end, as they say.

The Gallery is just the place to visit when you have a good book on the go and an hour to spare reading it, accompanied by a pot or two of tea and, of course, one of those cappuccino slices.

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