5 Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, SY1 2AE, England (01743 242610)
Open Mon-Fri 7.30am to 9pm and at 8am – 9pm
The Shrewsbury coffeehouse is a new european style neighbourhood cafe next to the station in Shrewsbury. The licensed coffeehouse serves up a tasty selection of fresh coffee, tea, breakfast, sandwiches, tapas and cakes – perfect to grab a takeaway on your way to catch a train or work, or as a sit-down pit stop while in town.
The coffeehouse meets a long-term gap in the market for an early morning and late evening destination for all ages who want to enjoy good quality informal food and drink – and as such is quite unique in the town centre. Three months since opening, this good-sized cafe draws a varied and relaxed crowd – families with young children, students and home-workers with their laptops mix with groups of friends catching up for a gossip. The menu is simple, but with enough variety to suit different tastes including vegetarian options and gluten-free cake. Teas include english breakfast, mint and speciality blooming jasmine tea. There is a wide range of coffee options including the lesser spotted flat white, iced latte and bambinochinos. Fruit juices, beer and wine complete the menu.
I’m reliably informed by companions that the coffee is excellent quality with a good depth of complex flavour. The teas are served in transparent tea pots which pour well. The English breakfast has a good balance of tannin and floral notes, and the flavour is stable throughout standing in the pot.
Like a VW camper or a swiss army knife, the coffeehouse implies that it is one thing, but in reality it’s rapidly revealing a comprehensive set of hidden talents and functions. The walls are an art gallery (the art on the walls by local artists is for sale), the sandwiches and cakes are a showcase for the artisan bakery next door and the acoustics are perfect for the gigs they have started to organise. Examples of events organised so far include Poetry evenings, cheese and wine tasting and film club nights.
There are two floors, with toilets downstairs. Although the place is small the staff and the other customers happily accommodate wheelchairs, pushchairs and children.
I can heartily recommend the egg mayonnaise sandwiches, bakewell tart and english breakfast tea, and my children particularly love the chocolate brownies and frobishers orange juice. Lunch or tea for the three of us comes to about £18. We often combine a visit to the Library on late night opening (Tuesday and Thursday) with tea.
For more information and contact details check out the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse facebook page.
Disclosure: I know Jess, one of the directors and the events co-ordinator at the Coffeehouse.