In the first of a new series (you can find out my method behind my favourite things here) it isn't anywhere fancy or high-end, but a coffee shop on the ground floor of a bookshop in West Quay shopping centre, Southampton.
I've always had a love of bookshops so adding in coffee and cake couldn't really go wrong. What I love about this little cafe is that while it is advertised on the windows for people passing by the first floor as well as being visible from the new and very shiny Watermark eating area, it still remains a place to escape the madness of the shopping centre, surround yourself with books and breathe.
|Nic nacs in the cafe area|
There is a very obvious seating area right by the cafe area itself as well as seating outdoors (blankets are provided for chilly days) and by the children's books area making it perfect for everything from 15 minutes by yourself, coffee with friends or a sit down while the 4 year old looks at the books and plays on the little climbing area. There's even the most amazing bright red leather sofa at the far end by the windows that you can melt into despite the sofa clearly having seen better days! The cafe area is bright and airy thanks to the floor to ceiling windows and despite people entering into the bookshop a few meters away, you don't feel like you're sat in a walkway.
Now the food and drink! Jammie dodger cupcakes, carrot cake, massive cookies the size of your child's head and cappuccino cake are just a few of the sweet treats we've tried. There's even gluten free and vegan offerings usually available.
Hummus, sourdough and falafel, or banana and peanut butter toasties (along with lots of other things on toast available) provide welcome and bloody tasty fuel to continue your slog round the shops or in our case just to make it home sometimes. The joy of shopping with a 4 year old.
Drinks wise they do a very decent cappuccino plus the usual selection of cold drinks (Diet Coke, fentimens, fruit smoothies for the kids, etc) and a fantastic selection of teas, which they used to offer by the pot or by the mug but only seem to do pots now. Shame as the mugs used to be just the right size!
Prices are on par with what you'd pay outside, maybe a little cheaper particularly with the drinks, but the atmosphere is much nicer. Staff always chatty and helpful when stuck on cake selection, as well as understanding when 4 year old knocks over water. For the second time.
While I know you'd love it there, a bit of me wants to keep this little coffee shop to myself, but that would be selfish.... just promise to leave me a slice of cake and that sofa free would you? X