Sarah’s Nottinghamshire Coffee Roundup – February

Following Sarah’s cafe update earlier in the year she visits 4 new purveyors of caffeine….

Brace yourselves: I’m about to be positive. Maybe it’s because I’ve just dug up the moss bed that passed for a lawn on our garden. Or maybe it’s because a new hoodie arrived in the post this morning from the Mike Ashley empire, thereby saving me the soul-destroying experience of crawling through the sweat and acne flammable burrow that is a sports store on a Saturday afternoon. Or maybe I am just going to be positive because I’ve got some nice places to write about. If you keep reading, you might just find out.

The Kiosk – Sherwood

Just tucked on Winchester Street, has several unique selling points over any other coffee spot in Nottingham. Firstly, you can sit in a converted shipping container. It’s a more pleasant experience than it sounds, with the two sides replaced by glass and the tasteful, homely furnishings making it less smuggly and more snugly. Secondly, the menu is strongly influenced by the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, with options such as Merguez (£7) and Manakeesh (£6) as well as sandwiches and frittata (£5.50). Thirdly, the kitchen is smaller than Rachel Khoo’s and everything is being made right in front of your hungry eyes by happy staff including Beth, who created this whole impressive affair. Whether the size of the kitchen leads to the small portions (not usually something I complain about, as readers of my post on Red’s will know) I don’t know, but some people might feel a bit short changed; for me, the quality and presentation of the food makes it fairly priced. Coffee is also excellent.

The Kiosk - Sherwood - Nottingham

The Kiosk – Sherwood – Nottingham

200 Degrees – Nottingham

I failed to review a wee while ago, having been beaten back by the ludicrously high thermostat setting that seemed to be the victim of deterministic nomenclature. Having located their temperature dials, or common sense, or the gas bill, a more normal temperate climate greeted me a week ago, and I happily supped on a fine black coffee. Sadly I had arrived before the magical 12pm hour when croissants turn into prosciutto-stuffed sourdoughs, but I did peck away at a fruity scone, which was a little on the dense and bland side. If you are in and around the Market Square like a predatory striker being reviewed on Match of the Day, 200 Degrees may be well worth a punt for a tasty fresh lunch and a zingy Brazilian.

200 degrees - Nottingham

200 degrees – Nottingham

Ugly Bread Bakery – Nottingham

The positive vibe takes a detour here, sadly it looked so promising, and also happily defiant of its titular proclamation, since the bread in the window was rather magnificent, and tasty-looking pizzas were being churned out behind the counter. The venue is bright and airy with a fantastic mezzanine balcony providing ample people watching over Hockley. There was a problem, though, which was rather a fundamental of going to get a coffee. The barista just could not make a cappuccino. Latte? Fine. Cappuccino foam? Not fine. Not even close. Just hot milk with the barest whisper of froth, like the last pint from a barrel. You can’t make foam with semi-skimmed milk, she insisted, which is a) chemically inaccurate and b) demonstrably inaccurate on years of experience. Even I can make it at home with a mini machine that sounds like it is being powered by a geriatric hamster gasping on a wheel of infinite un-fun rotation. I ended up with a black coffee and a sad feeling of having been mean [bean mean? Sorry]. But basics, people, basics! And while I love the MC Escher-ness of the dual staircases, it occurred to me that this is a very tricky venue for anyone disabled or limited in their mobility, which thankfully is an issue more venues are paying due attention to.

Newfield Dairy – Southwell

I’m putting my hood up. I need the good vibes back. Ah yes! Here we go. If you want a good coffee, you don’t have to come into the city. You can go out to the middle of a field, literally, if you are in the Southwell neck of the meadow. Newfield Dairy is tucked away past The Spread Eagle on the A617, handily (for reception-free country) posted by brown signs which either suggest a quality location and/or a saving grace for desperate parents with irritable children needing entertainment and sugar. Newfield ticks both boxes, judging by our lunchtime-at-half-term visit. The cafe is a massive modern barn affair with a separate room that can be booked for parties. The counter service is a little confused, with a line for ice-cream and one for everything else. There were lots of options in both camps, all boldly proclaimed from an enormous blackboard and priced very reasonably. On the non-ice-cream side, sandwiches, baguettes and soup hit around the £4-£6 mark, with classic cakes such as coffee and walnut or coconut and cherry at £3 a slice. Several were gluten free and vegan, rather generous touches for a dairy.

Newfield Dairy Ice Cream - Southwell - Nottingham

Newfield Dairy Ice Cream – Southwell – Nottingham

But to state the blindingly obvious, the main event here is the ice-cream. Some of it looked lovely. Some of it looked utterly disgusting unless you were under ten; any blue food is wrong, and bubblegum ice-cream is incredibly wrong, although I imagine it probably makes you feel amazing for about half an hour. The staple flavours were all present and could be enjoyed in a cone, a cup, a giant waffle cone, a milkshake or best of all, a coke or cherryade float (which might actually work with the bubblegum ice-cream, come to think of it). You could also go for one of a number of sundaes or go really old-skool for a banana split for a fiver (it never cost that much back in the day…). For those more inclined to adventure or something a bit more grown-up, Strawberries and Champagne, Turkish Delight and Ginger and Honeycomb were all on offer. The husband had an affogato and then spent the next half hour torn second by second between being extremely giddy and extremely sleepy. We took home a tub of the Ginger fella (£4.50 for 500ml); I think a gingery coke float is a definite option. Service was merely perfunctory but fine, and the portions were all generous. The cafe looks out over the countryside and there is a well-constructed play area, but I am not telling you how I know that. It’s well worth a visit, particularly if you have small people to exhaust.

Three positives out of four? Must be the hoodie.