Valvona & Crolla

Visited at Jenners Department Store

Strolling down Rose Street towards the train station I was looking around for a nice coffee place to have our last brew before mum’s departure. Not that it was imperative for my mum… but it was for me (call me a coffee addict, if you will). Passing Jenners I almost lost all hope and thought we’d have to opt for a Costa at the waiting area, or – worse – do without it; but then I noticed Valvona & Crolla – and the afternoon was saved!

We entered into a clothes shop that on the left hand side had a dedicated cafe area with a few tables and chairs dotted about, and a bar-style table by the window, where I used to see pensioners observing me with a blank stare whilst I was getting wet in the rain waiting at the bus stop outside. Probably that’s why I never thought of visiting this place before…

Cadburry’s Mocha at Valvona & Crolla

Now the bar table was taken by a couple of young women chatting away, and there were quite a few people taking up other seats, but we had a bigger table in the corner free to ourselves. The bar was at the other end, cramped, with a barista in his twenties keeping busy. I realise I refer to age here quite a lot, and that is because a friend gave me the impression that this would be a posh cafe, since “the Queen used to go there” – implying I believe in stereotypes attached to the word “posh”. Later on he clarified that it was the deli on Elm Row that he meant, and to clarify, the deli is “royally appointed” to supply HM. And it seems to be a reference mainly to cheese.

My mum, as always, went for a black coffee with milk on the side – and I thank her for that, as that way I can occasionally try a venue’s filter coffee as well. Here, however, they did not have a brewer and she had to order an Americano,  which in my opinion, tasted quite bitter. What would that do to my mocha? Well, it actually didn’t spoil it, and my coffee was quite pleasant – probably balanced by the sweetness of Cadburry’s chocolate, as, after all, the drink on the board was called Cadburry’s Mocha. I suppose it tasted more like cocoa with a kick. Not a strong kick, mind you.

I wasn’t as wowed by the coffee as I was by their cake and biscuit offer, which, again, levelled my idea of this place as an exclusive cafe with the ground. The prices were very appealing, and I loved the little finger biscuits you could buy. Yes, it would have been better if they were served with your coffee free of charge, but it always makes a nice difference to be able to pick 2 out of four types of biscuits (like biscotto or amaretto) for the price of 45p. At least that was the offer at the time. We shared our biscuits and finished our coffees and headed off – there was certainly nothing more to do in this tiny venue.

V&C is a pleasant stop-over during your day-time shopping. Nothing thrilling, but certainly a better coffee-place option than your average Rose Street pub. And if you feel like it, you can think of yourself as choosing the same brands as the Queen.

Cadburry’s Mocha: £2.85

Verdict justification: A nice place with OK coffee – but it doesn’t have much competition in this part of town anyway

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