Union Street proves to be a decent coffee-shop hub – as far as quantity is concerned, at least. Just in the single square between Belmont Street and Back Wynd I had already visited three coffee shops (I think The Victoria Restaurant can also qualify) and a coffee roaster; and here’s a fourth café to add to the collection.
The Coffee House looks rather promising, with fresh décor outside and also inside, only spoiled by the bad lighting and always feeling quite shady indoors – I had visited once previously but left due to the lack of seating. Indeed, it also proves very popular, usually overflowing with customers. This should speak for itself: the open-plan venue is of impressive dimensions with a multitude of tables, big and small, and chairs and benches of various length; and still when I paid my second visit and waited considerable time in the queue by the till to put down my order I feared I would be drinking my coffee standing.
Miraculously, despite it being Saturday afternoon, within that waiting time a few tables cleared and seating was not a problem; but I settled for sharing a table/bench with a group of girls, since all I ordered was a tiny flat-white that I knew would be gone in minutes. Well, I was wrong.
I did not manage to finish the coffee. For the first time in a while I actually grimaced – physically, not only metaphorically – unable to contain the shock of distaste. I asked for soy milk and I’m sure that contributed to a very bitter, curdled-tasting concoction, that I found simply undrinkable – putting aside the fact that it was too hot. I added some sweetener, but that only made matters worse. I left the small glass half-empty and quickly left.
Unfortunately, there was nothing else that would have made my visit positively memorable – the staff at the till changed mid-way through my order, and I hardly got any attention from either of the girls; my coffee was served on a tray with no word whether it was ready to be picked up or, in fact, what coffee that was or for whom. The prices were also not attractive to justify any of this.
So Union Street might be the hub of coffee shops – but if in need of a proper coffee you need to look further outside the town centre.
Flat White: £2.60
Verdict justification: Undrinkable coffee, little warmth from the staff or the place itself. A definite no-go for me.