The West End truly is the place to be, even during lockdown. Just on St Swithin Street alone you have at least 3 cafés, together with a wine shop and a bakery (I mean, what else do you need?!) It’s also a quiet area which makes it pleasant to walk around – even on those less sunny days.
For this stroll, out of the 3 aforementioned coffee shops I decided to try Orka – the one I had only heard of once recently, when a friend posted a photo on the ‘gram of their take-away cheese platter – I was intrigued. The description on their Facebook page reads: “Inspired by Orkney origins and many years abroad, Orka Artisan Café introduces the best in Scottish produce whilst being mindful of sustainable practices.”
It was a late afternoon but still within their opening hours when I made a stop here on my way towards Rubislaw. The marquee at the door was impossible to miss, and serves as a shelter in the rain that many other cafés would be missing in the current circumstances. There was plenty of room for waiting, allowing others to order (as was the case when I arrived with a couple awaiting their home-made sandwiches) I imagine a few tables laid out in this area, once we move down a lockdown tier.
The ordering was quick, with an option of oat, coconut and soy milk alternatives; I guess I’m now on a coconut mission, so that’s what I went for – and was shocked by the price! This was the cheapest COVID mocha yet – I certainly didn’t expect it in this part of town… but it may be the proximity of competition driving the prices down…
I didn’t hang about when I received my coffee shortly after, as the end-February cold started seeping in and I had to get the blood pumping again – and pull in the help of internal healing from the brew.
I took the time, of course, to quickly inspect what was under the lid. There was a wee dome of foam centred on the drink which I was a bit concerned about, but I liked the colour which suggested a rich taste.
The first flavour impression was slight sharpness, a wee taste of bitterness (the chocolate variety) – not enough to spoil the drink though. The concoction had a smooth, well blended mouthfeel with no residue on the bottom of the cup – in fact, I’d say that it was maybe slightly too thin on the tongue, lacking that bit of luxury. Despite that, overall it was a nice coffee that I happily drank to the last drop.
I was glad, because it looks like these guys are trying hard to soften the blow of the lockdown. Apart from coming up with entertaining content for their social media, they also create interesting foodie sets for enjoyment on the go or at home. They also do special treats for dogs – perfect excuse to catch up at a café with your four-legged pal…!
I would certainly suggest you give Orka a go – for the coffee and their scrumptious-looking desserts.
Coconut Alternative Mocha: £2.50
Enjoyable coffee from an energetic business keeping things fresh for their customers. Oh, and kudos on the branding!
To learn more about Orka Arisan Café visit their Facebook page.