And now for something quite different…

I have wondered about Tempo every time I walked through the Bon Accord shopping centre, always curious to check it out but – ironically – never having the time to do so.

Tempo in Aberdeen’s Bon Accord

But this one afternoon the perfect opportunity arose when I had to wait for my prescription to be finalised at Boots – a typical 15-20min wait which, at that point (having already done all my shopping), I didn’t know what to do with… and then I remembered about the mysterious coffee place downstairs.

The spot where Tempo currently is used to be occupied by a number of pop ups: an art gallery and a Mini showroom are the few that I remember; so when Tempo came on the go in November last year, I assumed it would disappear after a month or two – but, alas,  it’s still going, more than six months in.

I read the general instructions on the A-board outside a few times when passing by, but I still wasn’t sure how this would work; so I rocked up to the counter and the first question I was asked was “Have you been here before?”. I was glad to have everything explained without having to ask – even though it was all pretty straightforward.

Mocha at Tempo

Every minute in Tempo costs 10p – but there are no other charges; instead, there’s the free use of the seating, charging points, WiFi and, of course, the kitchen, featuring a coffee machine, a selection of cakes and biscuits, as well as cereal, toast and even hot soup available at lunchtime.

The idea behind Tempo is to enjoy some time off – either alone, or even better with a friend or family, over coffee or a board game, whatever you might feel like that day. But the benefits aren’t just a recharge and a catch-up on latest gossip; in fact, all the proceeds go to CLAN Cancer Support – so you never actually feel you overstayed.

Enjoying some time off at Tempo

I knew from the moment I “clocked in” at the register that this would not be my usual cafe review; there were no baristas to craft my drink, and my mocha was all ready at the touch of a button – but that didn’t put me off (in fact, for a machine coffee, it tasted quite nice!).

I appreciated a quiet place (it looked pretty funky, decorated by professional designers as I later found out) to enjoy a hot brew and a sponge slice – so much better than being stuck in the pharmacy or wandering about shop shelves with no intention to buy! In fact, I felt quite guilty leaving after 17 minutes, only due £1.70 – so I left all my other small change at the till as a “tip”.

Having experienced it first-hand, and seen how popular this place is, I would encourage anyone who’s looking to fill a half-hour in town to pay Tempo a visit – it’s all for a good cause, and you will come out feeling more than recharged for the rest of the day!

Tempo Facebook page

Categories: Aberdeen, Cafes, Hidden, UK | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Parx Cafe


Having lived in this city for more than three years now, you’d think I’d know all of its coffee secrets – but, alas!, Aberdeen still throws up a surprise in some of the most unexpected places. Parx Cafe was one of those revelations.

I was strolling down Robislaw Terrace, just out of a meeting and on my way back to the office, when I noticed the A-board – and then the cafe down the steps from it. The name sounded familiar – quite possibly having seen it in one of online reviews for Granite City’s best breakfast offerings; or maybe I had noticed it before on one of the rare occasions I had been walking in this area, but never paid it much heed before.

But when I saw it this time, my first thought was: this place looks cool; my second thought was: this street – the start of a long chain of business’ HQs – really needs a venue like this, with no other cafe that I’d know of, closer than Union Street; and my final thought was: it’s coffee time!

Mocha at Parx Cafe

Mocha at Parx Cafe

As I walked down the steps and through the door, the second thought was instantly confirmed: the spacious venue had almost all seats taken by suit-and-tie folk. The place itself was fresh, open and simplistic, but offering a great selection of tasty looking home made sandwiches, cakes and breakfast options; you could even pick up fresh strawberries and cream for a healthy morning option.

I settled for a mocha and went for one of the few remaining seats (by a huge table that could host a family dinner) – just after pouring myself a cup of water that I simply knew would be there on the condiment bar – I could tell this was the kind of place to offer this.

The coffee arrived some minutes later, and that curbed my excitement a bit – the frothy layer of milk heavily sprinkled with cocoa made me a bit weary of what lay underneath. Thankfully, appearances were deceiving in this case: the Parx mocha packed a punch, with a sweet, rich chocolatey taste, which was not sickening, however. It was a very moreish cup, and its only small minus was the texture, as noted upon arrival – that layer of froth compromising on the smoothness throughout.

If this had been my local work cafe, I would be pretty content with both the food options and – maybe more importantly – the coffee, as a lunch break at Parx would be a proper treat – and one to crave for time and time again!

Mocha (regular): £2.90

Verdict justification: Great venue with tasty coffee and ample food spread – what else do you need to complete the daily business routine!


Categories: Aberdeen, Cafes, Hidden, UK | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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