Lake District

Cafe Italia


For a while I thought Cafe Italia was another example of the extent of the economic crisis as it stood closed for most of the winter; only when I bothered to actually read the little note that was on the door did I learn that they were re-opening beginning of February – just in time for Valentines Day.

It did look like a cosy, romantic spot but I only got to see it from the inside mid-March. It was quite a small place, nicely decorated in shades of red – so suitable for an Italian cafe. The menu was concise but offered various coffees, hot and cold lunch options and cakes. Although it March was meant to be the “time to be good”, I gave in to the temptation of a lemon cheesecake – not an easy choice considering the scrumptious presentation of other bakes in the small glass pastry case.

Mocha at Cafe Italia

Mocha at Cafe Italia

The presentation of my order when it arrived to the table was even better; the high price of the cheesecake suddenly made sense, as it was accompanied by ice cream and strawberries, all divine. The mocha also looked superb… but the taste left me a bit troubled. Whether it was a different type of cocoa, or the milk, or the fact of steaming the cocoa and milk together, I cannot tell, but the final product had a curious bitter/burnt taste to it, one that is very hard to pinpoint as I had not experienced it before. It was drinkable and even enjoyable in its own way – that being, as an accompaniment to the sweet cheesecake, but on its own it was a bit… stomach troubling, let’s say.

That is a shame, because the spot is indeed cute and cozy and the staff are very friendly and attentive; although four waiters for this tiny place might be a bit of an overcrowding. The location is also perfect – set on the tiny square between two supermarkets, in the shade of a sole tree, standing as a prime example of a refuge from the daily life affairs of a busy city (or village) life. All this taken into consideration, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be coming back.

Mocha: £2.65

Verdict justification: Something about the coffee just isn’t right; but the place itself is very nice indeed.

Categories: Cafes, Lake District, Local, Travel Log, UK | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Brambles Tea Room


This is a fairly new place, as far as cafes go in Windermere (making a clear distinction from Bowness-on-Windermere here). I remember when I discovered it the first time a few years back, tucked away from the main points of interest: the bank, the post-office, Co-op…; hiding on the side of a one-way road leading out of the village. That time I got a mocha although it didn’t appear on the menu and I felt I under-paid for it, as it was even cheaper than a cappucino. Maybe that’s why I remembered it positively.

This time there was no question about getting the right drink, as the Mochaccino figured plainly on the menu, alongside many other drinks and also hot food offers; there was also an ample selection of cakes, all portioned generously. Generous was also staffing, as the six or seven tables in this tiny place were being attended by four waiters and waitresses – all cramped in a small kitchen at the back of the open-plan venue, chatting away cheerfully. Despite that, there was a head-waitress (maybe the owner?) who greeted all the new customers loudly and warmly, inviting them to take a seat and take their time.

Mochaccino at Brambles Tea Room

Mochaccino at Brambles Tea Room

I was encouraged by their use of Farrer’s coffee (quite common in this part of the Lakes it turns out) and was quite pleased by the look of the mocha that was served to my table. It looked just the part: lovely, thick texture with the perfect, smooth foam on top, finished with some chocolate shavings. It would have been brilliant, if not for the temperature – it was just too hot; and maybe a little bit too sweet, but that might be due to my recent cut down on sugar intake.

All in all, it is a pleasant little cafe, decently priced and with some very attentive yet natural staff. Good for a weekday lunch break, I guess – although not the best destination if you’re in need of a bit of privacy… unless you’re lucky enough to get a sunny day to sip your coffee outside.

Mocha: £2.60

Verdict justification: A really enjoyable cup of coffee. Just cool it down a little!

Categories: Cafes, Hidden, Lake District, Local, UK | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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