I remember when I was moving back to my old home – Windermere, and as I told everyone who asked that I wasn’t discontinuing my coffee blog, I also thought: but what will I actually review?
It turned out that in Windermere alone there was an abundance of cafes; then there was Bowness, just a stone-throw away – an obvious location for a few coffee shops due to the unquestionable appeal of the Lake. However, I didn’t expect Kendal, the biggest town in the proximity (unlike nearby Ambleside, Kendal has a train station – oh, glorious civilisation!) to have much on offer, apart from the Costa that has been there for years and some coffee shop in the Westmorland Shopping Centre, as there tends to be one, although under a different name every couple of years. Well, a lot has changed whilst I was away, is enough said.
Now, this shop was recommended and I decided I’d visit it first before venturing to one of the few other interesting looking cafes. I had just missed the opening hours once before, and it was hard to see the interior through the small tinted glass in the windows and the stacks of tea on display – which made me doubt whether they sold coffee beans at all. Because, I have to clarify, when I heard about this place, it was because I asked about the best shop to buy beans – it was only convenient that they served coffee also.
I hadn’t, however, imagined, how big this place would turn out to be. Three storeys all together with plenty of seating – all rustic decor, a very atmospheric interior with squeaky floors and wooden furnishing and finishings. And no wonder – the shop might probably date back to the 19th century, as the founder of the independent roastery, John Farrer, established his Kendal business as early as 1819.
There even was a small bell to ring for service… I wouldn’t have noticed it, of course, if some impatient woman hadn’t rung it; there were a good few elderly couples sitting around and the flow was quite impressive for an early Tuesday afternoon. There were only two or three waitresses/assistants running up and down the stairs though, hence why I was a bit cross with the bell woman – I thought the girls deserved a bit of understanding.
Considering these circumstances, my coffee was delivered very fast, within minutes of ordering – and before the bell woman received her drink, despite having ordered first, which, I feared, would have caused her even more annoyance. I tucked into my Mocchacino, which was quite big for the price. I was rather disappointed with the frothy foam on top, but the texture underneath was nice, the temperature OK for drinking and the sweetness just right after steering the layer of chocolate from the bottom of the cup. It wasn’t perfect, it lacked some special ingredient – maybe a bit more density throughout, a more chocolatey texture, than the layered brew it seemed to be. However, considering the speed of service plus the complimentary biscuit on the side (which I haven’t tasted, but it’s always a nice touch), it was definitely a pleasurable experience and one I would happily repeat again – this time to try a different version of my drink, an actual mocha (as it stands in the menu).
As for the shop itself, I would definitely recommend it, as the variety of beans is more than satisfying with coffees from all major regions and some house blends as well, all in very appealing prices; and there’s plenty of accessories and brewing equipment and even teas to chose from for a variety of customers.
To put it simply: a gem right at my doorstep.
Verdict justification: A lovely, atmospheric place with plenty on offer. Definitely worth a visit.