Is it the ambience? The range of cakes? The offering of single origin beans, obviously nicaraguan is the bean of the moment. Obviously.
Cafe culture is an interesting phenomenon. It’s something that’s been going in other countries for years. In Europe it’s always been acceptable to soak up the sun in the Paris plaza’s and Italian piazza’s. In Australia and New Zealand it’s a huge deal, families, friends and workmates will sit for hours in cafe’s working, chilling out, gossiping.
Yet this relaxed nature just somehow doesn’t seem quite. British.
When I was younger we never went to cafes. They weren’t really a ‘thing’, there were greasy spoons that called themselves cafe’s. My town’s equivalent was a terrifying place called ‘Sweet Vienna’. The women in there were the stuff of nightmares and let’s not even talk about the food.
Or cafes were places that we took my Nana when we didn’t know what to do with her. We went to Ruskington garden centre and ate scones that pretended they were freshly made and drank tea.
However this has all changed. Cafes are this strange mix between restaurant and coffee bar. They’re expected to have it all, they need to have the relaxed feel of your lounge, the food of a michelin star restaurant and the coffee hand delivered and ground by wood nymphs who picked the beans under a blue moon.
As someone who spent years in the service industry and worked for a few of Sheffield’s most well respected establishments I know the pressure of creating such an environment. You have to look and be cool but not too cool. Dress trendily, but nothing offensive. Be polite and charming but know when to step away.
It feels like a never ending battle of finding the balance.
However, whilst it may sound like I’m belittling the cafe culture. I’m not. I love it. Absolutely love it, I’m a self professed hipster coffee grinding lover. I know the difference between my Kenyan’s and my Ethiopians, I refuse to go anywhere without my aeropress and tut at places that don’t have at least two gluten free options on the menu. Horrendously pretentious I know.
I am aware that not everyone is as vaguely pretentious as me however, so when compiling this list I did try to bear that in mind. Whilst there are hundreds of these articles everywhere, we as team Deliverd have decided to create our own. So, here we go, a dictionary of cafes according to us
- The Bhaji Shop/Thali Cafe
Still not hugely well known this cafe is an absolute winner. Authentic Indian cuisine served with love and a smile.
I am also a huge fan of BYOB. Not sure why but I think it’s great.
The Thali plates are ridiculous, I’m still talking about the first one I ever had, which was a seafood biryani. As someone who always goes for fish curries this still has to be one of my best ever. All served with their famous onion Bhajis as well. Who doesn’t love a good onion Bhaji!?
- Tamper: The Battle
Ok. So yes I’m biased. Really biased. Anyone who knows me knows that I worked for Tamper for quite a while, but you know what. So what. I’m proud to have worked for Tamper. Their coffee is great, as is the food. Plus I know how much work goes into running it. Whilst there might be a wait to get in sometimes you all know that their hollandaise sauce is worth it.
Plus their coffee is to die for. Yes. It’s not supposed to be boiling hot. That means it’s burnt.
However, I still can never decide if I prefer the cosiness and serenity of Westfield Terrace which means I can chat to Chris about his fantastic beard, or the hustle and bustle of Sellers Wheel where I spent many many days serving flat whites.
Bragazzis is a bit like a hug in a mug for me. I spent a fun filled summer living above Bardwells Electronics which meant that Bragazzis was a stone’s throw away for me. Coffee and Croissants were a morning fixture.
Their coffee is undeniably good, but what’s also lovely is sitting in the leather chairs with a paper, a perfect americano and one of their sandwiches. Made on salty rosemary focaccia with authentic italian ingredients you could easily be in Verona and not bat an eyelid.
The staff are lovely and it’s been going forever. They must be doing something right
I don’t want to be one of those people. However, I remember when Forge opened. Way before the bigger cafe, when they were a tiny shop on Abbeydale road right near Brigazzis. I would purposely leave for work ten minutes early so that I would have time to grab a croissant to scoff on the bus.
It’s all just got so much better since they opened their proper cafe. Have you been for breakfast yet? No?! What’s wrong with you!? Sort your life out and get down there. Now.
Oh, and don’t miss out on their pizza nights, the arancini are to die for.
- Steam Yard Coffee
I’m thinking I might be a tad biased towards coffee. However, Steam Yard is lush. Very small so easily feels packed but the service is always attentive enough that it doesn’t matter. Coffee is great and they serve some of my favourite doughnuts going. Housemate is addicted to the apple and cinnamon one. The eclectic furniture and style feels cosy and comforting and the atmosphere is always creative and buzzing.