There’s nothing quite like sipping a hot coffee in front of a roaring fire. But when you’re doing it sitting on a couch that’s been made from the bonnet of a car, well that’s something else entirely.
That’s the quirkiness of my latest wee find, Crème de la Crème, a French-inspired café bistro with a contemporary twist.
The red brick walls, Moulin Rouge-style decoupage, pendant lighting and mismatch chairs give an air of je ne sais quoi.
Actually, I’m surprised I remember that as the last time I spoke any French was when I was a hip young thing at school.
But it’s amazing how, even after all these years, it just takes a little spark to being it all flooding back.
It’s mobbed when we arrive on a weekday afternoon. My eagle-eyed companion however spots a couple just leaving the funky car sofa and swoops in to grab the spot.
That’s the thing about Crème de la Crème…the cosy café has had to fit into the square footage of an old bike shop, so space is a little tight.
A cheery waitress approaches to take our order. She returns promptly with two lattes, made with beans from artisan roasters Deer Green, a warm welcome on a windy day.
While sipping our drinks, we browse the menu.
Many of the good things in life come from France… Champagne, cheese, even the basics of the metric system.
And the same can be said for Crème de la Crème’s menu. There’s a stern nod to French fine dining, with moules mariniere, cassoulet de haricots, foie de poulet and boeuf de Bourguignon, alongside simple soups and sandwiches.
Eyeing up the dessert cabinets filled with Parisian-style patisseries, I decide to save room for later and opt for a lentil soup and chicken sandwich combo.
The soup comes in a skillet-style bowl, which keeps it warm right up until the last spoonful, a novel idea.
My companion has a smoked salmon baguette, which also gets the thumbs up.
There are cakes and cones, already too much to choose from. And that’s before I spot the glass cabinet filled with real fruit ice lollies.
The white chocolate and caramel cake, fruit tarts and chocolate eclairs look to die for, but I have a job to do so I shun the fancy bakes in favour of a simple scone.
And when it arrives, as always, I’m glad I did. When you’ve eaten as many scones as I have, you know how to separate the best from the rest.
This one is everything a scone should be. Firm on the outside, soft and moist on the inside. It’s simply divine.
By the time I get to the second half, the raspberry macaron across the table has been devoured. I didn’t get a taste.
As we leave, the sun is coming out so I treat myself to a vanilla cone with fudge pieces on top.
It certainly hits the spot – and provides a much-needed cool down after all that time spent by the fire!
Warm and friendly. The roaring fire is an added bonus on a cold day. 8/10
Easy to reach on foot from the train station or by car. You won’t miss it. 8/10
There are plenty of fancy flavours when it comes to the cakes, but a traditional scone is always a winner. Tasty 8/10