Tag Archives: Cafe

Shou Shou Leamington Spa

Shou Shou has only recently opened in Leamington Spa so we decided to go on Saturday to have a little look and hopefully sample something delicious.  We didn’t actually know what sort of edible treat to expect as we had only seen a couple of interior pictures on facebook so we entered with open minds, when I first saw pictures of the interior of Shou Shou I originally thought it was  sister branch of another of Leamington Spas vintage style coffee shops and was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a new venture.

shou shou


From the outside Shou Shou looks very pretty and chic, the sort of place you would visit for afternoon tea surprisingly this didn’t put Mr Gourmand off as he’s quite in touch with his feminine side!

plate decoration


I love the vintage plate decoration adorning the wall, it seems really popular with coffee shops at the moment to have vintage crockery and I’m certainly not complaining as I love it.  There are a lot of pastel colours used in Shou Shou which really do add to the chic feel I assume they are trying to portray, the lilac painted chair was a winner for me.



The menu is quite simple but contains something for all tastes, there is a good selection of breakfast items, cold sandwiches, paninis, salads and of course Afternoon tea, we were too late for breakfast and too early for lunch so decided to sample a cake instead.



The cakes on display all looked delicious and I was torn between the Frangipan or Zucchini and Lime cake, Mr Gourmand was saving himself for lunch so suggested I pick a cake we could both try. Don’t you hate it when this happens? I knew that half of my cake would be eaten so if I’d been clever I should have picked something he didn’t like just to prove a point!

zucchini and lime cake


We both went for an Americano and I selected the Zucchini and Lime cake which was delicious and tasted home made, the cake was moist but didn’t fall apart when you put your fork in it.  There was a layer of lime curd sandwiching the cake together and buttercream icing topped off the cake.  Mr Gourmand originally turned up his nose when he found out the cake contained a vegetable but quickly realised you couldn’t taste it and the cake was too delicious to even care about the ingredients.  The owner of Shou Shou asked how we were enjoying the cake so I took my chance to ask if they were made in house which is always a big bonus for me, they are actually handmade but by a lady who supplies to the coffee shop which is great as I love small business supporting other small businesses.

You can find Shou Shou Cafe at 135 Regent Street, Leamington Spa

Gusto Ricco – Leamington Spa


Gusto Ricco is a bit of a tardis, it’s tiny from the outside but there is seating for many people inside although some of the tables are very close together.  There is a very rustic feel to the cafe making it feel very authentic, the decor is very traditional with lots of wood.  We climbed the stairs upstairs which would be a struggle for some people as they are quite tight and found a lovely little table for two in the corner.



After browsing the menu I decided that I was slightly hungrier than I had anticipated and chose to have the Lasagna, on first glance I thought that the small brown bowl wouldn’t even fill a small gap but boy was I wrong!  The Lasagna was filled with meat and sauce and was so delicious I can still taste the flavours.  The pesto oil on top just added to the flavour and the chunk of bread on the side was fabulous for mopping up the juices left in the bowl.


Mr Gourmand had polished off a huge breakfast a couple of hours earlier so Pizza Bruschetta was all he could manage however it was a much bigger portion than he expected. Layered with pepperoni, tomato and cheese and served with a simple salad and crisps it was definitely not a light lunch.



Mr Gourmand was in a coffee kind of mood and being an Italian cafe the coffee was very good, just as expected and came with an amaretto biscuit which I was quick to steal as they are my favourite kind of biscuit. I had a bog standard Coca Cola which to my delight was served in a glass bottle – why does it always taste better out of a bottle?  We will definitely be visiting this gem of a place again, there is no room for prams or pushchairs so Arthur will have to be worn in a carrier should we visit with him.



Gusto Ricco Cafe can be found at 65 Regent St, Town Centre, Leamington Spa CV32 5DX.

Cafe One 20 – Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Cafe One in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, has been recommended to me a few times, and Mr Gourmand has been there with friends and raves about the place. He loves a place where he feels welcome, sometimes its the staff, other times the feel of a place just being right, well, for this place he seemed to think it had it all. I’ll be the judge of that! So, one morning Mr Gourmand suggested we visit it with his mam for an early morning coffee, and maybe breakfast…who are we kidding, of course breakfast!


bagel bagels

I went for a Breakfast bagel which came with scrambled egg and hash browns…slightly odd, but not as odd as the salad with dressing….hmm, a breakfast that thinks it’s a lunch, well, it was really quite nice, the scrambled eggs were done just as I asked and for a cheap price, yea, it was a pretty nice breakfast. I left the salad tho!

breakfast pancakes

Mr Gourmand and his mam thought what the heck and went for the Pancakes. Now, myself and Mr Gourmand don’t disagree on much, well actually we do, so this didn’t come as a surprise. The argument on this occasion is this – he doesn’t care what type of pancakes you get when you order ‘breakfast pancakes’, personally, I think if they are not proper ‘american style’ then what is the point! but ok, he ordered it so let’s get on with it. He enjoyed it, the scrambled egg was excellent and the bacon delicious, maybe slightly let down by the cheapish sausages that I don’t really think places can get away selling these days when most cafes have really upped the sausage quality game, but, it was cheap, cheerful, served nice coffee and had a great lunch menu, so would I try this place again? why not, but there may be a few other places I try first before coming back!

If you fancy trying this place out you can find Cafe One 20 at 120 Heaton Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5HN

The Vine Cafe – Newcastle

Situated in Old Eldon Square, Newcastle The Vine Cafe is a perfect place to pop into during a shopping trip.


The cafe would comfortably seat 26 people however the management seem to have thought that more seats mean more money and due to this have made the seating arrangements rather cramped.

The table we were sat at was perfect for two however 4 chairs were around the table which would make it rather uncomfortable had everybody being having a main course.

The Cafe offers a large selection of food such as Jacket Potato, Quiche, Panini’s, Sandwiches and hot specials such as Mince and Dumplings.  A large breakfast menu is offered and vegetarians are catered for.

Mr Gourmand had the Carrot and Coriander soup (£2.95) which was a very generous portion served with a crusty wedge of bread.  He though the soup was delicious and had just the right amount of spice without being overpowering.  Surprisingly Mr Gourmand found the soup very filling and said he wouldn’t hesitate to have this again.

I opted for the Tuna toasted sandwich (2.95) which was served with a dressed salad and homemade coleslaw.  Quite often when you order a sandwich from a cafe you get a sandwich on the plate and nothing else.  It was lovely to receive the extras on the plate and for the price I thought the meal was well worth it.

The two dishes and two filter Coffees came to £7.70.

The Vine cafe is open from 8am – 5pm.

Urban Coffee House – Jesmond

The Urban Coffee House is situated at 6 Brentwood Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne. For those that don’t live in the Jesmond area, the Urban Coffee House is a 2 min walk from West Jesmond metro station and accessible by car. Directions can be found here.
I like to go for coffee so much so that I’m ashamed to admit I probably do this 6 times a week. I don’t want to add up how much I’d save if I drank it in the house because it’s not the same! You don’t get the same taste at home or the atmosphere that you get from a coffee shop.
The Urban Coffee House is not a huge café but can comfortably seat about 18 people inside with further outside seating. One thing that stands out is the huge range of drinks on offer.  The Urban Coffee House claim to do the best milkshakes in the world, which is an ambitious claim; I can’t comment on this as due to my erratic stomach problems I’m no longer able to eat ice cream and these milkshakes contain half a litre!! Food wise the Urban Coffee House offer a selection of soups, Panini’s, sandwiches, cakes and biscuits. 
Mini Gourmand chose the big bacon butty Panini with tomato sauce (£2.90) washed down with a still water (£1.40). I had a Fish Finger sandwich with tartar sauce from the specials menu (specials prices range from £2.50 – £3.90) and an Americano (£2.15).
Mini Gourmand’s Panini contained two large slices of bacon with the fat removed; she only managed to eat half as the portion was so large!
My fish fingers were concealed in a lovely soft bread roll; the sharpness of the tartar sauce was a welcome accompaniment to the sweetness of the bread and the soft fish.
Both the bacon and fish fingers were served warm which was disappointing as I know from working in the food industry that reheated food should reach a core temperature of 75°C or above. I think the Urban Coffee House really needs to heat the hot sandwich fillings separately to the bread to allow this to happen.

Both myself and Mini Gourmand had the same criticism, it wasn’t about the actual sandwiches we had ordered but about the salad.  I understand that it’s not always convenient or cost effective to make a salad yourself but the bagged salad on our plate was rather boring, there was no dressing making the salad dry, I personally wouldn’t have put it on the plate.
The Urban Coffee House score highly on the environmental front as they buy and use bio-degradable plastic packaging and their paper and cardboard products are all recycled.

Opening times are Monday – Saturday: 8AM – 6PM Sunday: 10AM – 5PM