We were doing a food shop this weekend when, whilst in the bakery section, Lily saw some fondant covered 'character themed' birthday cakes. She let out a shrill and dragged me over to them saying how much she'd like one for her birthday. My reply was 'Your birthday is not until March and I will NEVER 'buy' a cake, I will always make your birthday cakes'. What ever was she thinking.
But it's true, as a keen baker of cakes, I tend not to buy them. However that has recently changed since discovering a 'proper' cake eatery on my doorstep; Treacle & Co. It isn't somewhere I hang out regularly, it's a place for a treat every now and again. I've been a few times now and it never fails to disappoint.
The cakes are simply amazing. They look too perfect; too pretty to eat. The display of cakes that you are met with when entering the cafe can be difficult for those who find decisive thinking a challenge. Lavender victoria sponge with vanilla buttercream and fresh berries, a rich chocolate beetroot cake, banana & whisky loaf cake with pistachios and chocolate chips, treacle tart with clotted cream and raspberries, very gooey salt caramel tart; they all sound so tempting don't you think? I ought to add they they also do a breakfast and lunch menu too, but for me it's tea and cake every time.
I can't praise the food enough. But it's the decor that's completely and utterly spot on too. Even the staff that work there look the part; like models out of the latest Cath Kidston brochure. I love the old 'Birds Eye' tiles they've used on the walls, the animal table lights and the pretty window displays that always catch my eye when I walk by. Cake's are served on pretty vintage plates with dainty cake forks and the menu's written on old blackboards. Piles of cookbooks line the shelves as do a number of specialist teas that you can buy to take home. Plus there is always a pile of daily newspapers to browse through and they have highchairs and the odd kid's picture book for any young diners.
On the occasions that I have been in, I have taken either Lily or Arthur and they have loved it. Lily is old enough to appreciate all the decorative touches too. She'll always end our time at the cafe with a trip to their WC. Really? you may be thinking. But this loo has been beautifully wallpapered with the black and white pages of a vintage animal encyclopedia and Lily loves to pick out her favourite animals. It's all part of the experience for her.
This little cafe offers a bit of sugar-coated escapism. Maybe it is just me, but as I step into this cafe I feel like I am stepping into another world, Mr Benn style. It's vintage, it's retro, it's nostalgic, it's warm and cosying. It's done so well, it feels sincere, not at all staged. It really does prove that a treat of tea and cake once in a while is good for the soul. Very good indeed.