Saturday 2 July 2011

Writer in Residence at Delicious, Lutterworth

I spent a very pleasant afternoon at Delicious yesterday. Lutterworth anyway is a charming little spot and really lends itself to this type of café. It does face competition from nearby Morrisons and Costas, but it also offers something a bit different.“I like to come here to relax and think,” says one customer.
It certainly is tranquil, with the door open on to the street and a pleasant breeze coming in on a warm July afternoon. Is this its unique selling point? Or is it the Tea-Pigs tea, with the fuller leaves in little silk bags. The packets are roughly twice as much as you’d pay in a supermarket, but the flavours are more than twice as good. I tried the mint and liquorice. Delicious indeed. I was rather temped also by the chocolate leaves but refrained. I’d already tried their coffee and one of their gorgeous lunch-time sandwiches. The coffee is far smoother than that served at Costas or Starbucks. All the cakes are home-made and on offer yesterday were lemon-drizzle cake, fun-looking cupcakes and a rather tempting fruit cake. The café has a good lunch time trade, both takeaway and eat in, and they also supply catering-items – including pirate-ship and teddy-bear-shaped baking tins.
Delicious is just beginning to become a Creative Café. Well, I was there for one thing. They keep a basket full of arts information. They could easily accommodate a writing or reading group, a small book launch or a poetry reading, perhaps as a private function in the evening. A sensible pattern might be to ask a group to pay the staff’s wages that evening. They’d sell drinks and snacks. People who’d not been before are introduced to the café. Everyone wins.
There is a little alcove / room at the back of the café. There are a few children’s toys there. This could make an ideal meeting space. Or it could be where the Writer in Residence offers writing surgeries.
I chatted to a few people – including two members of staff – one a creative writing student, the other an avid reader. I realise that I need to have some more leaflets printed.

Friday 1 July 2011

Revisiting the Angel, CreEATion Café, Salford

The Angel Café Salford, with its subtitle, crEATion, is one of the first cafés to come into the Creative Cafe Project. It sells really good food at really reasonable prices. It’s generally healthy food, though the portions are huge; the café serves street-workers. I mean traffic wardens, road-builders, BTOpenreach workers and so on. A lot of local people also use the café. Meetings are held and projets set up. It becomes a creative café by default.
I visited the other day. As I was going out for a meal in the evening, I decided just to have a snack. That is not always easy at the Angel café. They really do cater for big appetites. I settled for the soup – spicy tomato. Delicious! Every time I go, I resolve to go more often. The food is so good and it’s such good value, and the atmosphere is really pleasant. It’s just a short walk from my office at Salford University.
The café is still being creative and it is still supporting the arts. The muzak was a pleasant swing. The counter from which food is served is covered in pieces of old sheet music. The walls act as a gallery displaying local art work. This work is for sale, so the café is directly aiding the creative practitioners. There is a notice board with posters of local arts events and a rack containing pamphlets. There are more in the foyer which is also the reception area to the Angel Centre. Most tables contain some reading material – a free newspaper, a book that someone has crossed, or more arts information.
Yes, the CrEATion Café is certainly being creative.