One of a select band of independent coffee options in Chester, the Jaunty Goat is in some ways representative of the city as a whole in its merits and flaws. Its in an attractive location on upper bridge street and the outdoor seating is a definite virtue at this time of year, yet on entering there is a distinct feel that the tropes of an aspiring hipster coffee bar have been repackaged for a provincial conservative crowd. Self aware quirky name? tick. Food served on wonky wooden chopping boards? tick. Surface before substance? An enormous tick!
The interior feels sleek but not particularly welcoming: the stools and high level tables clearly take their cue from continental espresso bars where people get their caffeine hit and leave, but they're certainly not comfortable for relaxing/eating with friends and i'm not convinced such an espresso drinking culture exists in this kind of locality. Likewise the seating by the broad window below street level seems more suited to being seen than watching the street, in keeping with the mildly pretentious aura that pervades this place.
On our 2/3 visits we've tried the velvet cake and chocolate brownies, both admittedly very good. The coffee which is often a key element to these places is good without being spectacular, the flat white had a great texture but the latte wasn't sufficiently hot - i can understand a desire to avoid burning the milk but lukewarm isn't anybody's cup of tea(or coffee!). The staff are polite but disengaged in a kind of public school way, and i'd hazard a guess the owner is male judging from the female staff looking like they've been chosen from a Hollister/A&F commercial!
Ultimately this place is a step up from the chains, and in a city that's still largely conservative with a big and little C i'm sure there's a receptive crowd for what they offer but i personally prefer a more inclusive, warm and comfortable environment to get my caffeine fix!
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