Leaving Wells Cathedral at 4pm, having missed lunch and wanting an early tea, forgoing the lovely looking Wells Cathedral cafe as it did nothing other than cakes by mid afternoon, we almost immediately came upon this cafe. With an ideal situation, the first cafe after the cathedral, with pavement space for tables and an enviable position overlooking the cobbled square, no wonder this place thrives, though it is surely its position and nothing else that ensures it's still trading!
It was hard to tell whether there was one or two floors of seating, as the decor seemed to suggest there were two, but we were stopped before we had climbed the chair. Like so much here, it is all guess work! Apparently, it was just the ground floor and as all tables were taken, we almost left. However fate was to deal us a duff hand. An elderly couple said they were about to leave, and obviously seeing us with two small, slightly irritable children, decided that our afternoon needed making worse, and said we could have their table. We took a seat and looked through the menu - complete with spelling mistake, 10pts for spotting it - before the slightly irritated waitress came to ask for our order.
I've long got over the boring menus for kids in cafes - chips and beans are virtually de rigeur, and here was only slightly different, with fish fingers an option and also ham. Yes, ham. But no beans. Bizarre. So, we ordered one chips and fish fingers, and one chips and ham, plus cheese and pickle sandwiches and a jacket potato with chilli (menu warned it was hot and spicy). To drink, we ordered a milk, a juice, a coffee, a coke and a tea (my husband likes 2 drinks).
Before I say anymore, if you don't know this establishment, it has a tradition situation and air to it. Large glass window at the front, parquet-style floor, grand wooden staircase at the rear, you get the idea. The decoration is tradition but smart, two tone walls with dado rails, two way glass display at entrance and nice tables and chairs. However, the pictures on the walls are cheap faded ones, and the floor is badly in need of resealing. The grand staircase - which may or may not lead to another floor of tables - really needs a sign at the bottom of it, as does the discrete door leading to the toilets, again with no sign on it. As the waitress cheerfully told one customer she intercepted as she tried to head up the stairs looking for the toilets, "everyone thinks it's up there". So why not put a sign saying 'toilet' on the toilet door!! The attractive two way glass display cabinet is full of cheap china, and even worse, the china used is cheap too. My tea cup was slightly stained and the rim was slightly imperfect. Now I know, as an inhabitant of the pottery capital of the uk, that my standards are high, but frankly cheap china is an insult to the customer. Even supermarkets use decent catering china!
The food came after a suitable wait, and to be honest, I don't have that many complains about it - the salad was a bit limp but was garnished with fresh tomato, albeit one quarter each, plus one slither of red pepper each. The portions were good and the food was pleasant, however the children's chips were cheap and a bit greasy, and of course ham with chips is just wrong! The food has saved this 'brasserie' (ha!) from a poor rating. Would like to think the quality will improve, but to be honest, in such a good position, unless there is new management, I can't see it. Oh well.
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