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“Painful presently, but has potential ...”
Review of Cakes and Ale - CLOSED

Cakes and Ale
Price range: US$4 - US$20
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly
Dining options: Lunch, After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Cakes and Ale is an independently owned and managed cafe offering modern European food with influences from North Africa and the Middle East.We are open Monday - Saturday from 8am to 10 pm.Please see our website for full details and FAQs which address any substantial issues raised in reviews on this site.
Reviewed 15 June 2013

I was really looking forward to this place opening as the PR material suggested real promise and a great ethos and it may well get there, but it's far from the mark at the moment.

They're seemingly going for a shabby-chic and raw eclectic feel in regard to decor and it could work really well, but it's too rough around the edges and slapdash at the moment so it's appearing rush-finished rather than worn-in.

To their credit, they're participating in a scheme to employ young people out of work to help them gain experience before going into the mainstream market and for that they should be applauded - but the lack of supervision means that it's not proving effective. These young people are very pleasant but they do lack experience and initiative - this isn't their fault, but if the owners spent more time hands-on with their staff and less time sitting and chatting with their friends, then not only would the young people flourish but so too would the business.

On our arrival, it wasn't clear whether it was table-service or if we had to go to the counter. There wasn't a menu on our table so after about five minutes we went up to the counter where three of the staff were standing talking in order to find out how the place operated. We were informed that it was indeed table service and to take a seat. The staff member returned with one menu and we had to ask for a second. On perusing it, we soon discovered that its daytime food was in the price region of a gastro pub with sandwiches coming in at around £6.50. We opted for the High Tea which was promoted as scones, cakes, finger sandwiches, glasses of Prosecco and a pot of tea for £15.50 for two.

Upon its arrival we had to query the missing Prosecco and the staff member had to be shown the menu before she went to get it. When we asked where the cream and jam was for the scones, we were told they only came with butter. Now we've had A LOT of cream teas over the years and it is completely unheard of for scones to come with only butter. The sandwiches were more tiny squares than fingers and the bread had clearly oxygenated and become stale. It may well have been fresh that morning, but by late afternoon it had a distinct dry roughness to it.

We so desperately wanted to fall in love with this place for all that they're trying to do, but they really do need to address these shortcomings. The owners were present while we were there, but they were sat talking with friends rather than providing any kind of leadership or direction to their willing albeit inexperienced staff.

I do hope things turn around and we'll watch with interest.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank NickyWiltshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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