Caffe Nero – Milton Street

As usual Kerry had an Americano (£2.05) and I had a decaf latte (£2.45), one of the annoyances is that I have to pay 10p extra for choosing decaf, not a big amount of course but I’ve not encountered any other coffee shops that charge extra for it.

We both opted for muffins, I went for the white chocolate and raspberry whilst Kerry had a double chocolate variety. Mine was really nice, very soft underneath with a nice crisp top, aided by the sprinkling of sugar. Rather than the raspberry being a gooey centre or large lumps it seems to be more of a purée mixed into the mixture.

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Kerry’s chocolate muffin was nice and soft too, she didn’t eat it all but we carefully wrapped the remaining part and it was still soft a few hours later when she finished it.

The latte was rather bitter, with a couple of brown sugars it was much more appetising, although still not brilliant and possibly a little colder than would be expected. The Americano was nice, not amazing she said but she definitely enjoys her coffee stronger than me.

They were very busy but we managed to get a sofa (which I fell into as it was very soft) and then watched as people left just as the next customers were ready to sit down, unlike the Costa we visited a few weeks ago it wasn’t oppressively busy and we didn’t feel rushed to leave once our drinks had finished.

BHS – Broadmarsh Centre

We had a few places to go to at the end of Nottingham where the choices are a little more limited but Kerry had a hankering to try out BHS (British Home Stores).

I had a decaf latte (£2.20) and fruit scone with jam (£1.75) whilst Kerry had an Americano (£1.90) and a 5 item breakfast (£1.99). The service was a little slow, Kerry heard them saying it had been busier than they expected and we saw about 6 other tables being used out of a good 20, so clearly not a popular place! Even though it was breakfast time there was a 7 minute wait for bacon so Kerry had the last sausage instead.

The latte was okay, even though I am not a fan of strong coffee I thought it was weak. Kerry’s Americano was nice. Both were good sized for the prices paid too, no complaints on that side.

Her breakfast was okay, she was a little annoyed about bacon not being available and the fact that the toast was part of the 5 items whereas at Debenhams you get toast on top of however many items you have.

The scone was nice, I had blackcurrant jam on half of it and I had forgotten just how good it was, the scone did seem a bit mass produced as they had all looked too similar, the only choice was the type of jam.

The restaurant itself is dated, it wasn’t until we left that I realised that the general atmosphere and ambience left me feeling depressed! No windows in the restaurant, a few pictures of other items they serve and the shop sells and very little colour. To access the toilets you have to use a code from the receipt, which doesn’t give a great impression of the type of people who may try to use them otherwise.

We both decided that it isn’t somewhere we would willingly visit again, Kerry compared it to Debenhams as that is her current favourite place to eat breakfast at and it does not compare in the slightest.

Delilah – Victoria Street

Neither of us had ever been to Delilah before, I had often walked past both it’s old and new sparkly location but never felt confident enough to go in for a drink, it is rather posh after all! As well as a restaurant it is a food shop, very popular with a certain type of person and has won many awards. Being an independent shop it is the sort of place I would love to shop at if only I had the money.

We sat on the mezzanine, you have to be sat by a waitress which is nicer than having to fight for a seat as in many places. We chose seats overlooking the shop as Kerry loves to people watch and I am becoming more adept at pointing things out for her too. The waitress took our order and told us there may be a slight delay on the drinks as they were very busy, that was fine as at least we were warned.

We had our usual Americano (£2.10) and latte (£2.10) and it was refreshing that there is no choice of sizes to consider. As it is Easter I had a hot cross bun (£2.25) and Kerry had a plain croissant (£2.25). The drinks arrived no slower than they would in a non-waitress service restaurant, but the food took some time more. This was a shame as Kerry’s drink had noticeably cooled in that time, mine had not and I even managed to burn my lip, my own fault but that didn’t make it hurt any less.

The menu looked interesting, we only wanted drinks and a snack as it was mid-morning but there was a lot of interest to choose from, some of the specials looked tasty even if I may have had to ask what some of the ingredients actually were. Artisan sandwiches seem to be a speciality.

The latte was rather strong, forgot to ask for decaf too, but nice enough. The Americano was very average  too, apart from it getting cold a little quickly. The hot cross bun was nice but not worth the price, it was a little too sticky for me, I prefer then a bit more dense and less sweet, even with butter it didn’t help massively. The croissant was okay, very buttery even before any butter was added, and was a little too crisp for Kerry’s taste.

Overall we were a little disappointed, we had really high hopes for the place given that it is so smart, the staff were excellent, very friendly, but we just felt let down really, Kerry summed it up well by saying it was an experience, not in a bad way as such, more implying that at least we could say we had been, we just may not return too soon unless it was for something  a little more filling/experimental.

Druckers – Victoria Centre

Firstly we have a confession to make, Druckers is our favourite place to go for a coffee, that was one reason we started the blog, to make us try different places!

The drinks were the usual Americano (large £2.65) and latte (large £2.75), Kerry went for the apple cake (£2.70) with cream (an extra at 70p) and I had a Jap Fancy (£2.15). The Jap Fancy is an odd thing, it seems to refer to different things to different people, but for Druckers it is a meringue, cream/praline, crushed hazelnut combo.

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Kerry loved the apple cake and I really enjoyed the Jap fancy, the only problem with it is a structural one – the meringue is at the top and is harder that the cream/praline underneath, so it all squashes down and goes all over the plate, still really nice, just never try to eat with your hands!

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The coffees were really nice and the atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxed as always, we even got our usual table at the back where we can laugh at people trying to find the toilets – tip; they don;t have any, but the main ones for the shopping centre are right alongside.

We will be going back of course, drinks may stay the same but we are always open to trying the different cakes.

Debenhams – Market Square

Yesterday Kerry fancied a proper full English breakfast and her favourite place for this is currently Debenhams so we braved the snow, I slipped and slid and worried my way there in proper boots whilst she just trotted in her flat boots without issues!

Kerry had a 6 piece breakfast (£3.75) with an Americano (£2.05) and I went for a latte (£2.40) and a fruit scone (£1.69), as I have a Debenhams credit card we get 10% off all purchases in the restaurant, over time that adds up and is a nice little bonus, especially as they have the fairly standard card to stamp for a free drink after so many too.

The latte was lovely, very smooth, and the scone was good too, an odd shape which made buttering a bit tricky. Kerry’s breakfast looked awesome, and the toast that comes as standard (so technically you choose 6 items and get toast on top) was beautiful, not bog standard bread from a loaf but fresh white bread. She said the breakfast was awesome and I did feel a little jealous, her coffee was really nice too, although she was concentrating more on the food at the time!

One bonus with Debenhams is that it is on the third floor and overlooks the Market Square so if you can get a window seat you can look down on the world below – given the nasty weather thee wasn’t a lot to watch but still nicer than no view at all.

Costa – Friar Lane

This was a work day visit and they are always more enjoyable of course. We only had a short time so chose the closest coffee shop we could find which happened to be another Costa.

I had a decaf latte (£2.45) and a caramel shortbread (£1.80) and Kerry had an Americano (£2.20) and a Belgium brownie (£1.85). My drink was far superior to the last latte I had in a Costa, lovely and smooth, just wished I’d got a bigger cup! Kerry’s drink was okay, not as good as she has had previously but not actually bad.

The caramel shortbread was so good I wanted a second slice, the biscuit was slightly warm and so it crumbled to the bite. The brownie was nice but Kerry is more of a cake fan so this was something a bit different from her, she particularly enjoyed the white chocolate chunks.

The cafe itself was busy upstairs but the downstairs area was nice and quiet, and warm – which was good given that it was snowing outside.  This seems to be the best stand alone Costa in Nottingham at present, the staff were friendly and service was efficient.

Costa – Castle Marina

This was a pre-planned trip to Costa as it was on the way to other places we wanted to go to, being in an out of town retail park I didn’t expect it to be too busy but boy was I wrong!

it is not the largest place and it was packed, Kerry managed to grab the last table whilst I went to get the drinks – not totally sure on the etiquette of table bagging but as there wasn’t a queue at the counter I don’t think it was that wrong. Kerry had a medium white Americano (£2.20) and a chocolate muffin (1.80), I had a latte (£2.45) and Belgian Praline Tart (£1.95).

The staff seemed rather harassed and not too engaging, although when we needed extra milk that wasn’t a problem. The latte was nothing special, it was a bit gritty at the bottom and did seem rushed when it was being made. The Americano was strong, which was good as that is how she likes it, and as we were sat next to the sugar making it sweet was no issue.

The muffin was really soft and lovely, as they always seem to be from Costa, the praline tart was not what I expected, it was a little harder than I thought it would be, it was nice but more like a big biscuit than a tart so felt a little expensive.

Because it was so busy the atmosphere was a little oppressive, we didn’t feel like staying any longer than we had to. There were too many tables in a small space really and it felt like they didn’t want you to hang about, a feeling solidified by the fact that the table was cleaned whilst I was till sat at it.

This is a store which is not one to hang about in, it’s there because it fills a need, which is fine, unless you want to sit and relax over a nice drink of course.