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Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

All You Read is Love pop-up bookshop/cafe review

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm

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So two weeks in a row I get to be a cool hunter and comment on what the Twitterati are gabbling about!

All You Read is Love is a bookshop/cafe that seems to have been opening for over a year now. They’ve been active online for some time. The first I recall hearing of them was during last year’s food festival in the Summer. They were intending to open a Scandinavian bookshop/cafe… and that never seemed to happen. Which is odd as the recently opened 56 and Lavender Village openings have shown there are plenty of small retail units available around the stow within easy reach of the High Street.

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As part of the councils jolly positive pop-up business plan AYRIL have opened for three weeks in a council owned shop in Hoe Street along from the junction with Church Hill. We went there when Massis tea and a cake stall set up for a couple of weeks, which were nice. AYRIL have made much more of an effort fitting the shop – obviously no structural changes but hey have added lots of art and furnishings to make it more cosy and personalised. Very much in the shabby chic style favoured by 56 and the Chequers pub. Hopefully there will be a business opening locally with really nice furniture for a change! Still, the style is very homely.

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I went with my partner and her parents for lunch.Most of us went for the salmon rolls which had a lovely soft cheese and came in a quality crusty roll. My partner went for the crisp bread with jam. They also do other fillings for rolls, hummus and a salad. Not a huge selection but well done. I didn’t get an opinion on the coffee but unlike 56 last week they did have Earl Grey tea!

One of us had a lovely looking cheese cake. I say ‘looking’ as it wasn’t me; after seeing it I wish it was.

They also had Kopperberg ciders and Mikkeller ales. In keeping with the Nordic theme but I was surprised they had an alcohol licence.

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They had a number of books for sale. There was one bookcase of second hand books and two opposite with new books. Unlike most shops which mix new and old stock I really appreciated that they had separated the two. For me as a reader I like to know which I’m buying. While the second hand case was a mix the new looked to focus on crime (especially the fashionable ‘Scandewegian’ genre) and a number of classic novels. My partner said it couldn’t be a proper Scandinavian bookshop without Moomin books. We found some at the back, so AYRIL has full credentials!

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I can see AYRIL being a success as a cafe. They just have to find good premises for a permanent basis. As a bookshop I don’t think they’ll worry Waterstones. They have a distinct focus on book type; I’d love to see them having promotional events to promote new, unknown authors in those genres.

56 Cafe Review

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm

So, yeah, long time no post.

My partner and I went to the new cafe, ’56’, on St James Street this weekend. The Twitterati had be talking about it for the two days it had been open.

It’s on a street corner in a shop which used to be a solicitor’s. The tinted windows aren’t really inviting; there have been other cafes which obscured the view inside. In this case they are a left over from the previous tenants and a costly element to replace.

On Saturday the front door was wide open; inviting to customers but also the noise from the busy traffic. The décor is a shabby chic the high point of which is a large collection of National Geographic magazines on a high shelf. There is a mix of tables and chairs and some nice antique tiling around the door.

They were quite busy, probably on the back of the internet hype. However their lunch menu consisted of a £5 salad which was just salad, no bread or sides and ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches. I went for the latter and on discovering they had no Earl Grey tea went for a posh lemonade.

Apparently the coffee is excellent but as I don’t like coffee not really a bonus that attracts me. They also have some cake.

Frankly I think it needs a lot of work before it’s worth making the extra effort to get there from the high street.