On Saturday mornings my typical routine is to go into town to buy fruit and vegetables, have a look around the market and visit the other shops. Part of the ritual is to get a coffee and maybe a bite to eat. Ashbourne is not short of choices. When you get to know the place you can pick the cafe to suit your mood.
There’s a lot of cafes – and lots of people who like using cafes – but it’s clearly competitive too. We’ve lost Spencer’s cafe, Coffee Stop and H Smith too but gained Cafe Impromptu, Dillons, and Sticky Fingers.
H Smith used to do the finest sausage sandwiches using White Peak sausages. Currently Bennett’s is our default place to go. It does good coffee – often with a nice home baked biscuit on the side. They also have a good selection of cakes – order one between two because you’ll never finish one on your own! The setting is light and bright and in summer the tables by the window are great. In winter the fire is very inviting. Service is generally excellent. With Dillon’s being opened just down the street and run by the same owners it will be interesting to see how this pans out.
The Gallery has some great food – not sure if they still have them but the cinnamon toast is delicious. The Gallery is a good place to sit surrounded by some great works of art. Its been a winner in the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards before. The Gingerbread cafe is a must when the weather turns cold and wet. The bakery wafts lovely smells across the cafe and the tables are huddled up close to each other. If you want to feel snug it’s the place to go. The highlights are the doorstep toast and the custard tarts.
For a change we tried Courtyard Cafe in the building that used to be Cafe K. I hadn’t been since it changed ownership. The first thing that struck me was the welcome – smiling faces all round. Downstairs there is a small counter showing off the cakes and two tables. Upstairs there is a lot more seating – and in the summer there is seating outside.
The second thing I noticed was the menu. The choice is huge and good value. The basics are good – good coffee, including syrups, a choice of five hot chocolates and soft drinks. They’ve got everything to keep the youngest and oldest happy.
The next thing is breakfast. To me it is easily the best breakfast menu in Ashbourne. They do all the usual breakfast food, eggs any way, as either a breakfast on a plate, in a toastie, and oatcake or in a bap. There’s also a big choice of jacket potatoes and sandwiches. The daily specials are good cafe food and there are six types of local pie. Everything is at reasonable prices.
The cafe is tucked away behind Bennett’s and doesn’t benefit from the passing trade some of the other cafes get.
Give it a try for good value, fresh food using local produce served with a friendly smile.