Caffeine and Co – Longford Park, Stretford

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Having thoroughly enjoyed my visit to And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon in the Park  I am a fairly recent convert to the café in a park idea. There is nothing like it near where I live and I assumed Didsbury was the only place with such a delight nestled in the green and leafy environment. I love nothing more than wandering to my local coffee shop with my book for some quality ‘me’ time and a decent café in the middle of a park is just perfect for just that. I mean, I have to look at the traffic of the A6 speeding by in the background of my coffee shop. Greenery is much prettier. So with a week off work and few plans I met my friend Laura for a spot of lunch at Caffeine and Co in Longford Park, Stretford.

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Not being a coffee fan I was worried they may not cater for me but that wasn’t the case. Not only was I given the option of milk or dark hot chocolate, I could have chosen from a selection of freshly made cool drinks too. Laura opted for a cappuccino whilst I went for the milk option of hot chocolate.

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Ever a sucker for something pretty I love the patterns they created on top of the drinks and the children in the café did too considering the cooing and ‘ooo’s’ heard when a nearby mother put her drink down at her table. My milk hot chocolate was thick and gloopy, just the way it should be, with no need for cream or marshmallow to hide a ‘fake’ chocolate taste. It did have a slight bitter taste which made me wonder what the dark chocolate version would be like, I must give it a try to compare. Laura’s cappuccino must have been good because it was gone in seconds!

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Laura has recently started a new diet regime which means she can’t eat many carbohydrates for a while. She was worried that this would mean she couldn’t enjoy lunch with me and would be sat nursing a brew whilst I stuffed my face. This didn’t phase Caffeine and Co, oh no, a hot steaming bowl of butternut squash soup was ordered whilst I went for the pastrami bagel with cheese and gherkins.

Laura was a little gutted she couldn’t enjoy some bread to dunk in her soup but it was thick, hot and creamy from the addition of a sprinkle of cheese. It looked gorgeous and I wasn’t getting a look in, it was gone before I could even ask. My bagel was slightly toasted so the cheese had started to melt on the inside. Ever a fan of New York I’m usually disappointed with a pastrami bagel anywhere else in the world but this one comes close. The gherkins were fat, the pastrami plentiful and the bagel nice and sweet. Perfect for a girlie gossip over a light lunch.

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The cakes were clearly a thing of beauty here and, sorry Laura, but there was no way I was leaving without trying one. I was torn between the beautifully dainty cupcakes and this slab of lemon drizzle cake but the latter won. I have cupcakes regularly and they are usually my first choice so thought I’d try something a bit different to the norm. I had to eat it fast so as not to upset Laura too much *ahem* but the loaf style cake was moist with a nice sugar crust on top. I’d have liked a bit more ‘zing’ from lemon as it was more sweet then citrus in flavour, that’s my own taste for you though.

I was sad to leave the relaxed surroundings of Longford Park and will be returning to this lovely little café with my book in the near future. In fact, they are opening in Spinningfields soon, somewhere else for me to get a decent hot chocolate in the city and read my book. I better stock up my library…

I was invited to Caffeine and Co as a guest but this hasn’t affected my review, my views are honest and are my personal opinion of the café on the day.

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