When I heard that East Side and independent artisan delicatessen and organic coffee house was opening near us, I was excited. Finally, a coffee house that was not part of an ever-growing chain. I was also delighted to hear that it was being opened by one of the teaching assistants from my daughter’s school. Isn’t it inspiring to hear that people are following their dreams?
My daughter and I visited East Side on 31st of October and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. From following the progress of the shop fitting, I knew that East Side was a deli/coffee house inspired by a New York deli. Having never been to New York I was delighted to find that it was just like the Big Apple Deli’s of my imagination.
Decorated in what I would consider an industrial chic style with a mixture of vintage inspired and modern pieces it felt inviting and just a little bit posh. Rather than pandering to a coffee shop chain, it felt as if each piece of furniture and decoration had been loving chosen with much consideration. The brick wall look wallpaper and canvases depicting scenes of yellow taxi cabs and city views sparked the imagination and I felt as if I could indeed be in New York. Add in old blue eye, Frank Sinatra himself crooning in the background and just walking in felt special. I was also pleased to see that the Halloween decorations were carefully selected and fitted the scheme well.
East Side is proud of its Ethos which includes providing good quality British produce and fairer than fair trade organic coffee, while being mindful of farm to fork miles and using recyclable packaging wherever possible. It’s lovely to see so much thought go into an independent enterprise.
Although there were no menus on the tables, was so much on offer via the old-fashioned chalk board and at the counter. Everything from slices of cake to caramelised onions and goats cheese pies. Even a few homemade pork pies. On offer were also a selection of American style sandwiches on bread of your choice.
Since my daughter is on a dairy free diet, I asked about dairy free options and was delighted to find the owners were very knowledgeable about what was in their products. They even offered vegan spread for the sandwich. Gluten free bread options were also available, those with intolerances and allergies will be happy to know.
My daughter enjoyed a malted bread ham sandwich and a blackcurrant cordial. The ham was thankfully not one of those horrible reconstituted loaves but looked rather like a slice of ham cut straight from a ham joint. It was thick and meaty and tasted delicious.
I didn’t fancy any of the options on the menu that day and asked if I could have a custom sandwich of bacon, brie and caramelised onion toasted on ciabatta bread and was happily accommodated. It was utterly delicious! I also had the nicest latte I have possibly ever had. The coffee had such a smooth flavour and left no bitter after taste like some large coffee chains. The owners informed me that they had tried this coffee blend two years ago and had been so impressed with it they knew they had to serve it in their deli.
In the fridges, a large selection of local charcuterie and cheeses to buy all of which the owners were happy to talk about and recommend. There was also local honey and jams. The fridge by the counter had a large selection of pork pies, pasties, pastries and cakes as well as some gluten free options either to eat in or take away for later. What a lovely idea to stop in for a coffee but take home a dinner of charcuterie and cheese. Add a bottle of wine and some crackers and you’ve got a low fuss dinner.
The only down side I could see is that East Side might not be the best place to take small children. Being on the snug side, the tables that are perfect for adult dining would not be able to accommodate buggies and there is limited space on the floor for little ones to play. But on the other hand, it’s not really a kiddie sort of place.
I am so happy to have such a gem in our little town and look forward to my next visit.