Café Boscanova

Café Boscanova is the perfect find on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I suspect it would be the perfect find whatever the weather, but I can only comment on my first-hand experience. Perhaps I should come back to test a range of weather conditions. I also suspect that it would be the perfect find regardless of the time of day, except perhaps the evening, when it is inconveniently shut…

Boscombe, on the Dorset coast, is not perhaps where I would first look for top notch coffee, but acting on a tip-off, I sought out Café Boscanova. It looked promising from the outside, but on stepping inside I was sold. Wooden floors, brick walls, stuff everywhere: it’s a very busy, lively and above all fun place. The staff might be the happiest I’ve seen in a coffee shop and their enthusiasm is infectious.  The coffee is outstanding, the food interesting (in a good way). Really, the only thing I can fault it for is being 100 miles away from my house…

March 2015: Café Boscanova is now open on Wednesdays! You can also check out what Café Boscanova calls its “specialist coffee outlet”, South Coast Roast, over in Bournemouth.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Cafe Boscanova, a warm and welcoming place on a wet and windy afternoon.
  • The view from the back of the cafe, with the counter on the right.
  • You can sit by the window or you can sit outside as well. Maybe not today though...
  • The business end of Cafe Boscanova. The only free table I could find was right at the back.
  • The view from my table.
  • I also got a good view of the baristas at work. I quite enjoyed sitting there.
  • Rather than cluttering up the table, the menus are conveniently hung around the cafe.
  • I don't know who Emma Webster is, but I know where she's coming from!
  • I like the use of coffee sacks for decoration.
  • So down to business. There's cake, but sadly I didn't get a chance to try any this time.
  • Count the grinders... One grinder, two grinder, three grinders...
  • Finally, here's my espresso, along with a glass of water which arrived without asking.
  • The espresso was so good, it's worth having a closer look.
  • My espresso eyes its origins...
  • And then casts its eye over the rest of the room.
  • And here's the pancakes... Yum!
  • Best coffee on the Bosca del Sol? I think Cafe Boscanova is under-selling itself. Best coffee on the Dorset Coast? Maybe the best coffee in Dorset... I think more testing is required :-)
Cafe Boscanova, a warm and welcoming place on a wet and windy afternoon.1 The view from the back of the cafe, with the counter on the right.2 You can sit by the window or you can sit outside as well. Maybe not today though...3 The business end of Cafe Boscanova. The only free table I could find was right at the back.4 The view from my table.5 I also got a good view of the baristas at work. I quite enjoyed sitting there.6 Rather than cluttering up the table, the menus are conveniently hung around the cafe.7 I don't know who Emma Webster is, but I know where she's coming from!8 I like the use of coffee sacks for decoration.9 So down to business. There's cake, but sadly I didn't get a chance to try any this time.10 Count the grinders... One grinder, two grinder, three grinders...11 Finally, here's my espresso, along with a glass of water which arrived without asking.12 The espresso was so good, it's worth having a closer look.13 My espresso eyes its origins...14 And then casts its eye over the rest of the room.15 And here's the pancakes... Yum!16 Best coffee on the Bosca del Sol? I think Cafe Boscanova is under-selling itself. Best coffee on the Dorset Coast? Maybe the best coffee in Dorset... I think more testing is required :-)17
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Café Boscanova took a bit of finding, but that may be down to my ineptitude. It’s at the Christchurch end of Boscombe’s pedestrianised main street and I went the other way, ending up walking the entire length of the street in my search. At least I can confirm that Café Boscanova is by far the most attractive-looking option amongst a number of independents and major chains and definitely worth finding.

I loved the layout and atmosphere. There is a bar down one side and tables down the other, with a row of small tables in the middle and a few more by the front window. Had it not been blowing a gale and pouring with rain, I suspect that they would have put the outside tables up, which would have been equally nice. It was packed when I was there and consequently loud, but in a good way, with a hum of conversation and lots of laughter, complimenting rather than competing with the bass-heavy music coming over the speakers. It’s not really my thing, but it fitted the atmosphere perfectly.

Best of all, Café Boscanova is passionate about its coffee, with three grinders (regular, decaf and guest beans). The staff are very knowledgeable and not afraid to offer their opinion: my order was politely corrected and quite right too. If the bean I had originally chosen had made a better espresso than the one I had, it would have been out of this world. Unfortunately I was already over-caffeinated that day so couldn’t try my original choice as a filter coffee, which is how it was recommended.

My resulting espresso was delightfully short and arrived, as if by magic, in a glass with an accompanying glass of water.  It was surprisingly sweet, sweet not being something I associate with espresso. On my first sip I really wasn’t very sure that it was to my taste, but after downing the full shot, I was converted.

I also had lunch, being tempted by the Corn Stacks: polenta and sweetcorn pancakes, with chilli jam and Chipotle Mayo, on top of greens and tomatoes and topped off with a poached egg. A less promising combination, I can’t readily imagine. It was, in fact, so unpromising that I assumed it had to be brilliant, otherwise no-one in their right mind would suggest putting that lot together. And so it turned out!

As a pancake fan, I was intrigued by polenta pancakes. They were deliciously light and fluffy, with the polenta giving them more body than flour pancakes and a slightly savoury edge so that I didn’t get the sugar rush I sometimes do. Sweetcorn was the perfect compliment and enhanced the balance, while chilli jam was the crowning glory. I’m a simple soul and my previous encounters with chilli jam have not gone well: jam is, for me, an excuse for sugar with the fig-leaf of fruit making it appear healthy.  I still can’t see me putting chilli jam on my scones, but I may have to revise my overall opinion on this showing!

My visit was capped off with a long chat with Luke, the Head Barista, a lovely man who was passionate about his café and his coffee and equally happy to spread the love by telling me all the other places I should visit.

650 CHRISTCHURCH STREET • BOSCOMBE • BH1 4BP
www.cafeboscanova.com +44 (0) 1202 242831
Monday 08:00 – 16:00 Roaster Has Bean (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables (Inside and Outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch
Thursday 08:00 – 16:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 16:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 25th November 2012

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23 thoughts on “Café Boscanova

  1. Couldn’t agree more, my absolute favourite place in the area for coffee/lunch/breakfast. They also have a licence for alcohol, so if you fancy a glass of Stinger ale, or wine with lunch, you can indulge. Happy customer! 🙂

  2. You are spot on. It’s an oasis in a desert of chains and bad coffee shops, I have been a regular for 3 years since moving to Boscombe. If it closed I would move back to London.

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  5. Completely agree. Only recently moved here from London and their coffee is by far the best I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a LOT!). Also, food is excellent too. Hopefully the rest of poor Boscombe will improve with lovely places like this!

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  18. Hey, just to let you know Cafe Boscanova is now open on Wednesdays 8am-4pm and it’s telephone number has changed to 01202 242831.

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