Brew & Brownie, on York’s Museum Street, is just over the river from the original Perky Peacock. It had just celebrated its first birthday when I visited York last summer. Unfortunately, I was there on a Monday, and Monday is the one day that it’s closed, so I missed out. This year, I made sure I went back on Sunday, partly because the coffee comes from Cumbria’s Carvetii, one of my favourite roasters, and partly because several people had independently raved about the American-style pancakes, and regular readers know what I think about pancakes!
As well as pancakes, Brew & Brownie offers comprehensive breakfast and lunch menus, plus sandwiches. Breakfast is served until 11.30, at which point lunch takes over until the end of the day. I arrived at 11.50, but fortunately, the aforementioned pancakes are available as a brunch option throughout the day. There’s also an extensive range of cakes, which, unsurprisingly, features a wide variety of brownies. Throughout, though, the emphasis is on locally-sourced, high-quality, seasonal produce.
As well as Carvetii’s house-blend espresso, Brew & Brownie offers an Aeropress option, with loose-leaf tea from Merseyside’s Brew Tea Co, plus hot chocolate and a range of soft drinks.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Brew & Brownie has a simple, effective layout. Rectangular in shape, it’s not quite twice as deep as it is wide. A pair of windows run almost the width of the store, stopping at the glass door on the left-hand side. North facing, this means that the interior is filled with a subdued light rather than flooded with bright sunlight, which, on the sunny summer day I was there was no bad thing. Multiple lightbulbs hanging in jam jars illuminate the counter, while low-hanging, industrial grey lightshades over the tables stop things getting too gloomy at the back.
The counter, which looks to be an old kitchen table/range, holds the cake, which also inhabits the window sill so that passers-by can be tempted in. The counter’s really only there for takeaway customers though, since Brew & Brownie commendably offers table service (although you do have to go up to the till to pay before you leave).
The counter occupies the front of the store on the right-hand side, with espresso machine, grinder and hot water boiler on a stainless steel work-surface behind it. The seating has a similar layout, with tables along the left-hand and back walls. There’s also a four-person table tucked in at the end of the counter and a stainless steel bar, an extension of the work-surface behind the counter. This is up against the right-hand wall, complete with three bar-stools.
Other than the bar, the rest of the seating consists of wooden tables. There are a pair of two-person tables immediately next to the door, followed by a six-person table, with three reused cinema seats against the wall. Next is another two-person table, while there’s a wooden bench running the length of the back wall, with four two-person tables in front of it.
The wooden furniture goes well with the rest of the décor. There are bare, wooden floorboards, a wooden counter, plus white-painted walls (hung with local artwork for sale), while there are white tiles on the wall behind the counter. In contrast, the ceiling is painted black, which has the unfortunate side effect of sucking the light out at little bit.
Having heard quite a lot about the pancakes, I thought I should try them, although the rest of the food, particularly the door-step sized sandwiches, looked excellent. I selected the blueberry stack (without bacon) which consisted of four thick, fluffy pancakes with blueberries on the side, which is just how I like it. If four pancakes sounds like a lot, then you (and my waistline) will be relieved to know that they are saucer-sized rather than the more American-standard plate-sized. The pancakes themselves were lovely, not too sweet, with real maple syrup, and cooked to perfection.
I paired this with a flat white, made with Carvetii’s seasonal espresso blend. This was very sweet and smooth, forming the perfect accompaniment to my pancakes. I’d have loved to have sampled more of the coffee menu, since while the focus of Brew & Brownie is clearly on the food, it takes its coffee very seriously. However, I had a range of coffee shops to hit on behalf of Caffeine Magazine that day, so I had to watch my caffeine intake.
|5 MUSEUM STREET • YORK • YO1 7DT|
|www.brewandbrownie.co.uk||+44 (0) 1904 647420|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Carvetii (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 17:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||09:00 – 17:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||23rd August 2015|
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