I must confess to not knowing Plymouth at all. I’ve only visited a handful of times, and only then for basketball games, with my knowledge of Plymouth stretching as far as the drive from the A38 to the Plymouth Pavilions. So it was with some trepidation that I sought out Coffee Bean Central and, as I walked through the town centre, past Starbucks and Café Nero, it wasn’t looking good.
But then, across the road from Nero, there was Coffee Bean Central. You know you are onto a good thing when you walk through the door and feel right at home. Plymouth, you have a gem here! It’s only been open a few months, but it has the makings of a classic: bright, airy, spacious, and with a lovely upstairs area which puts the “lounge” into coffee lounge. As you can tell, I was sold!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
[Gallery Temporarily Removed]
I had heard rumours of Plymouth’s Coffee Bean Central on Twitter, so when I was in the area on Coffee Spot business, I decided to check it out. First impressions count and Coffee Bean Central made an excellent first impression. I walked through the door and into an open, airy space full of light. Not that I have anything against small and cramped; in fact, some of my favourite places are small and cramped, but Coffee Bean Central made me feel liberated. Or maybe that was just the opportunity it gave me to put my heavy rucksack down…
However, whatever I thought of the downstairs paled into insignificance when I ventured upstairs. People sitting downstairs! What are you doing? The upstairs is lovely, almost the perfect definition of the coffee lounge. There’s a little nook with a couple of comfortable chairs around a coffee table and a more conventional table with a pair of chairs. Beyond that, is the lounge proper. One wall is given over to a lovely library-effect wallpaper, with a real bookcase next to it in case you feel cheated. The other wall has a large mirror over what looks to be a gas fire.
There are ample tables and chairs scattered around, a couple more comfy chairs by the fire and a gorgeous sofa by the bookcase. There’s plenty of natural light and three ornamental glass chandeliers for when it gets dark. Now, here’s a place to while away an hour or two, or three!
Downstairs the seating isn’t too shabby either, with bar seating, more tables and comfy chairs. Throughout, the high ceilings and generous windows add to the feelings of space and light. You can also sit outside and, for once, I found a coffee spot on a pedestrian street, so you won’t be choked with traffic fumes. Shame it was raining… Chuck in free wifi and the only thing that might force me to leave is the lack of power sockets; there are some, but they are few and far between.
What else? Oh yes, it serves coffee. And pastries. And cake. Quite a lot of cake in fact. And ciabatta, toasties, quiche and baked potatoes, although I didn’t get past the coffee and cake on my visit. There’s also ice-cream and a very reasonably-priced cream tea. There was nothing wrong with the espresso I had, but it was not quite to my taste, while the caramel shortbread was good and the rest of the cakes looked excellent. I should mention that the staff were very friendly and helpful; I was even offered a glass of water with my espresso without having to ask, which is very rare.
Coffee Bean Central is pretty new; it only opened in July and seems to be slowly establishing itself. I wish it well. If I lived closer, I’d be a regular. On my way to check in at my hotel, I went past Starbucks and had to resist the urge to go in and ask the people there what they thought they were doing when they had Coffee Bean Central just around the corner. What do you want, people? A multi-national that exports its profits to avoid paying UK corporation tax, or a friendly, locally-run business?
|12 CORNWALL STREET • PLYMOUTH • PL1 1LP|
|www.facebook.com/CoffeeBeanCentral||+44 (0) 1752 222348|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Sofas, Comfy Chairs, Tables, Bar, Outside|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Lunch, Sandwich, Cake|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free with Code|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Power||A few|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Mobile||3G, Voice|
|Chain||No||Visits||28th October 2012|
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