Gloria and Lil’s

Gloria and Lil's, written in an elaborate cursive script, taken from the sign above the café.Gloria and Lil’s is a (relatively) recent addition to Coventry’s speciality coffee scene, opening in November 2019, which has meant that, for most of the time, it’s been under COVID-19 restrictions. However, this hasn’t stopped it from carving out a loyal, local customer base. Occupying a spacious, modern unit located just south of the ring road and close to the university, there’s a limited amount of indoor seating (thanks to the COVID-19 social distancing requirements) with plenty more tables outside on the quiet street.

Gloria and Lil’s was recommended to me by my local source, Jenny Watts, who praised the food in particular. Since it was a mere two minutes’ walk from my hotel, it became a no-brainer when I was looking for breakfast on my recent visit. Talking of which, there’s a unique, bagel/flatbread-based brunch menu, with everything made to order. This includes the flatbreads which are literally baked as the rest of the meal is being prepared. The bagels are also baked fresh every morning, as are the cakes. The coffee, meanwhile, is from St. Martin’s Coffee Roasters in nearby Leicester, with the Intrepid blend and decaf on espresso and a single-origin on batch brew.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the north side of Parkgate, you'll find Gloria & Lil's, with lots of tables outside.
  • The tables extend a long way down the pavement, far beyond the front of the cafe.
  • Here's the view coming the other way (towards the train station).
  • On this side, the tables don't go any further than the end of the cafe.
  • In case you needed reminding where you were.
  • And just in case you missed the A-board.
  • Let's go in. The door is to the left of the brick pillar holding the sign.
  • There's seating in the windows either side of the door. This four-person table is to the left.
  • Meanwhile, the remaing seating seat is off to the right.
  • There's a sofa and armchair in the window to the right...
  • ... then a wooden bench-seat runs along the wall, complete with a couple of tables.
  • The last of the seating is this four-person table in the middle.
  • Beyond that comes the counter. There was more seating inside in pre-COVID-19 times.
  • There are some neat features around the walls, like this display to the left of the window.
  • These cupboards, just before the counter, house games amongst other things.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • And my new favourite view!
  • There's the QR Code for the NHS app on the tables, but to order, you have to go up to...
  • ... the counter, which is an interesting, L-shaped affair at the back of Gloria & Lil's.
  • You order on the left-hand side, where you'll find the menu...
  • ... above you, with drinks on the left and food on the right.
  • There's also another menu on the wall to the right of the window.
  • Back at the counter, the cakes stare mercilessly at you while you order.
  • There's an awful lot of them and they all look so tempting.
  • There's a small(er) selection of pre-prepared sandwiches and other savouries at the end.
  • Everything you see is freshly prepared in this bright and airy kitchen behind the counter.
  • When it comes to drinks, there are soft drinks in a chiller cabinet to the left of the counter.
  • The espresso machine, meanwhile, is at the front end of the counter to the right...
  • ... with the coffee, from St. Martin's Coffee Roasters, on a shelf above.
  • I had a halloumi, avocado and tomato flatbread wrap which was delicious, although not...
  • ... very photogenic! I paired this with a flat white. Gloria & Lil's is only using disposable...
  • ... cups at the moment (due to COVID-19). I'll leave you with my lovely latte art.
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Gloria and Lil’s is on the north side of Parkside, a dead-end road which (at least on the Saturday I was there) doesn’t get much traffic. The extensive outside seating occupies the pavement in front of the café, spreading well beyond it on the left-hand side, enabling Gloria and Lil’s to add an additional three well-spaced tables (a pair of two-person ones flanking a four-person one).

Meanwhile, in front of Gloria and Lil’s, a pair of small, two-person tables with stools stand at the edge of the pavement, each with another four-person table behind it. These larger tables are against the tall, floor-to-ceiling windows which flank the central glass floor of Gloria and Lil’s. The windows are slightly recessed under the projecting brickwork of the upper floors, forming a pair of little bays which offer the tables limited shelter from the elements.

The interior benefits from the windows, which are joined by more floor-to-ceiling windows running across the back wall. These combine with high, open ceilings to make for a very bright, airy space. The front half is given over to seating, while the back half, which is a little bit narrower, is occupied by the counter, behind which is a large, open kitchen where all the food is prepared. Usually, kitchens like this can be fairly dark affairs, but this one, with its back wall of windows, is as bright and airy as the rest of Gloria and Lil’s.

The interior seating is currently limited by COVID-19 restrictions. A single, tall, four-person table occupies the windows on the left, while the corresponding space on the right is taken by a sofa and armchair, facing each other across a low coffee table. A long, wooden bench-seat with cushions runs along the right-hand wall, seating provided by one two-person and one four-person table. Finally, there’s another four-person table midway between the windows and the counter.

The counter is an interesting, L-shaped affair, which effectively forms a bay on the left-hand side, where you order, the cakes strategically placed in front of you, menu above them on a big blackboard. The espresso machine is equally strategically placed to your right, so you can watch your coffee being made while you wrestle with the dilemma of which awesome-looking cake to have or while you ponder your flatbread toppings. The espresso machine, visible from most parts of the café, puts the coffee-making front and centre, which I appreciate.

Gloria & Lil’s is owned, not by Gloria and Lil, but by Eilis and Emma, who do all the cooking, Eilis doing savoury (flatbreads, bagels), leaving Emma to do the sweet things (cakes, etc). Gloria and Lil were their food trucks: when they decided to swap four wheels for four walls (as they put it), Eilis and Emma named the café in their honour.

Gloria & Lil’s has a unique bagel/flatbread-based breakfast. There are plenty of pre-determined toppings, or you can go freestyle and build your own. Whatever you choose, be prepared for lots of questions, starting (if you went for a flatbread) if you want it wrapped or flat. For me, the decision depends on the filling/topping. A fried egg and salad suits flat (like a pizza), eaten with a knife and fork, while masses of halloumi, avocado and tomato (which is what I had) lends itself more to a wrap. The flatbread, by the way, is very light and fluffy, more like a naan in texture than a chapati to use an Indian food analogy.

Although tempted by the single-origin batch brew, which changes every two weeks or so, I went for a flat white to start my day, made with the Intrepid blend from St. Martin’s, the coffee combining with the milk for a smooth, classic flat white.

33 PARKSIDE • COVENTRY • CV1 2NE
https://gloriaandlils.selz.com +44 (0) 24 7767 0440
Monday CLOSED Roaster St Martins (espresso + batch brew)
Tuesday 10:00 – 14:00 Seating Tables; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 10:00 – 14:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 10:00 – 14:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 14:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 10:00 – 15:00 Wifi Free (with login)
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain No Visits 10th July 2021

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