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Review of Jack Rabbits

For those unaware of it I am a huge fan of fantasy fiction and recently started going to conventions to meet other readers and some of the authors whose books I love. The latest was Edge Lit at the Quad in Derby (see my friend Paul’s report here) and it was quite honestly the best I’d been to in ages, a good range of things going on and I had the chance to talk to a lot of good friends and hopefully made a few new ones as well.

I started the day with a group of my favourite people at Jack Rabbits cafe in Derby city centre. Between us we had a variety of breakfasts, lots of odd conversation and much coffee. It’s a beautiful cafe with a farmhouse atmosphere, mismatched chairs and tin crockery.

I had a latte and a toasted Crich fruit square. The foam on the coffee was a good consistency but there wasn’t really enough and sadly the coffee was actually quite weak. I was reliably informed by my sidekicks that the black coffee was much stronger. Tea came with a tin mug of hot water and a tea bag separate, I love tea like that because you can make it quite weak but it would be hard to get a really strong cup from it. The tin mugs are lovely and keep the drinks very warm although they could be very hot to the touch.

Mid-way through our visit an arrival of bread marched in and looked completely wonderful. You can have a look on their website to see all of the local suppliers that they use and browse the menu in advance. Our table (or rather the people sat around it) also had bacon sandwiches, toast, bacon and scrambled eggs. All passed with merits! The cakes were a little disappointing, none really grabbed my fancy and the fruit square I had was a little dry. The portion sizes were huge and good value for money though.

The staff were friendly and helpful without being too over attentive. There was quite a mixture of customers but early on a Saturday morning, unsurprisingly, there were quite a number of small children. It isn’t an easy place to negotiate and there is little room, it would be quite tricky with a wheelchair and it was quite hard to get around people.

Jack Rabbits is a lovely cafe and a great find in Derby (which really needs more good foodie places). This is a really pretty little place with great staff and atmosphere. It was a shame that the drinks were not really strong enough for me. This is definitely somewhere to go for a meal rather than coffee and cakes and I am really looking forward to going back soon to try out more of the meals because all of the ones that I saw there looked amazing!

The Bottle Kiln

The weather was so muggy that even the radio presenter commented on it, luckily I was headed to The Bottle Kiln in West Hallam to try out their coffee and their website advertised a Tranquil Garden. There is a good sized car park with an overflow signposted and inside the cafe there are plenty of seats.

The cafe is attached to an open plan shop selling a range of home, gift, craft and jewellery pieces. There was a nice mix of bigger names and smaller British designers. The shop is quite cluttered, not a place to take small kids or to try and get a wheelchair through. There are plenty of ramps instead of steps and it would be easy to get a wheelchair into the Tranquil Garden although the cafe itself is harder to navigate around. The garden is peaceful until someone starts talking and then the noise really carries. It is non smoking outside but this didn’t stop people from lighting up anyway. The tables are beautifully arranged in a circle around a central garden with all of the tables and a lot of the stools built out of stone to match the kiln chimney. The stools were comfortable but because of the solid base of the table it was extremely hard to sit around with no room for even my legs (and I’m only 5’3″). Inside the cafe there are mostly booths which looked good and made it seem cosy.

There was a rather limited selections of cakes when I was there at about 2.30pm, with only a few cakes and tray bakes as well as three types of scone. There were no gluten free cakes or biscuits available which was a shame. Also the cake display case was open at the back and there were flies on the cakes, which is quite off-putting as you stand in front of them to order.

I ordered a skinny latte, which I was hugely looking forward to. The Bottle Kiln and their staff have won awards for their drinks although I’m not really sure why. The coffee I had was weak and not hot enough, the foam on top was distinctly lacklustre and there was very little, certainly not the right ratio to the amount of hot milk I had. It left a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth and tasted a lot like a very average high street coffee rather than an award winning independent retailer. If you do decide to take your food and drinks outside you have to walk through part of the shop which seems a little strange but other people were doing it so I followed suit.

The food menu was limited but appealing and they had an extensive coffee menu as well, welcoming custom drinks with decaf, syrups and hot/cold options available on request. They also have a really good tea selection with good brands and plenty to choose from.

The surroundings were very pretty and relaxing and the craft shops are definitely worth browsing around if you are nearby but I’d avoid the coffee, I’ll definitely have tea if I go again!

This was the coffee shop I had been heading to when I was diverted to Newark because they are closed on a Monday.
The rest of the week they are open between 10.00 and 5.00. Check them out at http://www.bottlekiln.co.uk