Lowri Herbert settles in for a warming Chai Latte at the new city centre cafe addition
Where: Tarleton Street
Food/drink type: Breakfast, brunch and lunch
When: Monday to Saturday 8am - 5pm, Sundays 9am - 5pm
Independent or chain: Independent - one of the owners comes from the family that own Bramley’s Cafe next door
Core opened last August, and the decor has that unmistakable new glow that shows a lot of thought went into it. The vibe inside is clean, warm and welcoming; something every cafe should aspire to. The entire cafe is open-plan with a window into the kitchen where brightness spills out. The light wooden tables and panelling at the back of the cafe lend to the contemporary feel, and the forest green tiling and plants a-plenty at the entrance removes the crowded feel that cafes can sometimes have. There’s no clutter here. It feels cosy yet open.
The Main Event
The coffee is supplied by Crosby Coffee so Core is keeping things local. I went for a Chai Latte (£3.50). For food, I had Wild Mushrooms on Toast (£9) with two poached eggs (£2). My partner Scott chose the Core Club Sandwich (£10). We also went for the Salt and Pepper Hash Browns (£4.50) and the Parmesan and Truffle Fries (£4.50). For a cafe and brunch/breakfast place, it was pricey, but a lot of places are now due to the cost of living crisis so I wasn’t necessarily surprised by this.
The food menu is split into three parts; breakfast, brunch and lunch. Everything is available all day, which is great because sometimes you do fancy breakfast for dinner. The staff were personable, and seemed to enjoy their job. Staff who take time out of their day to be helpful make the experience for me, and Core shined in this area when I needed help deciding what to eat when the Core Spanakopita on Sourdough was sold out.
Scott enjoyed the Core Club sandwich, the focaccia bread just adds an extra layer of decadence to the whole thing. It wasn’t just an everyday club sandwich, it felt elevated. The bacon was perfectly crisp (not burnt nor stringy - again, preference), the chicken had flavour and was adequately juicy. The sides were decent enough, but the salt and pepper on the hashbrowns can get overwhelming after three or so. They’re perfecting for sharing rather than eating as a solo side to your meal.
Hats off to Crosby Coffee and the staff. My Chai Latte was incredibly smooth and flavourful and perhaps the best I’ve had. I didn’t want it to end. This showed me local is just better by default. My mushroom on sourdough dish was incredibly rich thanks to the garlic and herb oil surrounding it. It infiltrated the sourdough, making it slightly soggy, but that’s not the end of the world. I’d have preferred less oil, but I still enjoyed the dish nonetheless. Don’t put salt on, it doesn’t need it.
Core is accessible, uplifting and snug (especially with it being a typical miserable January day outside). Whether you’re visiting to work or going for a full dining experience, it’s definitely worth visiting. The staff are kind and the coffee is good.
The food was fantastic, but I would discourage ordering too much. The flavours in the mushrooms on sourdough, the fries and hash browns were bold, so can be easily quite overwhelming in taste if you order too much.
Core Coffee, 32 Tarleton St, L1 1DS
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Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?