Symthson’s, the café you pass daily on your way to campus but maybe haven’t noticed before, has reopened under new management and Impact Food decided to take a closer look. We found a chatty and enthusiastic trio of Nottingham graduates offering a wide selection of sandwiches, hot drinks and an irresistible cake cabinet, and all with a 10% student discount. We’re in!
Snuggled between Subway and a student letting agency on Derby Road, just round the corner from the QMC, Smythson’s is less than 10 minutes from University Park campus. This location makes it the ideal pit-stop either on your way in to campus, on your way home or the perfect lunchtime escape. We made a dart for Smythson’s after a long day in Hallward and were thrilled to be presented with afternoon tea, plus extras…
Our high (and mighty) tea began with a drinks order of ebony chai tea and a hot chocolate (£2.60) made by melting the real stuff to give it a really creamy, rich taste. A range of coffees are available and the tea selection is impressive! We then selected two sandwiches from the varied menu: crayfish and dill mayonnaise and spicy chicken with avocado on a baguette (£3.50 out/ £4.00 in with salad.) The sandwiches were substantial and flavoursome but would be a challenge to eat on the go; a reminder that we should all stop to eat, especially in Smythson’s where the conversation is always flowing. Or if you’re really pushed for time, you could always take-away for later.
It was agreed that the cakes are definitely what will draw us back into Smythson’s again. The FEAST laid on the quaint, tiered stand included scones accompanied by cream and the best raspberry jam we’ve ever tasted (stocked in the café); two different variations on homemade blueberry and lemon cake and slices of pastry chocolate twist on the top tier! We took our time over this assortment, afternoon tea is a marathon not a sprint, and enjoyed waving to passing friends from our window seats inside the cosy café. All this is priced at £12, including a pot of Kandula brand tea for two. It’s the most affordable afternoon tea we’ve seen in Nottingham!
Just when we thought we’d conquered the cake, we were invited to sample a slice of a new strawberries and cream sponge and were kindly presented with a portion of blueberry and white chocolate cake as a parting gift. Smythson’s really do offer a great selection of baked goods; why not indulge yourself and then take a slice for a friend, which will be neatly packaged for safe transportation! The café also has well stocked shelves of jams, sweets and chutneys for sale; these would make for a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift, it’s creeping up on us already you know and what mother wouldn’t appreciate strawberry and champagne jelly?
Given it’s convenient location and student-friendly pricing, there are many scenarios in which a Smythson’s stop-off could be just what’s needed, but here are our top 3:
1. You’re rushing into campus for an afternoon lecture and suddenly remember that you haven’t eaten anything all day. SANDWICH.
2. You’ve had a 9am, followed by a 10am, an 11am and finally a tutor meeting. Coffee and cake is the only way to restore your sanity before returning to your cold student abode and it will only set you back £3.00!
3. You had all of the above in the morning and have a two hour lecture looming late afternoon; an extended lunch break (£3.25 for soup) and a change of scenery are what’s required.
Unfortunately, Smythson’s current opening hours don’t allow for a pre-morning lecture caffeine fix, but perhaps this could be a thing of the future…?! In the mean time, next time you’re passing, why not call in for a nosy, a very warm welcome and a slice of cake, or two?
Lizzie Frainier and Lauren Wilson
Image credits: Smythson’s and Lizzie Frainier.