A lifestyle cafe: Co. at no fifteen
Cherry Hinton is not you’re most likely haunt if you’re after a coffee with your girlfriends or a light healthy lunch but sometimes hidden gems are found in the most unlikely places and Co. is one of them.
For those that have not ventured out that way, Cherry Hinton is a suburb area a few miles southeast of Cambridge. The chances are you’ve driven through it without even giving it a second glance, and until now I’ve never had any reason to stop and delve a little deeper. It’s only a few minutes from Addenbrookes Hospital and, having spent a fair few hours there last year, this is one haunt I wish I’d known about.
Co. was born in July 2016, the brainchild of Aksara Inamder, who previously ran the popular burger heaven Rhode Island from the same site. The transformation came about through a desire to embrace a healthier eco-living and to support local businesses – out went the chips and in came a café-cum-lifestyle shop. An unusual name – it’s based on the ethos behind the eatery: connect, conserve, consume and conscious living – get the common denominator? Not sounding like a bundle of fun yet? Trust me, its quirky and unusual but refreshingly forward-thinking.
So what is exactly is a lifestyle café I hear you ask? Well from what I can work out it has many hats: a café, coffee house, interiors shop and grocery store, with a central space for workshops or meetings. Co.’s focus is firmly on sustainability (let’s reduce that carbon footprint) and locally sourced food, so as much as possible is found from within the county or its neighbors close by. Coffee is from Hot Numbers and tea from the Kandula Tea Co., so the Cambridgeshire stamp is on from the start.
The café has a modern minamilist feel – light and bright with lots of white and stripped wooden floors, retro style chairs and benches, cork makes an appearance along with industrial lightbulbs. Local art is displayed on the walls and pretty much everything that you see can be brought. I’m not suggesting you clear off with the tables and chairs in the back of a Luton van but plants, glasses, the odd piece of furniture, cushions and lights are for sale. There’s even an upcycling section where pre-loved items are available.
I was particularly taken by the ceramic lights hanging above the counter that work well with varying vintage lightbulbs. No surprises when I found out they were made by local artist Katharina Klug.
Priorities first – what’s on the menu? There are breakfast, brunch and lunch options to tempt ‘clean eaters’, vegetarians and vegans – think super foods, with refined sugar and glutton free options, and meats are an add-on rather than a main.
I opted for the mashed avo & egg on toast with spring onion red chili and coriander – I could have swapped the egg for baked chickpeas had I wished. First blunder of the day, I was so busy gawping at the lovely lampshades, that I chomped through it before taking a picture. Needless to say it was delicious and I didn’t miss the bloated feeling you can get after gorging on a bacon butty.
This was followed by coffee and with an underlying theme of upcycling the water glasses are made from old beer bottles. I visited the Thursday before Easter and these beautiful biscuits were made by a local baker – given a big thumbs up later by the mini-mudders.
Pictures speak louder than words and these are the tasty options on offer, all kicking at that healthy door.
If you’re gasping for that early doors glass of wine (er, it’s 10am!) you might be a little disappointed. There’s a large selection of locally sourced cold drinks and craft beers but don’t expect to see find an extensive wine menu –it’s healthy living remember.
Co. are feeling their way as they start on this new journey and are keen to listen to customers – they adapt their range based on feedback and suggestions. Produce used in the kitchen is found on the shelves, not in vast quantities but you can pick up tea, coffee, bread, fruit drinks, quinoa, chickpea pasta, flour, biscuits, chutneys and other items – getting the picture? The plans are to expand this to include a small farmers market offering tastings and samples, so watch this space
Workshops and events
Keen to make Co. a hub for wellness, lifestyle and creativity Aksara is developing a busy and vibrant events programme and they have a light and spacious room to use if you’re looking for somewhere to hold an activity or meeting. You too could be doing headstands at yoga sessions held every weekend and Saturday mornings also see an arty Kids Club for children age 6-11. Midweek there’s a baby group as well as various other adult events including cookery courses, a language group, art workshops and exhibitions, and an antiques and nail bar pop up. Take a look at the what’s happening over the next few weeks – flowering arranging, a Parisian kitchen and wine pop up followed a week later by a Garden Kitchen takeover.
Aksara is a strong advocate of Cherry Hinton, having grown up here, and she’s already working with local enterprises and councillors to encourage other independents and businesses to set up in the area. As Cambridge continues to expand it’ll be interesting to see how this area develops, in the meantime if you’re looking for a great healthy pit stop, close to the hospital, then plug Co. at no. 15 into the sat nav.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Anyone looking for a healthy eatery without the hassle of traipsing into the city; those seeking a lifestyle café with a vegetarian, vegan and glutton free menu, and if you’re searching for new pop up supper clubs or art events there are one or two planned a month.
Not for: Probably not ideal if you’re into meat – it’s on the menu but in small amounts. With a focus on healthy, super foods you’re going to be disappointed if you’re Hank Marvin and after a large portion of fish and chips. The café is on the main road and parking is along the residential streets or in the public car park a short walk away.
£££: Good value using locally sourced ingredients – coffee starts at £2.20, tea at £2.50 and wholesome shakes £5.50, flapjacks £1.30, cheesecake £3.50, cooked breakfast from £6.45, sandwiches £4.75, house salad £6.00, tacos £7.50 and kati roll £7.30.
Co. 15 High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge CB1 9HX, cofifteen.co.uk