Muddy Loves: The Geographer
I can't wait to spill the beans about this artisan cafe close to Cambridge
I’ve heard great things about the quirky café The Geographer, so before the kids broke up for the hols I hot-footed it over to check it out and savour my last moments of freedom without nagging kids in tow. It’s all too easy when life’s busy to head to your regular coffee haunt (guilty as charged) but this café-cum-shop-cum-deli is too good for me not to share – I know I’m such a giver.
You’ll find this artisan cafe in the village of Histon a few miles north of Cambridge. It’s conveniently located close to the A14 and if I mention that The Spire Hospital is close by it might help put the peg on the map. Hop over the A14 and you’ll find yourself in the outskirts of the city so you’re uber close to the centre itself.
The cafe is run by husband and wife team, Caroline and David Child – they used to run The Norfolk Deli in Cambridge. We champion the bold and brave at Muddy and seeking a new project they found these premises calling out for some stripping and creative flair.
Why The Geographer as a name I hear you ask? Well I did, and there are various reasons – the building used to be a travel agents before this duo got their hands on it and wanderlust has led David to many different parts of the world so they chose to encompass this theme into their décor. There are maps and travel paraphernalia dotted around and some of the bistro style tables have atlas snippets covering the tops.
There is a simple charm to this café that oozes personality and offers a warm welcome. It’s small and cosy, I counted around 10 tables inside but there are more outside for the summer months and bike racks if you’re come on two wheels. The menu is uncomplicated and you order at the counter – I’m a fan of waitress service (I’m a lazy sod) but it wouldn’t seem right here as you need to take a gander at the cakes, breads, ice creams to make your mind up properly. Pretty much everything on the menu is homemade on site – when there are exceptions then local producers are used like the Gourmet Brownie Company and Cobs Bakery. The menu has freshly made sandwiches, Panini’s, soup, baked potatoes, vegetable tart, chicken and pesto rice salad and I plumped for the chorizo tortilla that came with coleslaw and salad. They cater for vegetarians, vegans and also offer gluten free cakes and dariy free ice cream.
I’m normally more of a savoury girl but with this mouthwatering range on offer I was dribbing over the cake counter.
They also serve a range of breakfast goodies and who wouldn’t love these pancakes with fruit and maple syrup.
If you fancy indulging in the art of high tea, then this cake stand has sandwiches, cakes and the obligatory cream team covered.
So what else is on offer? The shop is jammed with artisan products – you won’t find these in your local Sainsbury’s. There are some sourced locally such as chutneys and jams – check out their own range of jams infused with Presecco and Amaretto.
The shelves also play host to products that you might find on your travels abroad, I recognised many brands from holidays in France, Spain and Italy. They have a license to sell and serve alcohol so if you’re desperate to fall in a glass of rose they have a great selection from Cambridge Wine Merchants, everything from a Cab Sav to a bottle of Champagne.
It’s a perfect spot to pick up a gift or two and there are cards and wrapping paper to make life easier also. I picked up a few presents for kids birthday parties and bought a couple of coloured Spanish style olive bowls for a friend.
I admire businesses that offer something different, it takes belief, vision and then the guts to jump in and go for it! This place is an absolute winner – try it for yourself and see.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: locals, families, drop-ins and hospital visitors. Take-away lunches. Perfect for a lazy breakfast and those discerning coffee drinkers with an eco head on (they sell the environmentally friendly and ethical Nude Roastery) An idea light lunch spot with mates or coffee and cake with the mums and kids after school… any excuse really.
Not for: its a small space, so you might have to cosy up a little. There’s not heaps of space for buggies but there’s space to leave them outside. Not for lovers of minimalism, this place is crammed with goodies and gifts – I could have bought the whole shop. There are tables outside but no garden for kids to run a muck in.
£££: exceptional value. My coffee and tortilla was £7.95
The Geographer, 103 Station Road, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9NP Cambridge, facebook.com (Open Tue -Fri 8.30am – 4.30pm, Sat 9.30am -4.30pm)