I have often passed by Hetherton’s on The Broadway (near the clock tower) when rushing around town, but never got around to popping in. However, last week I happened to be up that end of town and it was getting on for elevenses so it was an ideal opportunity to add to my list of tried and tested Newbury coffee shops. And what a good decision that was.
Hetherton’s have two shops, this one at The Kings Coffee shop (a 17th-century building) andanother at the other end of of town at 84 Bartholomew Street where this family-run businessmakes all its own bread and other goodies.
I was met with a warm welcome by the friendly staff and a tempting display of breads, pastries and cakes. Somewhat predictably I went for my usual decaff Americano – and jolly good it 2as too – but ‘ummed’ and ‘aahed’ over the choice of cakes – would it be carrot cake or a Danish pastry, homemade shortbread or one of their enormous ‘eccy thumps’ (that’s an eccles cake to the uninitiated)? I wasn’t quite peckish enough for an eccy thump, so I finally settled on a piece of cherry shortbread. (My second good decision of the day within the space of five minutes!)
The decorative style of Hetherton’s coffee shop is modern-day shabby chic: a charming andeclectic mix of tables and chairs, with standard lamps (just like my nan once had!) adding to the homely atmosphere. There’s plenty of newspapers to browse and, while catching up on the news, I couldn’t help but overhear as burly builders came in for their cappuccinos to go (and did one really ask for a skinny latte?) with a side order of bacon rolls.
So what else does Hetherton’s offer? One of their specialties is their savouries which looked (and smelled) gorgeous – flaky sausage rolls, fulsome pasties … yum. Their bread looked amazing too – not only is it made in their own bakery but they ‘keep it local’ by, for example, buying their flour from Wantage. Not quite so local, but commendably traditional, is their range of French breads, for which they get the flour from, well, France. But their free-rangeeggs come from just up the road in Hampstead Norreys. (You can find out where they source everything on a feature blackboard while enjoying your coffee ….)
If you want more than a snack there is a good menu (the breakfasts sound fab – everything from the hearty breakfast ‘fit for a king’ or a ‘doorstep challenge’ to porridge and, a personal favourite, eggs Benedict) and there is a ‘specials’ lunches blackboard too. They also do a huge range of sandwiches, to eat in or take away. As well as such traditionals as cheddar cheese, ham and egg mayo, there were the tasty-sounding Wensleydale with carrot chutney, brie with red grapes, and prawn with avocado to name but three. They do buffet orders too – worth bearing in mind for functions.
When it was time to go, it was like a magnetic force dragging me towards those hot savouriesat the counter. Did I succumb? That would be telling …