After sharing my magical experiences on the way to work a few weeks ago, I wanted to do justice to the cafe at the heart of that story. In fact, I’m going to juxtapose 2 Caffe Nero coffee houses – the first one to open in Glasgow and the newest one (the heart of magic).
I don’t have precise dates, but Neros opened their first coffee house in Glasgow (Union Street) around 2000-2001 – I remember popping in for a coffee after class when I was still at university one day and fell in love with the environment – good coffee and a quiet, not too bright atmosphere where I could work. I remember raving about this brilliant new cafe id discovered when I got home. The Company’s website tells us they wanted to create the Italian Coffee House experience in the UK, with quality Italian Coffee (they even roast their own coffee to control the quality). Twenty years later and we are still big Nero fans and I still enjoy settling in a quiet corner with a good coffee so I can work. I feel I should be writing this while sat with a Nero coffee rather than at my kitchen table with a cup of tea.
The coffee and food/cakes etc are all to a high standard and they do offer some personal favourites – chocolate fudge cake or black forest gateau – such decisions to make. Yesterday the chocolate fudge cake won. I’m afraid I was too busy enjoying the cake and coffee to stop and think about photographs, but I can treat you to a photo of their cake counter and you can see both of my personal favourites.
Having spent a year living, studying and working in France in 1999-2000, one of my routines was a hot pain au chocolat just out of the oven from the local bakers on my way to work. To my mind, the pastries offered by Neros are the closest to the textures and taste of those French croissants and pastries. Nero’s breakfast pastries transport me back to my time in France every time. Nostalgia rules!
Caffe Nero Union Street is still my favourite coffee home (Its also nice and handy beside my bus stop) but because of its location it can sometimes be quieter than their other cafes, which is great for working or quiet reflection, but maybe not so much for people watching.
If Union Street is the oldest of the Glasgow Nero Cafes, Gordon Street is their newest, and it was coming out of this cafe with my morning coffee headed for my train when magic happened. Its quite a big coffee house, and feels quite airy – but that’s probably the high ceilings.
Its good to explore new and independent cafes and coffee shops, but sometimes the familiar favourites can be good too if you just want to work or relax. With Caffe Nero I know the coffee and food will always be good, but their customer service is also to a high standard. They take the time to engage with the customers, developing relationships.
I’d like to say a big thank you to the staff of Neros in Union Street for always making us feel welcome. A big shout out to Nico (our favourite barista). Also, good luck to Scott and the staff in Gordon Street, I hope they will continue to deliver magical experiences.
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