‘I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake’ – Lewis Black
There’s a lot of things you take for granted when you don’t realise what your life would be without them. People with driveways don’t realise how lucky they are until you live in a house that doesn’t have one and you have to lug your shopping in from the road. People with toenails don’t realise how lucky they are until they fall off. You get the picture.
I didn’t realise how lucky I was working in the centre of town until I didn’t anymore. The lunch options I’m faced with on a daily basis are the works café (not usually the supplier of the worlds most healthy options) or whatever I bring in from home (economical, but boring). Thankfully though I occasionally get to work from our town centre location, which also means I get to rendezvous with Ang for lunch.
Sick of going to Pret every time we wanted to try out some of the local independent cafes that have popped up in recent times. One of the things putting me off trying different coffee shops was the worry that we wouldn’t get served within the hour and would be late back to work. And so the Lightning Light Lunch series was born. Can all these cafes get us fed, watered, updated on all the goss and back sitting at our desks within the hour? And do they tick all the boxes that a modern girl about town is looking for; can you pay by card, does it come in under a tenner, can we get seated easily? Let’s find out…
I remember when Laneway first opened and I was invited to the launch but couldn’t make it because it was a Wednesday morning and I had a meeting to go to (quite ironic then that they were the first review of the Lightning Light Lunch (LLL) guide). But I’d always heard nothing but good things about it, particularly their coffee.
The décor inside is minimalist but bright and welcoming, it’s a bit a tardis in terms of size, not looking particularly big from the outside but goes quite far back and seats are far enough apart that you don’t feel crammed in or your encroaching on the person next to you’s conversation.
When we visited on a Thursday lunchtime just after 12pm there was a board outside advertising any coffee and sandwich for £5.50. This was a good start. Despite being what I would consider as peak lunchtime is was nicely busy. There were a few people dotted around having coffee, or working on laptops but getting a seat wasn’t a problem. We decided what we wanted from the small but perfectly formed menu of sandwiches and toasties and were served at the counter straight way.
Being a sucker for anything with basil in I went for the chicken, tomato and pesto ciabatta and Ang the falafel wrap with a flat white and a can of pop respectively. My coffee arrived almost instantly and looked beautiful, with the sandwiches arriving about 5 minutes after that (tick, tick, tick!)
The food was pretty great in all honesty, the chicken was nice big fresh chunks and the pesto wasn’t over powering. It came with crisps and salad too which is always a plus in my eyes. A moment silence is now required to show the coffee the respect it deserves. I’m by no means a coffee snob (frozen granules in the office is fine for me) but it does mean I appreciate a proper cup when I have one. It was rich, smooth and strong, which is just how I like my men incidentally. And had such a decent kick to it that when I went to the gym that night it fueled a PB on the treadmill.
We were served in such good time in fact that we had plenty of time to share a nutella brownie afterwards, for research purposes of course, which was bloody delicious (£2.50).
So the first review on the LLL, Laneway certainly got us off to a strong start and have set the bench pretty high for coffee shops to come.
Scores on the doors:
Under £10: yes
Pay by card: yes
Easily seated: yes
Served within an hour: yes
Take away available: yes