An independent coffee stop in the heart of leafy, up-and-coming Ouseburn. It’s a place of two halves; one a cosy cafe, the other a working pottery spot, where skilled hands make and sell a selection of gorgeous plates for the city’s food-lovers and offer crafty workshops. Somewhere to visit with a chum or two on a cold day – sink in to one of the sofas by the log burner, feel soothed by the twinkling fairy lights and order yourself a comforting cup of artisan coffee.
It has that ‘shabby chic’ vibe we all know and love here at Luxe HQ: exposed pipework, scuffed concrete floors, a wooden bar, menus written in chalk, creaky wooden tables of all shapes and sizes, hanging industrial lights… it has it all. Expect a mix of small broods, students tapping away on laptops and coffee-loving pals catching up. The atmosphere is deliciously laid-back – especially on a Saturday morning.
Tons of loose-leaf teas, including some unusual, but surprisingly tasty, finds. Nettle herb, ‘monkey picked oolong’, ‘Russian caravan’ and mixed red berry all stand out as ones to try. We went for hot cups of peppermint and chai to warm us up. Coffee-drinkers need to try the espresso and piccolo – we could smell the roasty goodness from outside. Evening visitors can sip on local beer from Wylam, Brinkburn and Cullercoats breweries, plus premium spirits and wines.
The food is a real mishmash, but in a good way. A mix of Mediterranean street food, English brekkie classics, Mexican-inspired brunch staples, mezze-style sharing plates and more. Breakfast is served 10-11.30am when you can be as adventurous or as safe as you like; enjoy seedy jam spread on sourdough, dippy eggs and soldiers or an oozy heritage cheese toasty. Brunch (from 11.30 ’til 1pm) could mean fiery baked eggs, while afternoon and evening dinners might mean hummus, bread and dips to share, sensational wood-fired pizzas, Italian arancini or even a hearty bowl of Northumbrian beef casserole. Prices from £3.95 – £13.95.
Many brunchy venues offer shakshuka (Mexican baked eggs) these days, but we’re always surprised at how different the interpretations are from place to place. Kiln’s version (£7.95) is probably the lightest we’ve tasted; in place of a thick tomato sauce, instead, were a mix of plump, beefy tomatoes, freshly-picked and gently crushed, and red peppers for some crunch. Buried underneath were two nearly-perfect poached eggs (though not quite as runny as we would’ve liked) and everything was topped with a creamy, slightly tangy flurry of goats cheese (or feta – we couldn’t decide which) and a sprinkling of Italian herbs. You get a few slices of toasted sourdough, too, to mop up any left over tomato juice. Really quite nice. Go for this if you’re after a light bite only – otherwise you may go hungry. The Kiln Shelf Pizza (£9.95) is a real show-stopper – and worth the wait. It’s made simply with fresh basil and mozzarella, served steaming hot from the kitchen’s wood-fired oven. You’ll need to share this – it’s nearly as big as one of the cafe’s small tables. Bubbling cheese, a sweet passata base and fresh herbs… you can’t go wrong. Our favourite, though, was the arancini (£7.95)- golden-crumbed balls of deliciousness, packed with gooey cheese, rice and spices, with tons of perky salad and veg. We couldn’t fault it – apart from the fact you only get one ball. As for the sweet stuff, the cakes here are spectacular; all homemade by one of the staff’s aunties. Think thick wedges of rose-infused vanilla sponge, fluffy carrot cake, vegan brownies and lemon drizzle treats. To-die-for stuff.