The Willow Tree
Food 4 / 10
Drink 6 /10
Atmos 6 / 10
The Willow Tree Cafe on the Lower High Street
Not long after opening, The Willow Tree closed its cafe operation to concentrate on being a gift shop and crafting venue. We’ll leave details here for a while in case you come looking for the restaurant.
The Longer Read The Willow Tree is a cafe set in the studenty territory of the Lower High Street. On our visit it had only been open for a few days, so people were calling into check it out. The business is part cafe, part gift shop and part arty venue. Their Facebook page lists forthcoming Crafternoons, Knit and Crochet and Drink and Draw sessions.
The cafe is a pleasant room with an arty atmosphere, supported by a free supply of craft and maker magazines at the counter.
Food is a basic offer of light lunches, homemade juices, sandwiches and cake. I kept my order simple with a flat white, a cheese, ham and tomato sandwich and what looked like a creme egg brownie. The sandwich was a no-nonsense doorstep job and, weirdly, it was unbuttered. I’m not sure if this is the house style or maybe just opening week nerves. The cheese was OK-ish (acid test of a cafe in my view) – it would have been helped by the offer of some pickle. My coffee was good, served in a nice bit of pottery.
They’ve made a cafe with a nice ambience here and I loved their idea to become a crafts and art hub. There’s so much work involved in setting up a business like this and the food offer is bound to fall into place soon. Interesting Cosy Club opened the same week, a marketing construct – all designed around ‘hybrid brands’ and ‘casual dining and drinking experiences.’ The comparison with cafes such as Willow Tree is stark – and I know which I prefer. Even without any butter.