The Coffee Club – Gateway Shopping Centre

I am always hesitant when it comes to trying the first of anything: be it a new brand of gadget on the shelf at the hardware store, or the next model of an automobile, or even a newly opened café. With most cases, it’s good to let the dust settle and let the staff get some experience behind them first.

And this was the approach I intended to take with a newly opened Coffee Club around the corner from home. I know the franchise formula would be adhered to and thus leaving little room for error, and I new the new staff would all be on their best behaviour and tasked with keeping down waiting times, but I still wanted to let the café settle in before trying them out. I expected that anyone in this position would also still have plating troubles, waiting time delays, order mix-ups…. Call me a pessimist, but you get my drift.

Well, that was my intention. I got a text message from my Beloved to meet me there straight after work. How could I refuse? 45 minutes later I found myself at the Coffee Club at the Gateway Shopping Centre on their opening day. I am happy to say that I was – to a degree – firmly put in my place and proven wrong about newly opened café’s.

I was still full from lunch and at the risk of spoiling dinner that night I went ahead and ordered a slice of pecan pie, and a small skinny flat white coffee.
The counter service was pleasant and prompt while ordering, and it was nice to be carrying back to the table a fresh unstained table number sitting in a clean chrome stalk. The interior of the new café is much the same as the other Coffee Club franchise stores with their muted tones and semi-industrial look. However, one pleasant surprise was the use of noise dampening materials inside the seating area: carpets on the floor; padded chairs;screens and plants. There was certainly a loud hum of chit chat inside the cafe, but the sounds weren’t harsh, biting or unbearable! If that was the intent of the décor, then my hat’s off to whoever was consulted upon…

I’m still finding the coffee to be a bit hit and miss across the Coffee Club franchise. Well, more ‘average’ and miss, to be correct. In this case the coffee was again below average for my liking. Served up lukewarm at best, the coffee was milky and flavourless. This I can’t blame on opening days blues – rather I’m finding this to be – ironically – par for the course at the Coffee Club.

But the pecan pie… oh my goodness! What a knockout!

Now, I’m not as naïve as to believe that each store makes their own sweets to serve up from the cakes window – I do believe that they’re outsourced. But the way the food had been kept and respected was an eye opener. Rich and treacle-ley, this pecan pie slice was a generously sized portion that had not wilted or gone limp during the day, or whilst in storage. Was it fresh? Who knows? The pastry base was firm and crumbly – not a sogged out mess that sticks to your palette on the way through your mouth. The base and the filling together were excellent, and certainly didn’t display any signs of mishandling or quickly being brought up to room temperature before being displayed in the window.

I don’t know what the answer is to my dislike of Coffee Club coffee, however regardless of how many other sweet treats are there in the window, the pecan pie slice is highly recommended next time a drink and something sweet is required.

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