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Cafe At RIBA Hub Reviewed

Jemma Gibson appreciates the tranquillity of an oddity on Portland Street

Published on August 22nd 2011.

Cafe At RIBA Hub Reviewed

AFTER a quick look around this unassuming gallery’s excellent changing exhibitions came the obligatory shop and cafe visit.

I would urge you, if you’re on Portland Street in search of a cup of coffee to stop here.

This is a typical, bijoux coffee-shop-in-gallery-shop affair, only on the smallest scale imaginable. There are perhaps six tables, a coffee machine, a bowl of pre-packed cakes and cookies and a small collection of cold drinks displayed under the counter.

That didn’t matter.

The cafe serves its purpose well, the stylish white furniture reflects the style and content of the gallery and the huge television showing a documentary of modern Japanese architectural wonders being built and in use was interesting, and strangely compelling given there was no sound.

Cafe At Cube 015

It  quite a relief to see a small menu propped on the counter, the pristine coffee machine was so new looking I wondered if it was for sale-I couldn’t even see a fridge or water supply.

The young chap who briefly left his seat and companion in the cafe to serve us was friendly and efficient.

The menu is limited to say the least, it briefly comprises; sandwiches, cake (primarily pre-packed plus one homemade looking type), cookies, cereal bars, the usual array of hot drinks and a few cold choices. I chose a latte (which strangely can only be served in large size, £2.20) while my companion went for a hot chocolate (£1.75) and we shared a pre-packaged slice of lemon drizzle cake (£1.40). The latte, made with Lavazza coffee and the hot chocolate were everything one would expect, while the cake was surprisingly moist and tasty - much better than the anticipated dry, dense and sugary morsel.

The shop in which the cafe sits is mercifully small enough to lack any fluorescent logoed erasers or notebooks or pencils, and instead is stuffed with big glossy architecture books, postcards of interesting things and delicate wooden models which just cry out to be touched.

Cafe At Cube 017

This isn’t the kind of place you’d come for lunch, in fact you probably wouldn’t visit at all unless you were visiting the exhibitions but I would urge you, if you’re on Portland Street in search of a cup of coffee to stop here. The cafe is charming and probably never busy and if architecture’s your thing then it’s a crime if you’ve never been before.

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

Cafe at RIBA Hub,113-115 Portland Street, City, M1 6DW. 0161 237 5525

Rating: 13/20

Food: 6/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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the Whalley RangerSeptember 7th 2011.

this will not work - shame

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Latest Rants


The staff should wear clothes made out of corn flakes.

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Dress the staff as Tony the Tiger and the honey monster, otherwise i'm just not interested. ;)

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