Nick Livermore, rudely awoken by 20 sets of prying eyes, sets off in search of much needed sustenance, getting better than he bargained for at Beggars’ Banquet Café, Shaftesbury.
After an evening’s wild camping in the New Forest – and being woken by the staring eyes of 20 New Forest Ponies – heading off the beaten path was the order of the weekend.
The beaten path in question? Shaftesbury High Street. Mere metres away from the relative bustle of Shaftesbury’s centre stands an island of calm; Beggars’ Banquet Café.
Occupying some rather well-proportioned old stable buildings, Beggars’ Banquet Café is truly a sight for sore eyes, the gravelled courtyard affording an enjoyable spot for cake and coffee.
“Beggars’ Banquet Café is truly a sight for sore eyes… perfectly suited to a group of ravenous cyclists.”
With plenty of seating – within and without – and an expansive area in which to safely stow a bike or few, the courtyard is perfectly suited to a group of ravenous cyclists.
And ravenous you’ll need to be!
The cake at Beggars’ Banquet Café is truly the star of the show, notwithstanding the surroundings and excellent coffee.
Clearly homemade, the orange polenta cake and – intriguingly named – paradise slice were devoured with as much care and attention as they were made.
The orange polenta cake proved itself deliciously moist – as you’d expect – and flavoursome throughout. In my experience, orange cakes should usually be made with an entire piece of fruit, softened, blended and stirred through. And that certainly seemed the case.
Happily, the paradise slice lived up to its name and was equal to the polenta cake. A layer of dark chocolate topped with sweetened desiccated coconut, dried fruit and what appeared to be morello cherries, it was heaven on earth.
So often even the finest cafés and coffee shops don’t know how to make a cappuccino the right way. That was not the case at Shaftesbury’s Beggars’ Banquet Café.
Bitter, with notes of subtle sweetness the cappuccino not only had the correct ratio of espresso, milk and froth, but also an admirable flavour.
Aside for a slightly odd moment of confusion regarding the delivery – or lack thereof – of our paradise slice, Beggars’ Banquet Café really hit the spot after what had been a trying morning.
Not every coffee shop has the ability to grab you by the scruff of your neck and return you to your feet after a mere 4 hours sleep and send you safely into the throes of a century. This one certainly did.
If you’re not venturing to the Beggars’ Banquet on your bike, it has a lot more to offer besides that listed above.
With plenty of space available, it features a bar, hosts live music nights and serves delicious food for people of all nutritional persuasions.