All images: Daisy Dickinson
Nicola Foley samples the fare at Cherry Hinton’s new cafe and social hub
I have to admit that I was sad to say goodbye to Rhode Island when it closed its doors last spring. Their giant burgers, pulled pork sliders and dreamy ice cream sundaes will always hold a special place in my heart, but this Cherry Hinton hangout has got a brand new bag – and I have to say, it’s a cracker.
The management remains the same, but the concept at Co. at No.15 has been transformed from the Rhode Island days. Nowadays, you’re greeted with a bright and fresh, plant-filled space, emanating chilled-out vibes and begging you to pull up a chair and relax. The ethos is all about sustainable, top-quality food – with plenty to tempt vegetarians and vegans, ‘clean eaters’ and gluten-free diners. That might not sound like loads of fun, but I promise you the food here is excellent.
From the zingy home-made lemonade we started with to the rich, dense wedge of (vegan) chocolate cake we finished with, everything at Co. is gorgeously presented, seasonal and packed with goodness. The café makes its own organic breads, which we sampled in a hummus sandwich loaded with spiralised veggies and smoky, spicy tofu, as well as tempting you with shelves of artisan foodie treats for sale.
It’s a close call, but my lunch highlight was the Veghetti – an enterprise my pasta-loving self was deeply sceptical of prior to trying it. Both vegan and gluten free, this hearty dish gets its lip-smackingly creamy, nutty taste from a dairy-free ‘Parmesan’ sauce, which served as the perfect foil for crisp spiralised veg and sun-dried tomatoes.
The vegan tacos meanwhile, were a colourful delight, with mashed avocado, salsa fresca, boiled egg, black beans and Greek yoghurt – a veritable clean-eating fiesta. The final dish we sampled was the Kati Roll: house-made paratha bread topped with an artfully-arranged, nutrient-packed, topping of kale, spicy sweet potato, fresh mint and yoghurt – another triumph of presentation and beautifully balanced flavours. We went strictly vegetarian with our meal, but Co. is not meat free and various dishes allow for meaty additions if you’re so inclined.
I thoroughly recommend you round off your meal, as I did, with a Co. speciality, the luxurious, bitter-sweet hot cacao, but the ‘wholesome shakes’ (which include flavours like toasted coconut or homemade hazelnut butter), sound like a definite winner too.
As well as serving brunches and lunches, Co. hosts regular evening pop-ups with local street food traders, plus various cookery classes, kids’ activities and craft sessions. There’s a stunning meeting space available too, plus regular yoga classes – keep an eye on their Twitter feed @cofifteen to see what’s coming up.
Co. at No.15. 15 High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge CB1 9HX.