A class act when it comes to the toasted sandwich and good for coffee, Driftwood Coffee Shop is a must for lunch in Barnstaple.
Why it’s on my list
Winter is coming, which means hunkering down somewhere cosy with a warm drink and some comfort food. There’s a few places I can think of in North Devon, but I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new, and the Driftwood Cafe presented itself as a potential in the damp greyness of a murky day.
Location: Gammon Walk, Barnstaple
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 9am-5pm
To note: If you like to work in a coffee shop, note that you can’t bring your laptop on Saturdays, and only for a maximum 30 minutes between 11am and 3pm on weekdays. It’s about being a courteous customer when the shop is at its busiest.
Delicious, comforting food that makes me happy, that’s my immediate thought when I think of Driftwood Coffee Shop. Perfect Saturday lunch material.
They really do know their coffee. As well as offering lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites and the like, they can also make your cup using different brewing techniques. They offer cold brew coffee, have drip coffee equipment and can prepare coffee in Chemex, V60, Aeropress and french press coffee makers. Now can anyone really call themselves a coffee shop if they aren’t doing all of the above? The coffee we had was good, so maybe next time we will be more adventurous.
What I had
One Saturday lunchtime we popped in and I ordered a sausage sandwich (half with tomato ketchup and half with brown sauce) with a tropical smoothie – tropical juice, mango and banana.
My husband had a strawberry smoothie that I managed to persuade him to let me try, made with strawberries, tropical juice and yoghurt.
We didn’t have coffee that time, and as a coffee shop I thought I really had to try the coffee. So we went for lunch again – I had a mocha and a chicken, pesto and mozzarella panini, whilst husband went for a flat white and a Brie, bacon and cranberry toasted sandwich (award winning in 2015, said the menu).
There were free jugs of tap water and glasses on the sideboard near the back, just help yourself.
As we went on two trips I’m allowing myself two favourites.
I love a sausage sandwich, and Driftwood offers a no-frills sandwich that ticks all the boxes for a perfect sausage sandwich. Multiple sausages, sliced so the sandwich as a whole isn’t too thick, with a light slick of butter and granary bread – yum. Add ketchup and what more could you want? Thought I would also give brown sauce a try, it’s nice but not as good as ketchup in my opinion – sorry brown sauce fans!
I only had one bite of the Brie, bacon and cranberry toasted sandwich but it was enough to convince me that it deserves its award-winning status. Gooey with cheese, sweet with cranberry and salty with bacon – simply magnificent.
Not the best
I wish they were open a little earlier so I could pop in to get a coffee on my way into work. 8am would be nice, but then I can only imagine how early that would mean the staff would have to get up!
Driftwood has a fantastic location on Gammon Walk, standing alongside some quirky shops in this quaint alley. We sat inside, but I really fancy sitting outside one day to watch the world go by. Even on a cold day it would be lovely, just make sure you order a hot drink.
Inside, it’s cosy and welcoming. It’s mostly wooden chairs and tables, so not the kind of place you can sit for hours and hours by yourself, but there are some sofas by the window if you want to mull over your coffee for a little while. It’s a good place to catch up with friends.
Order that award-winning sandwich!