Coffee, tea and homemade cakes in Trinity Street, Colchester
- Credit: Archant
When you say Mediterranean what comes to mind? Beach holidays, relaxing over coffee and glorious summer days.
You might not be able to guarantee the sunshine in Essex.
But there certainly was a sunny welcome when I dropped in to the new Cafe Med on a Friday.
Businesswoman Semra Avcikaya took over the former Artcafe in Trinity Street earlier this year and set about transforming it.
Mrs Avcikaya is already well known in local business circles having been running the award-winning Alaturka Turkish restaurant in Ipswich for the past seven years.
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While that is mainly an evening business, the new cafe is mainly a daytime attraction.
I called in on market day when there were market stalls on the streets nearby and the whole area was buzzing.
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She said: “It used to to be the Artcafe. The first time I saw it I fell in love with it.
“It is a lovely Grade II listed building with lots of character. For many years it used to be an antiques shop.
“There are so many cafes and breakfast places in Colchester. I like to personalise things and I wanted to give it a Mediterranean theme and culture.
“We are gradually changing the menu, introducing more interesting things and we are finding people love it. It is going well so far.
“We have a lot of regular customers and we want to take them along with us. We want it to be a homely environment, outside of your home.
“Some people do come in to us two and three times a week.”
Chef Chris Leeson had really bought into the changes, she said, and was contributing new menu ideas, as well as baking all the cakes and bread.
“We have a `specials’ board for cakes. Everything is freshly made here.
“We have 12 different cakes a day, and a gluten free range.
“One of our most popular cakes is gluten-free blueberry and banana. People just go for it. Baklava is also very popular.”
You can still get a British fry-up for breakfast, if you want.
The lunchtime menu includes salads, of course, and the likes of humus, haloumi and mezze platters.
There are speciality teas, and coffee roasted in Suffolk.
The cafe has been completely re-designed, and painted in warm tones, with designs by Ipswich-based Sandy Armitage.
“She designed the logos and hand-painted the signs,” explained Semra.
There are even paintings on the walls, donated by customers.
Cafe Med is open six days a week.