Food review: Victor Victoria Coffee, Newmarket
- Credit: Simon Weir/Archant
Top-quality coffee, a superb sausage roll and a world-class millionaire's shortbread: welcome to Newmarket's Victor Victoria Coffee.
How to celebrate Mother's Day? I'd already dropped a card and flowers off outside my parent's house, but what could I do for my partner - on behalf of her kids? I decided cakes were the answer and Newmarket has a new coffee shop, opened just before the start of last year's lockdowns, which offers a fine selection.
Victor Victoria is opposite the church, on the corner of the pedestrianised Sun Lane and Palace Street. It's quite brave for a new coffee shop to open here when there's one of the major chains a few hundred feet away on the high street, at the other end of Sun Lane - but it's a great offering. It's light and welcoming, with a local artist's work on the walls (not horses - unusual for Newmarket...)
It's open for takeaways at the moment, with good Covid precautions in place: sanitiser by the door, not many people in at once, with lots of space, big plastic screens above the counter: everything you'd wish to see.
I ended up ordering lunch for myself and Ali, with enough cakes for the family. While waiting for the hot elements to be prepared, I ordered a flat white (£2.70). It is a coffee shop, after all. The verdict? Just what a flat-white should be: strong coffee with a hit of chocolate, un-scalded and gently froth milk, but not so much it's as milky as a latte.
The hot element of the lunch was a toasted sandwich for me: chorizo, three cheese and local chilli jam (£6.50). It came in a nicely recyclable cardboard box that transported it pretty well and kept the heat in without it getting sweaty. It was a good toastie: tasty sourdough that wasn't drying out, elastic melted cheese with a gentle paprika savouriness of chorizo, backed by a good whack of chilli heat.
I did also go for an impulsive sausage roll (£3.50), fresh out of the oven, with glossy pasty and generous dimensions. It positively screamed "eat me" and I wasn't disappointed when I did (though I did feel guilty about having that and the toastie. The diet starts next week, I tell you...). The pastry flaked apart perfectly, the interior was rich and unctuous without being fatty, just packed with gently spiced/herbed porky goodness: it was a very fine sausage roll.
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Ali had gone for a slice of the quiche (£4.50 when not coming with a salad, as it presumably will when eating-in returns). This was generous slice of a wide cheese and roasted-pepper disc with a deep, firm filling. "Sometimes quiches this big can get a bit sloppy or eggy, but this is perfect," she said, forgiving me for smashing it about in transit. The pastry was good too - no soggy bottom - and it was well-seasoned.
But there's no doubt that even these main-lunch elements were, really, just the starter: the main event was the distribution of cakes; with three children hovering anxiously to see which sweet treat they'd snatch, as they hadn't been present when I picked them up. Kids always want to know that they've got the best one, don't they? This time, there were no complaints from anyone as all the options were outstanding - and actually matched up with their individual favourite flavours.
The youngest had the Rice Krispies square (£1.80) chewy with marshmallow without being sickly. There was a note of vanilla or possibly white chocolate, but also a hint of something berry-ish so it wasn't just sugar. Very nice.
The middle offspring had the white-chocolate rocky road (£3.25) topped with a drizzle of a caramel sauce. It was very sweet and rich - frankly, such a generous portion could have been divided and eaten in two sittings.
The eldest went with the classic: a chocolate brownie (£2.95). This was outstanding: thick and fudgily gooey (but not bordering-on-uncooked, as some brownies are). The top was crispy - perhaps not quite with the classic crisping you might see on the "perfect" brownie, but that's easily forgiven when it's topped with further chocolate and a salted-caramel drizzle that lifts the whole thing into another league.
Of the remaining options, Ali had the caramel Cornflake crunch (£3.50). This was an oozingly soothing block of soft sugariness on a base of soft, almost cake-like chocolate biscuit. It was very similar to the base of my millionaire's shortbread (£3.50)
Now, I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of the millionaire's shortbread - and I can tell you that the best in the world come from a particular cafe in Strathalbyn, near Adelaide in South Australia. But the Victor Victoria one gives it a run for its money: there's a great chocolate topping, a really generous layer of delicious caramel and then the meltingly soft chocolate base. I'll be sorry when next week's diet starts, because I'd rather be living on these...
One of the things I've missed most in the lockdowns is the simple pleasure of sitting in a good coffee shop, chatting with friends, drinking a really decent cup of coffee and maybe tucking into a snack. Newmarket does have some good options... but with a brilliant flat white and excellent cakes, when indoor eating returns, this is certainly where I'll come.
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