Soft Touch sMASHing Pop-Up Thursday Cafe

I already told you about how awesome the pop-up cafe at Soft Touch Arts is on a Thursday when I made my recommendation for five top lunches for under a fiver, but I think you didn’t all get the memo because I went on Thursday and it was really quiet. It really shouldn’t have been quiet. So I’m trying again and this time I’m serious.

Everyone’s heard about Soft Touch Arts and the amazing work they do with young people in the city. They’ve been going for 30 years and use arts, media and creative projects to inspire and engage young people and to help them to develop new skills and boost their employability. The quality of their work is undeniable – they are picking up awards like there is no tomorrow at the moment – I saw them scoop the award for Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders at the Niche Business Awards held at the Athena last night. Last week they won the Social Impact Award at the Leicestershire East Midlands Chamber awards.

Picking up their gong last night

So their work is important and effective, but I am not sure that you all know about their swank new premises on New Walk. I’m guessing that’s why you haven’t visited their cafe yet. So let me make it simple. Walk up New Walk, away from town. Just before you get to New Walk Museum on your right, you will see Soft Touch Arts on your left at number 50. They are the only people with a giant, decorated ’30’ in honour of their anniversary. There’ll also be a sandwich board with the cafe details on so you’ll know you’re in the right place. Their cafe is on each Thursday, but they also have a range of interesting and inspirational exhibitions throughout the year so keep an eye on their website to see what is on when and make sure you visit regularly.

Once you get to the cafe, you face a difficult choice. Soup, salad, or sandwich? Of course I couldn’t pick just one so went for the soup of the day, Lentil and Vegetable, along with a toasted sandwich of tuna, red onion and red pesto. You can select from a range of sandwiches on thick slices of white or brown bread, toasted or not for just £3. If you’re more in a salad mood then there are a range of choices and you can have up to three for your £3. Roasted vegetables, falafel, veggie couscous and more are available to suit veggies and tuna, lemon chicken or ham, brie and cranberry are there for the more carnivorous minded.

Everything is freshly made by young people who are out of education or training, and also students from Leicester College. They are trained and supported by a dedicated team of volunteers who help them develop new skills as well as providing delicious, wholesome food from their beautifully equipped kitchen – supported by grants and schemes led by a number of projects and the major supermarkets.

My fresh soup was absolutely delicious – packed with veggie flavour, lovely and thick and really nicely seasoned. My tuna melt with gooey cheese, again beautifully seasoned tuna with crisp red onion and a lovely backnote of flavour from the red pesto was lip smacking. Really satisfying food. Topped off with a pot of fresh coffee, this was an informal, friendly but gorgeous lunch.

If you’ve still space for more, they also have a selection of freshly prepared baked goods. You had better be quick off the blocks for these though – they sell quickly! If you can’t make it across to Soft Touch, never fear – they do a delivery round to businesses on New Walk between 9.30am and 11am. You can call for delivery before 11am on 0116 255 2592 and they even provide catering for business lunches, meetings and events from just £3.50 per head. 

What are you waiting for? Get down there this Thursday, enjoy some delicious food and why not tweet us your #foodporn pics to @Morrighani or @SoftTouchArts!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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