Gray’s Coffee Shop & Kitchen

About a month ago, I noticed a post on Facebook from Gray’s Coffee Shop and Kitchen. Hospitality here in Leicester had already had a tough time with the extended lockdown. Then they had found out that someone in LCB Depot had tested positive for Coronavirus. Now those of you who don’t know Gray’s, they are based in the Depot, but they are a separate business. The LCB Depot is full of creative businesses who hold office space there. Whoever was sick was not necessarily a Gray’s customer. Given the layout of the buildings, they might not even have visited the same building as the cafe at all. But despite this, Gray’s had taken the decision to have all of their staff tested for Covid-19 and to shut until they got the results of those tests back.

Now, this struck me as an extremely responsible course of action. Especially for a business that had only just been able to re-open at all, and was still subject to Leicester’s extended lockdown restrictions in comparison to the rest of the country. In fact we’ve only just had a slight loosening thanks to the Tier system. This has finally allowed us people to visit in our gardens again!! So I duly posted a comment saying how much I respect them for doing this and that I would make a note to visit for lunch as soon as possible when they re-opened.

Open for business

Happily they were able to re-open after just a couple of days because their team all tested negative. This was back in the day when getting a Covid test in Leicester was easier than dialling a pizza. And today on one of my once weekly (or less) visits to the city I was able to make good on my promise and pop in for lunch.

The smoked duck breast sandwich called to me, but the venison meatball sandwich won out, after an autumnal cycle through crunchy leaves into town. This was served with a celeriac mash. It was not served with the advertised horseradish cream. Quite frankly I can live without horseradish in my life (and wasabi and mustard – I know, I know.) I added a side of fries, because I am a hungry lady. Nice. It was most delicious. The venison meatballs were top class. The fries were home-fry style (skin on) and also very tasty although just a fraction overdone for my liking as they had a tendency to ping off under the pressure of the fork onto the floor. I ended up just eating them with my fingers, which is no big deal because of course my hands are washed and sanitised around seven thousand times a day.

Venison meatball sandwich

I got a warm welcome and a tasty lunch (£8.50 with a glass of tap water as I managed to resist a beer). An independent eatery got another customer because they put people before profit. And I hope by writing this up and sharing it they might get a couple more customers. They do a fab regularly changing, seasonal and freshly prepared menu. You can even sign up to emails to get their menu daily just to tempt you which I will confess to delighting in reading.

Go support a small business, even if you only give them £8.50 like I did. After all, we really are all in it together. Wash your hands and don’t vote Tory.


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

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