Working lunch: Gather of Cheshire, Congleton

Coffee, cake, brilliant customer service. This quirky café has it all, along with some of the most delicious dishes that you can savour over a relaxed lunch hour (or longer).

Beautiful table decorations at Gather of Cheshire

I love a café, as you’ll probably have guessed from my trips to Leek, and a little further afield to Hawaii! But Gather of Cheshire in Congleton has to rank as one of my all-time favourites. And not just because of the delicious food that’s on offer (although it has to be said, the Fish Finger Sandwich Special they put on last year was a world beater). No, it’s more to do with the very special atmosphere that Gather has been able to create thanks to an eclectic décor, convivial atmosphere, great soundtrack, and the sheer variety of clientele who happily blend together while enjoying Gather’s hospitality.

Gather specials board

It gets a great write up from me

When writer’s block strikes, I often head to Gather, armed with my laptop or notebook, to find inspiration at a table by the window. I order a large latte, a little something to eat, and before the food has arrived I’m usually scribbling or tapping away. Inspiration inevitably leads to a second latte as the time flies by and the words appear, as if by magic.

I’m not the only person who seems to love Gather for a light working lunch. I’ve seen colleagues refining business strategies, students studying together, and people engrossed in their laptops who could be doing anything from sending work emails to writing the next best seller. What am I writing? Well that’s top secret, but if it works out, you’ll be the first to know.

It’s dog friendly, so you can expect to see a few furry friends stowed away under the tables.

Everyone’s favourite café

But writers and co-workers aside, there are plenty of others who gather at Gather. It’s dog friendly, so you can expect to see a few furry friends stowed away under the tables. It’s also pram friendly, which makes it a great destination for new mums or proud grandparents. And it’s pensioner friendly, with easy-to-read menus and no rush to down your cup of tea and vacate your table.

To extend its appeal even further, Gather is also open for cocktails from noon to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and does fabulous brunch takeaways (for collection of delivery) on Sundays.

So what about the all-important eating experience?

Gather goats cheese and bacon salad

Serving delicious food all day

Gather has an impressive selection of delicious coffees and teas, cold drinks, alcoholic beverages and evening cocktails. I love the lattes, which always arrive in mix and match crockery, complete with a long spoon to rescue the very last coffee froth from the bottom of the cup. The small but perfectly-composed menu takes you effortlessly from breakfast pancakes and brunch toasties to light salads and loaded lunch plates. Plus vegetarian and vegan options too.

On this particular occasion, I opted for the goat’s cheese and bacon salad with balsamic dressing. It was delivered to my table by the chef himself, which I always think is a sign that a venue takes particular pride in the quality of its food. The salad looked sensational and tasted even better. At Gather, the portions are more than generous and the prices represent good value. So go on, treat yourself to something sweet or savoury.

Next time I get writer’s block, I’m definitely going to try the Victoria sponge cake.

Hanging baskets at Gather of Cheshire

Go-solo star rating
5 *****

Let’s go!
Gather of Cheshire
3 High Street
+44 1260 279990 or www.facebook.com/GatherOfCheshire/

Go-Solo tip
Parking on High Street is limited to half an hour, but it’s free to park after 3.00pm in Lawton Street car park, which is just a short stroll away. You’re welcome.

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