Ever walked into a place, knowing it’s exactly where you belong? Of course you have, most of us have experienced it, maybe multiple times. Today, I had one of those instances.
Myself and my better half visited a brand-spanking-new establishment in the heart of Northfield, named Allegro. Because my god, Northfield needs a cheery place. Honestly – it does. I can count at least 5 cafes that have sprung up between the high street and the Grosvenor shopping centre in the last… Well, 5 years. Some are thriving, such as Cosy Coffee, and some have failed. The rest of this little town features a couple of ‘markets’ (phone repairs and vape stands), charity shops, a McDonalds quite permanently manned by bouncers, a Post Office and a couple of bargain shops. Bargain shops are great. So is a cheeky McMuffin. The rest of the high street feels, well pretty irrelevant. Tired. Sad: very sad. Northfield has quite the reputation of ‘drunks, weirdos and young girls pushing multiple prams around’ – the latter I was one of. How you’re meant to transport small humans around (unless in a sling – which in this part would be deemed hippy and weird), without a pushchair, I’m not sure. Alas, I’m going off on a tangent. Basically, I was shocked when I heard The Lounges/Loungers were opening up a joint in Northfield. Opposite the square where the drunks hang out, no less. When McDonalds is bursting at the seams, it’s a ‘child benefit must have gone in’ kind of day, or if Aldi is packed out with pensioners, more of the same. I didn’t have high hopes of their success, because I knew of the prices of the eateries versus the success of McDonalds in these parts.
Judgemental? Christ, yeah, what a bi***. It never crossed my mind that if me and Mr A enjoy places like Allegro, others in Northfield would too. Duh. How rude of me.
So we got there at opening time on their first day. I absolutely love the smell of fresh timber and brand spanking new décor, which we were indeed greeted with. The décor itself was as expected: quirky, genuinely interesting (the history of passenger aircrafts bought the AV geek in me right out), and colourful. Each table is seemingly hand-painted with unique designs: a leopard print table? They’ve completed it mate. The bar is long and beautiful, there’s a slight open kitchen and smiling, joyful staff.
My plan was to have a coffee and leave, but apt to its name, we decided to erm, lounge a little. Couldn’t be helped. Be rude not to.
Freshly ground coffee for under £3 is always a winner for me, especially when served with a copious amount of chocolate sprinkles. I had a gorgeous Mocha and he had a homemade pink lemonade, which was zingy and refreshing. In fact all of the homemade soft drinks sound great – I’m particularly excited about trying a watermelon iced tea on my next visit. These drinks seemed to spark an appetite so we had a look over their ‘brunch’ style food. (Tapas also available – deals on a Tuesday – as well as legendary burgers. But it was 9am.)
We both decided on a strong breakfast muffin, which came with a delectably warm muffin, flavourful sausage patty, fried egg and back bacon. Killer. Breakfast muffin of dreams and well worth the extra couple of quid compared to maccies down the road. You even get service with a smile.
Settling into our giant leather armchairs, I perused over the selection of games. Monopoly, Scrabble and connect-4: all up for grabs. We decided on a quick game of cards. What was great was the selection for kids: colouring, lego, cute wooden cars and a bead loop for the youngest ones. What was also great was the consideration for big kids (like us) wanting to play games.
We settled on a game of cards – can’t go wrong. Allegro also features a book swap for those wanting to amuse themselves solo. Absolutely not like that. It hit 10am, so Mr A jumped at the chance of a morning pint. Suppose it was noon somewhere over in Eastern Europe. Though a plentiful choice of draught, I satisfied my craving of a freshly squeezed orange juice which did not disappoint.
At this stage, we decided to leave and not because we wanted to (the dog needed walking – though I do believe The Lounges are pooch friendly). We certainly left happy, which is what the company aims to deliver.
Can’t wait to visit again, Allegro. In case you were wondering, they cater for: vegans and veggies, coeliacs/GF, Christmas, and all around legends. The music is also a’pumping, so bring your best foot to tap. I hope the people of Northfield leave whatever their frequented places are behind and gather here: it really feels like a home from home.