And the award for the most picturesque setting goes to…….
….the Lakeside Café. It’s on a bank of Waterloo Lake, part of the large and luscious Roundhay Park, north Leeds.
My first impressions were of a place not best suited to Cosy Coffee Shops. Walking in, it felt like a typical tourist-venue-type café, with standard fare lunches and cappuccinos with one “p”. You know, the sort with £2 Ikea chairs and endless glass-fronted counters.
I’m glad to report this facade is only skin-deep. The comfy window seats, balcony overlooking the lake and unexpectly impressive coffee (my latte was delicious, and nicely topped with latte art) qualify Lakeside for a berth in the annals of Cosy Coffee Shops.
That said, there can be something of a frantic atmosphere at the weekends, and, on one of my two visits, the staff were a little terse. Also, the food is expensive.
Lakeside is much loved by locals and attracts a fair few of the park’s many visitors. It garnered broader attention a few years ago as winner of the 2005 Beverage Service Association “BEV-E” awards.
Since then, the café has been hit by disaster: a fire in early 2007 put it out of action for 17 months. It reoppened in June 2008 in the same (refurbished) building with the same management team, headed by restauranter David Rogers.
Jimmy Saville is a patron. What more could you want?
We visited on 7 December 2008.