Situated at Wellington Place just a stone’s throw away from the historic Central Station Wagon Hoist, modern coffee shop Sociable Folk’s customer-base seems to have grown about as rapidly as the multi-floor business blocks that surround it – like a shot. But the addition of these has naturally brought with it a few competitors.
In recent weeks bars such as the The Good Luck Club, The Place, and food options at the nearby new Central Square development have cropped up, meaning that the cafe no longer has the somewhat captive audience it did a few months ago.
Sitting on the long brown tables outside, it’s easy to see that it mainly caters for employees of the nearby offices such as Google and SkyBet, digital start-ups, those enviable lunatics who go for a run during their lunch hour and the odd ‘artsy’ punter. Laptop users working sternly sit side-by-side with beer-supping executive types: Professional Folk could equally be an appropriate name.
It offers wraps, paninis and salads as well as cakes and a wide range of coffees. Alcohol is also served, with good quality lager such as Estrella on tap.
Despite the quite severe interior, there’s something still quite Continental and casual about Sociable Folk, and indeed the staff are helpful, bright and chatty.
According to its signs, it specialises in “proper coffee” and my latte (£2.20), when it promptly arrived, came with the froth quaintly indented with a flowery shape in its glass mug atop a large sky blue saucer. It tasted proper enough and they even chucked in one of those ace little Lotus Biscoff biscuits. Speedy service: tick.
To eat, I’d ordered a Little Italy Wrap, which included salami, mozzarella, cheddar, roasted red pepper, spinach, cherry and sundried tomato and fresh basil (£4.50).
It was delivered to me neatly on a square plate with a pot of coleslaw (the person at the counter helpfully informed me of various side options, which I’d not known about) and some unexpected tortilla chips.
The wrap had been pressed in a grill so was nicely toasted on the outside and the filling – though a bit soggy and not the flavour-punch I’d hoped for – tasted good and fresh.
It benefits from a lot of natural light because of its large windows; features long, stone slabs for its tables and has plenty of seating for what is a small-ish place. As I said, slightly severe, but there are plenty of tables outside to watch the world go by, with patches of grass nearby – and the background music is upbeat. I’d say that value for money and decent service were delivered here, with a pleasant, filling lunch coming to just £6.70 all together.