“ Address: Birdforth / Easingwold / York YO61 4NW / Tel: 01845 501495 „
I read so many craft blogs, foodie blogs and subscribe to a bunch of magazines and newsletters that sometimes it feels my head might spin off with all of the recommended places to go to indulge your food, craft and shopping love; particularly when all of these places seem to be over 300 miles from my house, in old London Town or the surrounding areas. One word sums up my feelings on pop up shops, shop / eat / do places and other cool, kitsch venues - Jealousy! I just imagine these places to be like a little Alice in Wonderland / Willy Wonker emporium where you can break a bit of your craft project off and snack on it and it will taste like Tomato Soup, then a Roast Dinner followed by Blueberry pudding in your mouth - and you will of course look super cool, sitting there in your thrifted Vintage get up. Ok, it's safe to say my imagination is running wild... but you get the picture.
This was all until I took a recent trip to York and on the way home; we decided to make a breakfast pit stop at the next place we found which was a) open and b) served coffee. We followed the signs from the A19 to the Corner Cupboard. We had absolutely no idea what it would be like (assuming motorway café = greasy spoon) but we couldn't have been more wrong. We were greeted with a small car park and a back entrance to the place which was cluttered with pots of flowers, sculptures, benches and garden ornaments. Through the tiny door we landed in the most charming shopping emporium I've ever seen, packed to the rafters with an eclectic mix of hand finished goodies, designer interiors and vintage treasures. The cash desk had the biggest wrapping station ever. It was safe to say, this was no greasy spoon.
We were greeted by a very nicely turned out waiter who showed us through the shop to the restaurant area and let us choose our seats. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven it was so beautiful. The windows were decorated with gorgeous ribbons and huge candy coloured baubles, the walls with fine ornate mirrors and the tables with pretty cloths and oversized salt & pepper shakers. Even the menu was eccentric with a little cute West Highland terrier winking up at us from the front cover and quirky little quotes throughout. The menu was my personal favourite though, with culinary delights like clotted cream and home made jam scones, smoked salmon sandwiches served with a filo basket filled with a herb and lime crème fraiche and a hot 'hob' with bacon, grapes and French brie with French fries and coleslaw. Delightful! We settled on a couple of rounds of bacon sandwiches and a pot of coffee, after all, it was only 10.30am.
The Corner Cupboard is owned by Peter and Gerd Handley who aren't new to the catering business. They have owned a few different country pubs, gastro pubs and a hotel before opening the Corner Cupboard in 2004. As well as the shop, the amazing lunch and light bite menu they serve desserts too, like Toblerone cakes and crème brulees, cheesecakes and sticky toffee pudding. Oh, and as a very lovely touch, you can buy all of the pickles, jams and preserves that they use on their menu for only £2.75 a jar.
The service was languid, the atmosphere relaxed and the coffee endless! We spent a good hour or so just taking in the décor, wandering around the shop, gossiping and watching the world go by out of the window. It was absolutely fantastic. Needless to say it was immaculate, the toilets were even special with lovely hand wash and individual face cloth sized hand towels rather than disposable napkins / paper towels. When we came to pay our bill we were actually so sad to leave - I could have spent all afternoon there, there was just so much to see!
It almost satisfied my desire to find my own personal, little hidden gem where I could indulge my food, shopping and crafting passions - just there was no 'doing' or 'crafting', though I think the owners could easily convert some space and incorporate that in to the already fabulous establishment they own (who knows, they may do it in future!). Then it would really be an idyllic place for me to go and not too far from home. Highly recommend you visit, it's situated just off the A19 in Birdforth, check out their site for directions: http://www.thecornercupboard.co.uk/. It's open 9.30am until 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and in December 7 days a week (for the Christmas Shopping trade) plus they do some late nights. Their telephone number is 01845 501495; booking is advisable to avoid disappointment, during peak lunch times 12pm to 2pm.