When exploring a new town, one of the first things I do is head to a local café to see what’s on offer. Although I visit chains as well (though this won’t be happening this year as part of my 2020 goals), the local food scene can give a great impression as to what the area is like, and I love experiencing specialities that are different to my hometown. I recently visited Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk for their 2019 Christmas Fayre, so popular local café and tearoom Really Rather Good naturally became our first stop.
Really Rather Good is situated on Abbeygate Street in Bury St. Edmunds, directly facing the Abbey Gate entrance to the Abbey Gardens. It has a lovely British charm to it, with a classy feel from the outside and a cosy environment within. Inside it has two seating areas – the main area at the front, where the service point is positioned, and another, smaller part tucked away behind the kitchen, furnished with polka dot seating and by a non-intrusive staircase leading down to the basement bathroom.
The place is admittedly a rather small and snug eatery – not the sort of café you want to be taking a wealth of shopping bags into. To counteract the lack of space the walls feature large mirrors, giving the illusion of spaciousness and avoiding visitors feeling cramped. The rest of the décor is lovely (we got to witness a beautiful Christmas display due to the time of year), and the staff were both pleasant and cheery.
The menu of Really Rather Good features lots of café staples spanning over light bites, lunch, treats, and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), with some exciting additions that I haven’t seen anywhere else. The classic British Ploughman’s lunch is on offer, which is always popular, plus they offer two vegan lunches – a vegan panini and even vegan cheese on toast. Their range of drinks was very good, and I was drawn to the hot chocolate menu – which features white, ginger, Baileys, and Turkish delight as well as the classic milk chocolate option. Paul and family went for flat whites and a pot of tea, but I just had to try the Turkish delight hot chocolate and see how flavoursome it was compared to the real thing.
No complaints about the coffee and tea were heard, which were of high quality, and my hot chocolate was gorgeous – the Turkish delight syrup really came through and tasted very similar to the proper blocks of Turkish delight you can buy by the box. I’m really fussy about hot chocolates as they have to be a certain level of creaminess for me to entertain them (none of that instant stuff, please), and this one was just the right texture and thickness for me.
We didn’t order lunch at Really Rather Good as we were saving ourselves for the market Würst (which, let’s face it, is the only thing you should eat at a Christmas Fayre), but we did sample a couple of their cakes on display. Paul opted for a generously-sized slab of shortbread and I went for the coconut macaroon, a treat that I adore but rarely eat. Both were really lovely, obviously freshly made and perfect with the coffee and hot chocolate. I particularly appreciated the generous helping of sweet jam in my macaroon and loved the branded plate that it came out on!
The main special feature that I noticed about Really Rather Good is that they are dog-friendly, which is lovely. It’s so hard to come by dog-friendly cafés in the UK nowadays, making the place a great option for anyone out and about with their furry friend.
Aside from that they also offer afternoon tea and takeaway drinks, plus of course you can also visit for a liquid lunch. Free WiFi makes it a good option for those working remotely, too.
Although we weren’t there for long, we had a great experience at Really Rather Good and I almost certainly would go back there should I find myself in Bury St. Edmunds again. The one bathroom led to long waiting times as it was particularly busy when we went (which also made it super cosy), but the café owners have done what they can with the space and got the most out of it. I’d recommend going outside of peak hours to avoid potentially not being able to get a seat, but make sure you do check it out if you’re in the area – it’s wonderfully central and surrounded by a great set of Bury St. Edmunds attractions to check out once you’ve filled yourself with enough cake and caffeine.
What’s the most unusual or quirky hot chocolate you’ve ever tried? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin! You can read some of my other café reviews here: