Stokes Collection Café, Lincoln
Sarah Eddy visited Stokes Collection Café with other members of her family for a lunchtime pick-me-up and play.
Stokes is one of the best known names in the county, for their own blend teas and roasted coffee. Within Lincoln their three cafes – each with a distinct location, atmosphere and menus – are popular destinations for customers to enjoy a wide choice of refreshments.
We (myself, son, Mum and niece) had arranged a weekend get-together and the Collection Café ticked all the boxes for not only a relaxing lunch but also secure yet stimulating surroundings for the children once their attention wandered.
The Café is within The Collection Museum, part of the Danes Terrace cultural area, which also includes the Usher Gallery and Temple Gardens. The architecture award-winning museum hosts permanent as well as touring exhibitions, regular activities and events for all age groups.
We arrived just after 12.30pm and the café was already bustling with families. Some of the tables had been reserved which is something we will do in the future. We managed to find comfortable seats on a sofa with a low table and looked through the menu. At the weekend the Brunch and Children’s menus are at the forefront, although when we queued at the counter to order there were more options available. There were also paninis, salad bowls or crepes. This was fortunate as my niece had made her choice from the website and had set her heart on a lemon pancake.
I opted for the Full English Crepe served with sautéed potatoes and salad and my mother went for Eggs Benedict with breakfast potatoes. For the children, my son had a Woolly Mammoth Lunch Box with home-cooked ham dinosaur shaped sandwiches and cheese, along with crisps, and an apple or vegetable crudités, while my niece was delighted she could watch her pancake being made fresh on the crepe maker. There were plenty of other choices of sandwich fillings or crepe toppings.
Despite a wait to order at the counter our food was served within ten minutes, along with perfectly made drinks; a hot chocolate, a latte, a pot of tea and a Babycino served with marshmallows for my son. The food was served on elegant crockery and was nicely presented. There was a real mix of adults, families and children in the café so there was a buzz and lively atmosphere while we ate. It all felt very relaxed, which meant I could thoroughly enjoy the delicious food and not feel on tenterhooks once the children went to explore.
With our youngsters aged below 10, the heritage themed play area with its stage, period dressing up costumes, swords and Playmobil sets was a magnet for them and plenty of others. The more formal exhibits which still have many interactive displays and features are perhaps best visited with an adult.
I was momentarily drawn by the wonderful jewellery in the shop showcases but we could not resist the very tempting display of cakes which are all homemade at the Collection Café. We tried the delicious brownie and carrot cake (bestsellers, we were told) but there was also rocky road, or flapjacks, as well as other options (including gluten free).
The menu is excellent value for money, with locally sourced ingredients and brands highlighted. Time spent with family is so important and to find a city centre location, with convenient parking, which is relaxing for children and the adults with them is special indeed. Whether you visit during the week or at the weekend, this is a family friendly venue which has a wealth of well prepared food and indulgent treats at its heart.