What would it take for you to feel as though you really had your shit together?
Like, what’s the one indicator of a successful, functioning adult life that you just can’t seem to get a hang of, no matter what you do?
For me, it’s having food in the house. Specifically, breakfast food. I stopped buying snacky things, like crisps and biscuits, a long time ago because I’d just eat them right away and by then it was as good as not buying them in the first place. Somehow that evolved to become bread, and breakfast cereal. If it’s in the house, it’ll just get eaten, usually at 3am by … somebody who is not me.
Adulting, to me, looks like being able to get up in the morning and having a couple of pieces of toast, or whipping up some pancakes with fruit or pouring a glass of orange juice like something out of Instagram. It does not look like waking up late, throwing myself into work and then emerging, shaking, at 2pm with my blood sugar through the floor and having to run out to the McDonald’s across the road because I’ve left it too late to walk the extra 100 yards to the big Tesco and to stand for long enough to cook something.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s never been that much of a problem during my working week. I have breakfast in the office (and an overpriced coffee on the way – a habit I’m trying to wean myself off of) because it means an extra 20 minutes in bed. So it’s only a problem on the weekends.
And on Mondays.
Which is why, even though my invite to Partick’s Caffe Monza was for a coffee, a slice of cake and the use of their wifi, I wasn’t about to do anything before a plate of soup.
In a prime spot on Dumbarton Road, right next to Partick train station (making it almost as handy for us this-bit-of-the-east-enders as our west end equivalents), Caffe Monza is ideally located to be both a destination meeting spot and to take advantage of passing trade. The place has barely been open a year but its combination classic exterior and rustic/hipster decor, combined with its excellent selection of locally sourced coffee, sandwiches and cake mean it already has the feel of a west end institution.
Despite the variety of freshly-made sandwiches displayed attractively at the counter area, when I heard the soup of the day was minestrone my mind was already made up. Rich, thick and a little bit spicy, and served with two pieces of homemade Italian-style bread, this soup was exactly what I needed to break my fast – and came in at less than three quid too.
Stomach suitably lined, I took my server’s recommendation and went for a slice of the cinder toffee cake instead of my usual choice of Victoria sponge, or even the chocolate cake that came highly recommended. The cake selection is displayed along the top of the counter and I can’t imagine it is fresh every day, but the slice I was served was as fluffy as the day it was baked. This is definitely a cake for the sweet-toothed among you though – the toffee-flavoured butter icing is sweet as sin and twice as tasty.
I forgot to check which of Glasgow’s many excellent local roasters supplies Caffe Monza’s coffee, but my latte was rich and tasty without a hint of bitterness. The cafe also serves Eteaket tea, and runs a loyalty scheme for frequent purchases – ideal for those west end residents grabbing a hot drink to go before their morning train, I suspect.
The staff had very kindly reserved a booth at the back of the cafe for my visit, and told me that I was welcome to bring my laptop – and I was delighted to abuse their hospitality for the rest of the afternoon and get a little work done. Thankfully for my purposes the place stayed on the right side of busy throughout – decently bustling, but not so much that I felt like a total freeloader while I nursed my drink and knuckled down – and nobody made me feel unwelcome.
The wifi was a little patchy for my purposes, meaning that it wouldn’t be my first choice if I was up against a journalism deadline, but it would be an ideal location if I was after something a bit more relaxed and wanted to get away from the world and disappear into my own thoughts for a couple of hours. Perhaps the only real downside of the place was that for most of the afternoon, the music was the worst kind of bland Sheeran-songwriter fare – but hey, a decent pair of headphones will deal with that.
Before I left, I couldn’t resist taking them up on the milkshakes they were advertising – and it was a light, delicious delight, served in a mason-style glass and with a whipped cream topping. Accompanied by a tasty mini cannoli, it was definitely a winner. Caffe Monza is also serving freshly-blended fruit smoothies and Porrelli ice cream all summer, making it the perfect place for an after-work treat (they’re open until 7pm on weeknights).
The one-line review: a really welcoming, friendly cafe with great food and drink at excellent prices. I’ll be back.
Thanks to Caffe Monza for the coffee and cake. All views are, as ever, my own and unbiased.