“We freshly prepare 95% of our food in-house”, Feroza Bham, founder of Cue, tells me. “From brining the pastrami for seven days before smoking it for eight hours to making a fresh batch of hollandaise sauce every morning, my intention is to create a menu that focuses on fresh food.”
With the co-founder of high-end footwear purveyor Northern Cobbler in charge, Cue was never going to be just another independent coffee shop. Following the success of both Northern Cobbler’s luxury footwear range and the company’s namesake café in Clarendon Park, Cue is a solo enterprise for Feroza. The location, on Allandale Road in Stoneygate, has a personal connection too. “I grew up in the area,” she says, “and I’ve retained a soft spot for it.”
Cue has a coffee house atmosphere, but the focus is very much on its wholesome and nourishing food menu.
“I wanted it to be as healthy as possible,” Feroza says. “We do not have a deep fat fryer, therefore the majority of the items are smoked, baked or roasted. I wanted to have an emphasis on smoked meats as it adds so much flavour.”
The pulled smoked chicken accompanied by coleslaw and spicy barbecue sauce and served on a toasted brioche bun certainly fits the bill. As does Feroza’s own personal favourite – the beef hash cakes. These handcrafted beef and potato patties are served with poached eggs, smoked beef bacon and chipotle crème fraiche, and make a hearty brunch option.
The brunch and lunch selections both feature Cue’s signature smoked flavours as well as some tempting vegetarian dishes (the roasted butternut squash and baby leaf salad is highly recommended). There’s also a lighter breakfast menu with highlights such as coconut and chia pudding with granola and fresh berries. All three menus – breakfast, brunch and lunch – are available all day, giving you plenty to choose from.
Sweet-toothed visitors won’t be disappointed with the small but perfectly formed dessert selection. The indulgent treacle tart, served with vanilla ice cream and caramel popcorn, is a top-seller. Fans of Northern Cobbler’s comprehensive drinks menu will also feel right at home in Cue, with its fragrant coffee blend and range of herbal teas, juices and soft drinks.
Feroza has carried over the informal, minimal décor that works so well in Northern Cobbler to her new venture. She describes this signature look as being inspired by her own personal preference for clean lines, neutral colours and natural textures, but it also taps into some long-standing interior trends. Happily, despite these Pinterest-worthy surroundings, Cue’s commitment to great food means that it remains steadfastly substance over style.
It all gives the impression of being rather effortless. But while Feroza certainly has an instinctive talent for capturing the zeitgeist, Cue is the result of a huge amount of research, careful planning and hard work by her and her cohort of dedicated staff. Perhaps this is why I receive short shrift when I over-excitedly suggest that her next venture should be a cocktail bar imbued with her trademark minimal style and focus on freshly-prepared ingredients. “Ha! I think I have my hands full at the moment!” I’ve still got my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I’ve got Cue’s sweet waffles with hazelnut spread, caramelised banana, crème fraiche and almond crumble to keep me occupied.
Find Cue at 18 Allandale Road in Stoneygate.
Photography by David Wilson Clarke