54 King St, Cambridge CB1 1LN
Founded two summers ago, The Locker Cafe has suddenly shot to popularity among the student body in Cambridge over the past two terms. It’s a new favourite spot for brunch, equal only to Fitzbillies and Queens’ College buttery. Varsity (the student newspaper) reviewed it, and soon ‘you’ve not been to Locker Cafe yet?’ became a common line among my friendship group. So, when my exams ended and free time became a reality rather than a blissful fantasy, I was excited to pay a couple of visits with my friends.
The Locker Cafe is just a street away from the bustling city centre, making it feel that bit more like a hidden gem. The street might be quiet, but step inside and the cafe is bustling, conversation filling the air. Each time I’ve visited we’ve had to hunt for empty seats, resorting to dragging stools around a small table or sitting out on their small outdoor decking area. I would always see this busyness as an encouraging sign!
The interior is an eclectic yet homely mix of different chairs and comfy sofas, plants and artwork everywhere. In short, it feels like popping round to a very popular friend’s house on a Saturday morning – a friend who can cook wonderful, simple, delicious food.
Brunch is The Locker Cafe’s speciality. It’s served until 3pm, and they have classic options like avocado on toast, a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, a bacon bap, eggs benedict. The menu is simple, without long-winded descriptions listing every ingredient. It’s welcoming whilst still remaining very appetising.
Bacon and egg on sourdough toast was a popular choice with me and my friends, and though I’d have done the bacon a lot crispier myself, it tasted lovely once the perfectly soft-boiled egg had run all over it, and the garnishing coriander and liberal amounts of ground black pepper took it up another notch. On another visit, I was torn between creamy mushrooms (a personal favourite), and the daily special, a chorizo, cucumber and raclette panini. I chose the latter, which was delicious. Though their food is wonderfully simple, plenty of thought has clearly been put into ratios of flavour and texture.
There’s also a great range of cakes, coffees and teas, which just beg to be savoured on an afternoon visit. The coffee is roasted by another local independent business, Hot Numbers, a coffee company with two cafes in Cambridge (which are on my graduation bucket list!). Meanwhile, they have a great range of teas from upmarket brand T2.
All the mugs, saucers and espresso cups are pottery handmade by the owner, and are all for sale. They’re really beautiful. Similarly, the cafe features local art and sculpture, which is also for sale. It’s touches like this that make a cafe feel unique and special.
The brunch options cost around £6-8, while drinks cost £2-3. There were plenty of vegan and gluten free options. Yet another nice touch was that this was one of the only places I’ve ever been to ask ‘are you a student?’ (rather than leaving it to me to ask) and apply a 10% discount without making a big fuss about checking student ID.
I’d thoroughly recommend The Locker Cafe. It’s at once cosy and light, the food is simple yet delicious, and every aspect of it is welcoming, from the comfy sofa to the hand-made painted pottery.
More info can be found here.