(A note to my patient and ever-forgiving readers…I wrote this on Wednesday evening but have been having some technical issues with photos. That’s why the timing makes no sense)
A cafe named after a dog named after a Bowie song? In Highams Park? I literally cannot imagine a concept more perfect for me. The Cafe Latte site opposite Tesco has been so sadly empty for so long that I would have been overjoyed at pretty much anything opening there but a Bowie cafe gift shop? Amazing. HP cafe culture has taken a big upturn of late, with first Pantry & Co opening, now Ziggy Played Guitar and, on Saturday, La Boite opens, serving crepes and galettes from the disused signal box. Luckily, I have enough room in my heart for all of them.
We decided to go to Ziggy’s, as it’s already being called, today because..well…I needed coffee…but also because it was staying open till 5pm instead of its usual 4pm so we could fit in an after-school visit. Turns out that half of HP had the same idea, with everyone from Crafty Kilner to Queen Bea hanging out there. Our resident Mod was even pressed into service as a coffee waiter. Of course, it might be opening-week frenzy but it seems like they’d have plenty of after-school business if they wanted to stay open till 5 every day. Do I need a #justsaying here?
So what is a Bowie cafe gift shop actually like? Well, it has the huge advantage that Cafe Latte has of opening onto the play area. My kids are pretty much old enough that I can just chuck them out there while I enjoy a coffee. There’s also a good amount of seating, a toilet/baby change and a comfy sofa that used to belong to Crafty Kilner’s neighbour. The decor is as cool as you’d expect, with posters referencing The Kinks and The Jam (no wonder the Mod was drawn in) and fun little touches like a Frida Kahlo lampshade. I was a bit worried about another lamp that was right next to the door to the play area. Kids were forever barging into it as they came through and I kept imagining it being knocked over.
Precarious lamps aside, it’s very child-friendly – there’s a box of toys and the menu is full of things like toasties and fishfinger sandwiches (plus pie and mash for the grown ups). My kids had smoothies, milky ways and a tantrum about muffins. Gotta be quick if you want the chocolate one Eva!
The coffee was good. I wouldn’t be writing right now without it. And they do soy milk.
The gifts are nice too. Lots of handmade stuff as well as wooden pocket-money type toys. I hear some local craftspeople may be selling through there soon too, which would be an all-round good thing. Some super cute babygros too. Pity I don’t have a baby and instead was made to fork out for a garish snowman-tutu-dress in Tesco a little later instead. I hope we didn’t overwhelm them with the sheer volume of children (in every sense) we brought with us. Ziggy is a great addition to Highams Park and I’m so happy they’re here. We’ve spent the evening listening to Bowie tunes as a result. Good times!