Cafe culture: Tiny Café with a big heart in the centre of Newbury
A new independent café in The Broadway, Newbury is establishing itself as a must-go oasis of calm and good food and drink.
As soon as you walk through the door of the Tiny Café in Newbury you are welcomed with a beaming smile by Paige, who is doling out coffee, cakes and sandwiches and charm in equal measure.
The latest independent café to arrive in Newbury, only opened its doors four months ago, but it has already become a firm favourite with many returning customers and you have to be quick to nab one of the 14 seats available inside – there is also a table with a couple of seats on the pavement.
The café is the brainchild of Imtiaz and Patricia Zico. The couple have lived in Newbury for many years, although Imtiaz is originally from Bangladesh and Patricia from Slovakia.
"We have wanted to run our own café for a couple of years," explains Imtiaz. "We just had to wait for the right premises to come along and this one is perfect."
The café maybe small, but it is warm and welcoming with an enticing array of incredible cakes made by Patricia's mother Janette.
"Janette is the beating heart of the café. She loves baking and we had to make sure that her incredible cakes could be enjoyed by our customers too."
While I was there I couldn't resist the carrot cake and can confirm that Janette's cakes are amazing.
The couple clearly work well together as a team.
Patricia chose the simple yet stylish furnishing and the quirky pictures and ornaments dotted around the café, while Imtiaz built the counter area himself from scratch.
A friend designed the Tiny Café logo and it suits the whole ambience.
"We get a lot of people popping in from their offices," says Patricia. "Not just for their lunch or break, but they also have meetings in here and sit and chat.
"We wanted to create a space where people would feel comfortable and could just sit quietly and think – shut out the outside world."
The soups and sandwiches are all made fresh on the premises each day, as well as a simple breakfast menu, which includes porridge, avocado toast or a light breakfast with bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms and tomato.
"We get particularly busy at weekends for breakfasts, especially on Sundays, when people want to treat themselves."
There is a constant flow of customers while I am there, both sit in and takeaway, but it never feels hurried or overcrowded.
"We've had such a great positive reaction, with many customers returning," says Imtiaz. "We wanted to inspire creativity and joy and we have a great team working for us who have really embraced our ethos."
Patricia adds: "We are looking at ways to expand on what we offer. Watch this space for some seasonal drinks and food in the run up to Christmas."
The Tiny Café is exactly what it says on the tin, so you might have to get in quick to take a seat.