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Cafe Culture - Corn Exchange, Newbury

If you're looking for somewhere in the centre of Newbury to have a drink and a sandwich or light lunch, to meet friends or with the kids, try the Corn Exchange. As Fiona Tomas discovered, the cafe is open to all and is a family-friendly any time of day stop

Geraldine Gardner

Fiona Tomas


01635 886684

Cafe Culture

UNSURPISINGLY, Newbury’s Corn Exchange adds a theatrical take on your standard high street food.

The Market Place venue provides an ideal location for a coffee-catch up, lazy lunch, evening meal or even a quiet beer.

You don’t have to watch a show to enjoy a slice of the action – an ample outside dining area means you can take advantage of the summer’s sun on the Market Place cobbles for a real al fresco feel.


There’s a strong cast on the menu designed by head chef and kitchen manager Michelle Charles, which provides everything from light bites to hot and cold sandwiches, burgers and mains.

All food is prepared ready-to-order, with locally sourced ingredients.

With the arrival of the summer holidays, children can eat for free when an adult buys a meal – an offer available up until early September.


The hot weather has provided the perfect backdrop for salad season – and there are several to choose from. Few would resist the goat’s cheese, strawberry and candied walnuts option. The chopped nuts are tossed in butter and sugar – for a sweetened popcorn effect – to complement the fruity and creamy protagonists alongside a strawberry-based vinaigrette.

Michelle proudly pays attention to detail in all of her dishes – allowing her minimalist approach to be the star of the show.

The US-born chef brines her own beef herself – which sits in salt water for days – before carefully layering up wafer-thin slices of it New York-style with Thousand Island dressing sauerkraut and Emmental cheese hot sandwich.


“It’s about taking something that people are interested in, but adding something special – adding a twist,” says Michelle. “We want them to zone in the flavour, which is something we would want to accentuate.”

Burgers play a leading role too – on comedy night, the kitchen offers any burger and a drink for £10. The same deal will be on offer from August 21-24, to coincide with National Burger Day on August 23.

The lamb and coriander option, served with banana ketchup mixed leaf lettuce and red onion provides a quirky option for the inquisitive mouth.

Home-made ‘kale-slaw’ is another surprise addition – which accompanies all sandwiches, among which the haggis with onion marmalade and Monterey Jack cheese option typifies the restaurant’s original combinations.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also swap the regular brioche burger bun for a seeded charcoal roll at no extra cost. 

Vegan options might not come in abundance, but Michelle assures the majority of the vegetarian options can be tailored for plant lovers. Dishes can also be prepared for gluten-free diners.

“Just as we want the arts to be available for everybody, we want the menu to be available for all dietary needs,” Michelle says.

The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury
T: 0845 5218 218
Food available Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm - 2.30pm
Wednesday to Saturday, 5pm – 8.30pm. 
FB The Corn Exchange/@CornExchange

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