|Tutti Frutti in Reading Railway Station's concourse|
They've been going for six months and already have a steady stream of customers enjoying coffee, cakes, ice creams, sandwiches and soup. And it's not difficult to see why. Jane, the owner of the store, welcomes me when I arrive with a spoonful of freshly made mushroom soup. "Do you want to try some?" she offers. The soup is rich, slightly peppery and has that unmistakable fresh woody taste of the mushrooms - there are no instant soup powders here.
|Rows of sweets in glass jars line shelves and give a traditional feel|
What struck me most about the place is that Jane genuinely cares about the food she makes, food that she describes as "comforting". The cafe has a homely, welcoming feel - she tells me that the chocolates are made by a friend, the ice creams are made by her and that it took them a year just to track down the right coffee beans.
|The beautifully made chocolate selection includes chocolate bunnies, spaniels and sheep|
And the coffee is without a doubt one of the silkiest, richest and most refreshing cups of coffee that I've ever had. And at £1.50 for an espresso, it's very reasonable too. A bowl of soup with bread costs just £2.95 and sandwiches are freshly made, costing around £2-3 each. There are no shortcuts with the sandwiches either - the king prawn sandwich is generously packed with with large, juicy prawns in a Marie Rose sauce - and the ham they use is crumbly 'real' ham too. None of that processed, plasticky, luminous pink stuff here.
|Ice creams are all freshly made - flavours include Chocolate Brownie, Banoffee, Lemon Meringue (my favourite!) and Strawberry Sorbet - sold by the scoop in tubs or cones|
As I sipped my coffee, surrounded by busy commuters hurtling around I glanced at the queues of people at the brightly-lit fast food restaurants in the station's concourse. And just for a second I can't blame them, in a way. Everyone is in too much of a rush here that they go into autopilot when they're hungry and exchange their cash for something they already know, something safe. Tutti Frutti is not only worth taking the risk - but once you do you might find that you're in there a lot more often than you think.
Tutti Frutti is a real gem at the heart of this busy railway station. You wouldn't always expect to find really good produce in the concourse of a train station but here it is. If you find yourself waiting at Reading station for your connection give them a try. I promise you will not be disappointed.