Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Tutti Frutti in Reading - a Gem Tucked Away in Reading's Railway Station

Tutti Frutti in Reading Railway Station's concourse
Railway station food. Usually, at best, it's a couple of fatty rashers of floppy bacon in a pale doughy baguette. And I should know - I've spent years travelling up and down the country eating food from establishments in railway stations. You don't expect to find good, homemade food in the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest train stations in the south east. And yet, in Reading, huddled amongst some of the world's most famous fast food joints, here it is. Here, you've got AMT coffee kiosks, the Cornish Pasty shop, Burger King and Subway. And that's just a few of them. But before you instinctively line up amid all the flourescent signs and order your BK Whopper, turn around and take a look at Tutti Frutti.

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.


  1. I LOVE tutti fruitti's ice cream - it is one of the most undiscovered gems of Reading I think!

  2. Can't wait to have Tutti Frutti selling ice cream at Reading Between the Lines' production of 'Twelfth Night' in October/November at the Minster of St Mary the Virgin. As if there weren't already enough reasons to come!