Exclusive food, delicious coffee and a clash of styles in new Café and Deli
The new Café and Deli serves deliciously “yummy” brownies, “arty” drinks and proper barista coffee; but conceptually it falls between two chairs – smart café versus the long take away queues of a deli.
Reviewed by Line Rosenkrands and Anders Ohrt, both political science students on their fifth and seventh semester respectively. As told to Miriam Brems.
Atmosphere: Well hidden in a corner behind the Nobel Park’s main cafeteria, we find the newly-opened Café and Deli, which opened its doors for the first time on 6 September.
The small and light room features raw wood, a rear wall covered by green plants, and hanging baskets in the corners.
We quickly take the last of the small tables by the window with its view of thriving student life between the red buildings of the Nobel Park. Our ears pick up the unmistakeable sound of French conversation from the neighbouring table, reminding us that despite the cosy café atmosphere, we are still in one of the AU’s buildings for linguistic subjects.
Even though a lot of work has gone in to creating a super atmosphere, the café cannot quite free itself from the other half of his name; Deli. There is a long queue of people along the counter buying take away food, and the noise of the adjacent cafeteria drifts in and threatens to give the place more of a bistro vibe.
This conflict between identities is physically materialised in the high chairs placed along the walls; they ooze inviting café cosiness, but there is not enough room to actually sit on them along the high counter, as the space is taken-up by the queuing take away customers.
Food: We join the queue and try to get an overview of the lunch selection. There is no the dish of the day, and the regular selection is a little limited. The café offers three kinds of panini and a chicken wrap, as well as lots of cakes and a bakery section with freshly baked bread – perfect if you owe your study group breakfast.
The coolers also present various deli food. Can you buy it, or are they just ingredients in the food they serve? We are a little unsure. We also discover a dish with different focaccia placed on the counter slightly above head height, so we almost overlook it.
We decide on what is apparently the only vegetarian option, a panino with pesto, avocado, lettuce and cheese, and a panino with chicken and pesto. To accompany the food, we choose two drinks from the very “arty" selection, a fermented tea and a fizzy organic lemonade.
We say yes when asked if we would like our panini grilled and shortly afterwards we can enjoy the crispy, crunchy sound of our teeth hungrily biting into the panini. The café gets a huge plus in our book for warming our panini and thereby raising itself above the usual cafeteria sandwich standard. The quality is also improved by the chicken, which tastes like a real piece of meat and not just sliced chicken, and the bread, which is two thick slices that come from a proper loaf.
The food is filling and the amount is fine for lunch. Nevertheless, we agree that we should try something from the cake selection. We end up with a tiramisu with plum and a piece of brownie with salted caramel, supplemented by a cappuccino with cocoa powder and a latte decorated with proper latte art, which suggests that there are real baristas in the building.
However, the delicious food is not quite matched by the cutlery, which is plastic to go with the small paper plate that we have to ask for. So eating the tiramisu is a bit of a challenge. Also, rather alternatively, the otherwise creamy cake is served in a small bowl of hard, baked dough. We are a little unsure whether it is meant to be eaten, but try anyway, only for the plastic spoon to threaten to break in two when it meets the crispy crust. The spoon survives and rewards our fight with the cake crust with a delicious mouthful of tiramisu – soft and creamy like it is supposed to be.
Price: Even though the brownie is very “yummy”, as is the coffee, we think that DKK 20 is a lot of money for a piece of cake and a cup of coffee, compared to the usual cafeteria prices of DKK 7-8. On the other hand, the prices are reasonable when you look at the quality of the food and granted, there are not many places in Aarhus where you can buy a latte for DKK 20. We pay a total of DKK 210 for the whole thing and are pleased to find an exclusive alternative to the usual cafeterias at AU - there are not many places at the university that can measure up to the new Café and Deli.
Conclusion: Despite an attempt to create a café atmosphere, our table is placed a little too close to the counter with the long queue and the constant traffic of people in and out of the Nobel Cafeteria. It would help if the tables were separated from the counter a little more. Some background music in the speakers could also add some atmosphere and suppress some of the noise from the cafeteria. The food with its fresh ingredients is delicious and its quality is significantly higher than your ordinary cafeteria sandwich, but it lacks that extra finesse in presentation – such as proper cutlery – to earn top marks.
(2,5 out of 3)
Translated by Peter Lambourne