It has been a while since I did a big-chain quest. Was Subway maybe the most recent one? I have a trip to Pizza Hut pegged for the next couple of months, but today’s trip saw me visiting the Haymarket station premises of Starbucks.

This was something of a “necessity quest” as I was meeting my friend Deborah off her early morning train, then I was getting on a train following that, to head westwards. Starbucks has a little shop right next to the station, so it proved too temptingly proximate.

Breakfast panini

As you’d expect with a station cafe, there was a constant throughput. We grabbed a seat, near the door, and I braced myself for the experience of drinking their coffee. I thought I’d distract myself with an all-day breakfast panini, while Deborah opted for a chunky piece of chocolate chip shortbread.

The service from the counter man was really very good. He asked pertinent and helpful questions, in a really friendly fashion, ensuring the transaction was handled smartly.

Chocolate chip shortbread

Soon, we were contemplating our coffees. I’ve had two eras of coffee drinking – BH and AH. Prior to being served an Artisan Roast espresso by Susan at Hula, I had genuinely no idea what proper coffee was supposed to taste like, principally because most of my coffee intake prior to that had been in chains or restaurants. That defining coffee moment set me on the path to righteousness, with places like Castello, Stag Espresso and Lovecrumbs now regularly providing me with wonderful coffee joy.

My before Hula (BH) self would have found today’s americano routine and inoffensive. My after Hula (AH) self wondered why I’d bothered ordering this pointless liquid.

The food was similarly characterless. Comprising egg, bacon and mushrooms, the toasted sandwich was an exercise in blandness. It offered little upon which to comment.

So overall, I’m glad to have crossed a visit to Starbucks off the list, and I’m glad I chose a time when I utilised its main redeeming feature – its proximity to somewhere I had to be.

Blythe scores Starbucks
2/5 for food
2/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 10.5/20

Today’s questers were: Deborah, Blythe

We ate: all-day breakfast panini, chocolate chip shortbread

We drank: latte, americano

We wore: colourful scarves

Total bill: £9.30

Haymarket Station

Written by BKR