Opening next week, Sensory & Rye got its name from a half-anagram of the old butcher's that used to occupy the building on the corner of Union Street and Commercial Road.
The blue - now-retro - letters that used to hang above the door to read ROWBERRY & SONS will soon be carefully rearranged to announce the arrival of Hereford’s newest and, arguably, coolest coffee house.
“It took us a long time to work out a combination that worked,” said owner Nicola Hassenpflug with the slight hint of a German accent, as I tried to work out where the extra ‘Y’ was coming from.
The idea behind the ‘urban eatery’ is to bring together some of Herefordshire’s best food and drink people – think made-to-order sandwiches on rye bread or sourdough, washed down with speciality coffee from Method Roastery – in a way that echoes the coffee shop culture of the continent.
If the wood, bare-bulbs and original, light blue butcher-shop tiles give the place a Bristolian aesthetic (I have a self-imposed ban on the word ‘hipster’), this is a place with the smiling soul of the coffee shops of Nicola’s youth, and a touch of the antipodean café culture. In Hereford. Really.
Open from breakfast until late - three nights a week initially – her vision is to create a place that’s more than just four walls to leave you fed and caffeinated.
WiFi and hand-welded high benches mean those with laptops have a well-lit office or meeting place, with homemade cake. Coffee tasting sessions with Method Roasting – who once wanted to buy the ex-butcher's themselves – will help those who want to know their Bolivian roasts from their Brazilians. And for everyone else, it’s a just a great place to grab a mug and some lunch, artisan or otherwise. It's also cavernous to a point you would not suspect from the floor-to-ceiling front window.
The soft opening is next week, although Nicola is still on the lookout for staff.
If you’re interested, take a look at the various links on the coffee shop’s Facebook page here. Give them a Like to stay up-to-date on what’s going on at Sensory & Rye, and quite possibly pics of brekkies and ‘Buddha bowls’ that will likely make you jealous and/or hungry.