Peterborough no longer a dessert desert

CHAI waffles

The adage “You wait for one bus and then two come along” has possibly never been more appropriate than when it comes to Peterborough and dessert bars.

Until recently I’d presumed a “restaurant” dedicated to all things ice cream, waffle and crepe was nothing more than a gimmick that would be laughed out of town but it seems I couldn’t be more wrong.

The first dessert bar on the scene in Peterborough was TAMU on Broadway (opposite the Broadway Theatre) which opened in 2014. A fairly cosy venue with a menu catering not only for those with savoury as well as sweet teeth – if you want chilli con carne on crepes then this is where you need to be.

CHAI Peterborough

CHAI cold brew coffeeFast forward to the latter part of 2015 and CHAI pops up not in the city centre but on Eastfield Rd right outside the entrance to Peterborough Regional College – a clever move considering all the students on the doorstep. Armed with slick social media campaigns, CHAI is gaining a reputation as a destination worth venturing out of the city centre for.

Check out CHAI’s Facebook Page for more details.

Present day and it’s all about TAMU yet again. Not content with their existing Broadway restaurant they’ve now only gone and opened up another restaurant, this time in a prime location on Cowgate. If Peterborough’s night-time economy ever manages to evolve beyond solely food and drink (i.e. a cinema, or live ents. venue) then TAMU owner? Salim Remahtullah is sitting pretty for footfall from Cathedral Square and Cowgate.

TAMU Cowgate interior

The demand is certainly there at the moment with crowds at both TAMU Cowgate and CHAI (TAMU Broadway is currently being refurbished).

“Whaa! I hear you cry, through a mouthfull of chocolate cookie-dough brownie waffle topped with two scoops of homemade gelato.”

So, three dessert bars. That’s enough for even the biggest (in every sense of the word) gelato fan’s appetite, surely?? Well it seems ‘no’ is the answer to that with not one but TWO more dessert bars on the horizon.

Whaa! I hear you cry, through a mouthfull of chocolate cookie-dough brownie waffle topped with two scoops of homemade gelato.

With the departure of Afro Caribbean restaurant Embe, the premises have been snapped up by Creations Dessert Lounge and is set to open this month (April). Hopefully it will do well but I can’t help thinking that the location isn’t ideal. Embe always suffered from poor footfall at that location and even with Creations adding a much needed carpark (at the loss of the established rear garden?) it’s going to have to pull out all the stops with it’s menu to win customers away from TAMU, TAMU and CHAI.

But wait, didn’t you say TWO new dessert bars!?

That’s correct dear reader, with news that North Westgate regeneration now being on off on off whatever, hospitality eyes are turning to that part of town with the hope that it becomes the new place to be. One of the smartest units in the area is 19 North St (previously Clarkes restaurant and North St Bar) and is due to open as a franchise for the Creams chain of dessert cafes. With around 30 cafes already dotted around the country (mainly London / Home Counties) it looks like they’re expanding fast.

If developers ever get their act together then Creams will do well, (ice cream) sandwiched between potentially two multiplex cinemas, new bars, shops, etc. The Bimble Inn micropub is also due open shortly just around the corner and along with established players like the Banyan Tree and Brewery Tap, will create a city centre “quarter” to rival that of Cathedral Square.

So where next for Peterborough and it’s calorie-filled diners?? Bannatynes I hope. Peterborough is often quoted as being the ‘fastest-growing city in the UK’ after all!

Update 08/04 – Turns out I missed one off the list, with Kaspas opening up on Bridge Street next to the Argo Lounge. Another spot-on location which is sure to do well and will be a rival to TAMU’s Cowgate site.

So that’s six dessert bars all vying for your pocket money. Can we make it to seven?? A different dessert bar for each day of the week?

Update 03/05 – Clearly I have a head full of waffle as I did infact miss off the seventh dessert eaterie, Ishtar Lounge in the former Goodbarns Yard pub on St John’s Street where ice cream can be enjoyed alongside a Turkish grill and a shisha pipe – something for all the family!

– Main photo courtesy of CHAI

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