Italia Coffee House, Quayside, Hastings, Barbados
We’d parked the car at the back of the trees that front Rockley Beach and wandered up and down the beach looking at the surf, the people enjoying themselves in the sea and, between the trees, the congested traffic on the Bridgetown-Oistins Road. Many years back we’d lived nearby, and Rockley was a favourite for the family after school or at the w/e – we could walk here from our place. Ah, ‘times and memories’.
We’d been slow getting out that morning, lazing over the breakfast table and feasting on the distant seascape; it was a fine day (for a change there was no cumulonimbus hanging around threatening rain) and the sea was a kaleidoscope of greens, blues and turquoise and, importantly, relatively calm. September, remember, and this is ‘serious weather time’.
So, we’d missed out on our mid-morning coffee break – to tell the truth, we’d thought about it but did not find anywhere attractive on our walk that morning through the tourist strip along St. Lawrence Gap – bars, drinking shops, places serving early lunch, sure, but no Italian-style coffee bars. That is, until a friendly voice from the back of a bar on the beach re-directed us across the main road to the Quayside Plaza (shopping/eating).
Just like the name says then: ‘Italia Coffee House’ – there it was on a traffic island shared with ‘Just Grillin’. All around there were cars moving – entering, parking, leaving. So, that’s one key difference with bars you’ll normally find in Rome – this was our first on a traffic island. The bar itself had been shoe-horned into the smallest kiosk that you could imagine, with the coffee-making equipment dominating the counter. You had to look hard to see the girl taking orders, feeding the information into an overhead computer console and, harder still, to see the repeater screen to your LHS that told you how much to pay, etc. What with the traffic on the main road, the parking cars, the hidden screen and, when we asked the girl how much, the strong Bajan accent that repeated everything - it was a novel part of our coffee experience.
The order was delivered from the other end of the counter – past the coffee making machine. We took a cappuccino, a slice of carrot cake and a glass of milk. Coffees – usual options - come in two sized – regular and large. The coffee was fine – hot, tasty and with good froth cover. We shared the large slice of moist carrot cake. And, the only down side, the milk was not cold. Well, we reasoned, there’s not many requests for milk – and it was milk. It’s just that we’d have preferred a *cold* drink – from the refrigerator (and couldn’t face another Coke).
Seating was shaded. You sit in front of the bar in an open-sided compact framework of wooden benches and face each other across a wooden table – sufficiently wide to accommodate the delightful couple of resident birds that work the crumbs and entertain the clients – bullfinches (?) - so tame that they’ll take food from your hand. We paid a little over BB$20 (US$10) for our break.
An interesting coffee experience then. Popular too from the number of people, like us, looking for a regular ‘coffee break’. It’s surprising that this popular feature of western cuisine/culture has yet to embrace the island – but, then, this is the land of rum, Coke & Banks Beer.
16 September 2017
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