A Parisan style cafe… in the Midlands

My quest for finding unique and fun things to do in the Midlands continues… Who said London has to be the epicentre of abstract, original ideas?

So when I stumbled across The Catwalk Cafe in Knowle, I was intrigued and eager to explore. The Catwalk Cafe is a fashion-themed cafe and boutique billed as an ‘experience which is special’. Sounds good so far.

I went along for lunch with my friend Vikki, not really sure what to expect. But after checking out the website we were hoping for something a tad unconventional.

We walked in to be greeted with a quirky Parisian-style cafe brimming with Victorian inspirations of grandeur and romance, complete with an attention-grabbing red carpet running from top to bottom over a classic, retro 1920s black & white checkered floor. The tables were laid in vintage cream lace and embroidered cloths from eras gone by.

We arrived at 2pm and it was already half full (I thought most people would have finished their lunch by then), the atmosphere was bustling. By 3pm, every table was taken. All sorts of customers from yummy-mummy’s having a coffee with their friends/ babies, small groups of ladies-that-lunch having afternoon tea (I’ll come to the amazing looking afternoon tea soon), mother-daughter-father-son families and stylish grannies indulging in some peace and quiet – coffee and cake filled, of course. The place was packed. In a good way. Everyone enjoying a rare Parisian inspired treat, just off the high street, in a village, in the Midlands.

Nostalgic music was humming in the background, while a silent black and white film played on the wall.

We both ordered tea, I chose a homemade fruit scone with clotted cream and jam, Vikki ordered pancakes with chocolate sauce and strawberries. Our tea arrived in vintage silver teapots along with delicate china cups and saucers. Everything was mismatched, adding further to the whimsical charm of the cafe.

It wasn’t long before we had major food envy – most customers were enjoying afternoon tea, which at £12.50 is an absolute steal! It includes three mouth-watering cake stand layers full of dainty sandwiches, freshly baked scones (jam & cream), a selection of petit fours and an unlimited pot of tea.


The cafe also has a trolley full of freshly baked cakes … which looked as good as it sounds. Or a full food menu offering sandwiches, soup, quiche, breakfasts, daily specials. If you fancy an afternoon G’nT or glass of fizz, it’s fully licensed too.

The cafe is also home to a boutique owned by local fashion designer Gillian Wesley, who makes incredible corsets and wedding dresses. The front section of the cafe sells everything including jewellery, handbags, makeup, scarves and Gillian’s wow-factor handmade corsets.

Even the toilets are elegant (dunno about you, but I flipping love having a nosey at restaurant toilets, always have since I was a child). Anyway, these are glam with dressing room lights around the mirrors. Kids will love them, I know my six-year-old self would have been in bathroom-heaven.

My only worry about posting this blog is that people are going to go and really enjoy themselves. It’s mean to say this, but I kinda hope you stay on the high street in Costa/ Pret so I can continue to enjoy this little gem without having to worry about not getting a table.

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