Sunday, 25 January 2015

Café: Hive

Housed in a shipping container, Hive runs rugged urgency as an emphatic theme, like a Swiss army knife of social action and versatile goodness, a macchiato on a mission to speak a message that another world is possible. The luxury of zero-ground-rent, and a cornered heterotopic bubble of campus students, is not made an excuse to be less than aggressively ambitious in plans for the radical local economy. Organising students, in my experience, is like herding cats, and Hive have achieved an astonishing broad portfolio: bikeshop, vegbox scheme, farmers market, live music - all vehicles reinforcing the local locality of reinvestment. They grow-their-own, serving as HQ for an eager network of student polytunnelers, herb gardeners and further off-campus, local farmers. Hive is a must-visit to anyone who would know the capacity of coffee to be the catalyst for relocalisation.

Matthew Algie's beans espress a creamy double shot, perfect pitch black. And I try a Feel Good Bakery sandwich for the first time. Masses of flavour, the roasted veg are superlative, zinging and a good texture bedded in smooth rich humous. The packaging has a handmade, handwritten charm, perhaps a heavier belt with letterpressed/diecut logo might raise it above its present sandwich-undergarment feel of unboxed cheeseburger wrapping. This is cosmetic, my chief critique would be the bread, which is underwhelming: it is a very pleasingly soft wholemeal but limply fails to hold the whole. Shop-bought sandwiches go awry on many levels, but they mostly appreciate the importance of the edge, the sculptural cut where the plastic window gives a crisp sectional view of the sandwich's anatomy. Plastic windows we don't need, but this eater wants for a more muscular bread to shoulder the load and contain its valuable cargo in the way mild sourdough might. And at £3.55, it would like to be artisan bread - even conscious that the price is carrying a matching meal within that price for their one-for-one scheme.


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