Truro’s winding streets hold many secrets: be it an obscure and quirky shop, or a hidden beauty spot.
The city is dotted with these little-known delights and even a veteran will be constantly finding new things.
It’s a blessing, in some ways – the manic tourist rush each year misses Truro to a large extent.
Read: Pub landlady says she faces eviction with trade ‘dead’ and rent due
At the same time, it means plenty of hidden gems remain just that to a lot of people.
One of these is Grounded, on New Bridge Street. It’s not hidden per se, but it’s easy to miss, given its location just around the corner from dozens of other cafés, restaurants, bars and eateries.
But, as it’s the top-rated place for tea and coffee on TripAdvisor, I had to give it a go.
Just a short walk from the city centre, when approaching Grounded you’re faced with a small table outside, steamed-up windows (on a cold November day), and a sign which reads: “Truro’s best kept secret”.
Sorry in advance for spoiling it, I suppose.
A Costa or a Starbucks is sometimes overly polished and uniformed, giving you the vibes of a hospital waiting room no matter how much they try and dress it up.
The first thing you’re likely to notice is how small it is. With options for takeaway, delivery or sit in – you’d have to take your chances to get one of the three spots to sit in. Luckily, I got one.
Meanwhile, Grounded’s wooden furniture, quirky decor and smell of real coffee has a familiar feel that all great cafés have.
It’s like walking into someone’s kitchen, but not in a weird way.
On the walls, there’s pictures of Truro from past and present. It has more images of the cathedral than a museum and even a little poster with the history of the City of Truro train.
Grounded’s interior is a love letter to Truro – and to coffee.
Walking in, you’re not faced with staff who try and upsell you to a 50p more expensive blend of coffee which you won’t notice.
Instead, it’s pretty straightforward – you order food and sit at a table or wait.
The impressively large menu features all day breakfasts, more than a dozen types of sandwich, salads, puddings, pastries and, of course, all the important types of coffee.
As well, it has a sign advertising free milk alternatives – something the popular chains even struggle with more often than not.
I played it safe and went for a latte and their ‘classic’ BLT, expecting a decent coffee and a modest sandwich.
A posh, upmarket pub could easily sell a sandwich not much better than something out of a Tesco meal deal for £10.
And a high street chain café is laughing its way to the bank charging customers upwards of a fiver for a slice of cake.
At Grounded, what I was brought was a fantastic cup of coffee, and the best sandwich I’ve eaten in Cornwall.
A huge BLT featuring hot and thick ham/bacon filling was accompanied by a healthy portion of salad.
There’s only so much written praise you can give a sandwich before it’s tiresome, so needless to say, it was far above expectations.
To top it off, it cost just £5.20. On paper, this seems like a lot – but it’s a steal for what you get.
The coffee is roasted just around the corner in Penryn, courtesy of Olfactory, and it’s a proper job.
During the meal, I overheard a staff member offering to bring a sandwich to a customer who was working just up the road – something else which you simply don’t get at a corporate chain.
In short: sorry, Truro, but this secret deserves to be spread. Check out Grounded if you’re in the city, it’ll be worth it.
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