University Cafe: Spring has sprung
What is the first genuine indicator of authentic spring in the West End? Is it buds on the trees or the arrival of particular breeds of duck in Kelvingrove Park?
No, in fact it?s the four feet high ice cream cone placed on the pavement outside the University Cafe near the foot of Byres Road ? a brilliant little retro flourish which, effortlessly, conveys all the joie de vivre of the season in one easy-to-recognise image.
Unfortunately the management only deploy the giant ice cream cone on days which they regard as authentically spring-like, so while their splendid example of Public Art was on full display on Saturday it was whipped indoors again on chilly Sunday … and who knows when we?ll see it again.
An ice cream cone of real Italian ice cream from the University Cafe, meanwhile, remains one of life?s more or less innocent pleasures ? and never mind your 135 different flavours from arriviste ice cream parlours elsewhere. A University Cafe cone is the definitive al fresco ice cream experience, just as it has been since (I think) sometime before the 1920?s.
From the ice cream parlour it?s just a short stroll down to the recently-opened Chocolate Emporium (on the site of what used to be The Pantry) neatly turning what had been this moribund section of Byres Road into a sort of dessert and confectionery heaven.
Hot chocolates, continental chocolate drinks, truffles and other delights are among the treats in store.
Some will grumble that chocolate is hardly a replacement for a bakery, but it?s clear the venture already has its regular sweet-toothed following, and it?s a nice point of difference to the other cafe and restaurant offers on this stretch of the road.
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