By Andy Hall
Living relatively close to this new café, we’ve watched it be developed over the past few months and were pleasantly surprised to find it open on Monday when we nipped into town.
It has been cleverly opened in the up and coming area of the city centre, opposite the Town Hall and right next to the Guild Theatre. Anyone who has walked through the Guild over the past year or so will have seen the amount of money put in to redeveloping the interior so it is clear there is a real interest and drive to bring this area of Preston up to date.
Ham and Jam is wonderfully designed. Large open windows advertise the clean cut interior and while I’m no interior decorator, my wife said it reminded her of Nordic décor; clean white walls, minimalist layout with modern beechwood furniture.
The first thing we appreciated when we entered was just how friendly the staff were. This isn’t the biggest café in Preston and had three staff members behind the counter but all were incredibly welcoming and down to earth. There was no forced customer service, these were just nice, friendly people. The menu offers breakfast, lunch and dessert options ranging from £2.50 up to £6.50. It is a small but well thought out menu and importantly for us, the desserts are hand-made and Ham and Jam source as much as its local produce as possible. In fact local produce and supporting local producers is a core philosophy for Ham and Jam and this can only ever be applauded.
My wife had a ‘Seasonal Boost’ soup and a tea while I had a slice of chocolate cake and a coke (because I’m actually a 12 year old).
The range of desserts was pleasant, my cake was fresh and lovely and for the true chocolate aficionados there was a slice of cake bigger than my head. My wife’s vegetable soup was very clearly home-made and she said it was absolutely delicious and she would absolutely have it again. The soup cost £2.75, which I thought was fantastic. This is a café that covers costs and has a mark-up but doesn’t take the customer for a ride. A soup of that quality in any other café would have easily cost us more. Our meal came to £9.20 and I would be more than happy to pay that price again for a restaurant that is so clearly customer focused.
Whilst not only supporting local producers, Ham and Jam are dedicated to supporting local artists and community events. Their website (which perhaps still needs a few tweaks) has an events page with all the up and coming listings (Vintage Cake Decorating on the 19th December anyone?).
The café had been open only 3 days when we attended but the mentality of the café and its staff is spot on. It is one of the few café’s we’ve been too that genuinely seems to care about Preston and both my wife and I would spend our money there over any chain café on the high street. If this café doesn’t succeed then it will be a real loss so students, I implore you to get visiting.
Value for Money: ★★★★☆
Go and check this place out. I’d love to see where it’s at in 12 months’ time. Very impressed.