YORK is full of unusual buildings, some used conventionally, others in a quirky way. The old Toll Booth adjacent to the south side of Lendal Bridge is one such building.

This café accessed from the tow path under the bridge is approached up a flight of steps that lead to a studded wooden door. I thought I might have to stoop to get in, but not so. Inside half the wooden roof is exposed, the other half shrouded like the inside of a marquee. There is a modern light fitting.

The venue was full with foreign visitors when I arrived. What would they make of the place? My German was not good enough to follow their conversation!

There is no menu as such, customers have to rely on boards outside and plus what food they can see on display.

Bacon butties (£2) are available until 11am. Apart from soup and sandwiches I noted that a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel costs £1.50, various tray bakes started at £1.10 and coffee was from £1.50.

The £4 advertised ‘any sandwich, a can, crisps and a chocolate brownie’ had attracted me. But once inside and perhaps influenced by the lower temperature the day of my visit, I opted for a sandwich and coffee (£4). Another combination deal was soup and a sandwich for £4.20.

Sandwiches came with a variety of fillings, some with pesto or tomato chutney. My selection was chicken which I learned was served in a bread cake from the Shambles bakery. The staff were quite prepared for me to have this as a take-away but I decided to stand for a while before claiming a spot on a low settee.

Apart from the bread I believe all other items were home made.

Although it has been open since September there are still difficulties with signage. Many people passing by are possibly not aware of the cafe’s existence, but I can see it providing a certain charm for foreign visitors. Having said that, a number of customers who came for a take-away had clearly used the venue before.

One drawback, there are no toilet facilities. As a plus the Five-Star Hygiene certificate is proudly displayed.

As to the name? Is there a link with the birds that used to rule the roost in the Museum Gardens just opposite? No. The café bears the name of its owner.