IT IS NOT often that we go shopping on a Sunday. The car park at Monks Cross suggested that the whole of York was also there, but with so many retail outlets our fear that we would not get near a café was ill founded.

There was a slight smell of food as we entered the store, which drew us towards the café to the rear of the building.

The one small wall menu only gave an outline of what was on offer (sandwiches 2.99 to 3.69 etc). It was only at the servery that the individually priced items could be seen.

First a cabinet with baguettes, melts and cold drinks. Then an impressive selection of cakes, buns and tray bakes. Finally a hot plate with a menu on top advertising what should be available. At this point, I saw one customer handing back her cold food selection in favour of a hot meal that had attracted her.

Ann decided to have a hot meal and requested the advertised turkey lunch. Two young assistants said as far as they knew they weren’t serving turkey. Why advertise it?

Not fancying baked potato, fish, macaroni or cottage pie Ann then asked what the soup of the day was. After a visit to the kitchen, we were told it was pumpkin or butterbean and bacon (£3.79). When asked for two bowls of the latter, the assistant went off to serve another customer.

The soup was hot, thick and full of flavour. It came with a large bap and on request butter was provided.

It was difficult to decide which of the many sweet items would suit us best. A white chocolate and cranberry tiffin (£1.59) was appealing but in the end a mince pie (£1.29) won the day. Could it be warmed? Yes, and the delicious short pastry crumbled easily.

I selected a slice of stollen (£1.49) finding it excellent and nicer than some brought back from a recent trip to Germany.

The staff cleared vacated tables promptly but were not so quick to wipe them. Also at the servery queue we thought most customers were asked by at least two assistants (three in our case) what they would like before one actually produced the requested items.

Cutlery, condiments etc are placed in such a way that they cannot be seen from the servery. And serviettes only appeared on request.

It might be advantageous for management to view the catering operation from the customers’ angle. However, for £10.36 we had enjoyed our lunchtime snack.