I’ve been a Fresh Basil customer for around ten years. I started going there on recommendation by friends and continued going more frequently because it was a great place to get a coffee early in the morning and they open the doors before most other places.
It’s a handsome looking shop frontage on a side street in Belper. The inside is well stocked and decorated with chalkboards and wicker baskets. Be warned it can be very busy and the Coop car park gets full. But it is worth the visit. The downstairs is split between the deli and the cafe. There is a gallery upstairs with more seating. You won’t find a table here for more than four people at a time but it’s great for catching up with old friends or a tasty snack at any time. It’s one of those places where you can grab a table first thing in a morning and have a good coffee and bacon sandwich while reading the paper.
The deli is worth a visit in its own right as they have a good selection of cheeses and cooked meats, bread and pastries. They try and support local suppliers wherever possible and take pride in supporting the local community as an independent retailer (they are ambassadors for Belper and always get involved in the town’s events). They are also licensed so sell wines and beers too. At Christmas time you can get some lovely stollen and pannetone – you can also get lots of the things you want for the Boxing Day lunch. There are lots of things to look at and buy so take some time during your visit.
The cafe is worth a visit too. The tea and coffee here are excellent with Teapigs teabags and freshly made coffee to order. Breakfasts are award winning and I would recommend the Eggs Benedict (I love it wherever I go) but the bacon and sausage is also particularly good. They offer generous well-cooked portions. The takeaway service is good too. They make a good sandwich and the salad boxes using the ingredients in the counter are good value. The cakes are spectacular!
The final thing I like about Fresh Basil is it is run by passionate and friendly staff who know their products and care about customer service. It’s a busy place but it is busy for a reason. It’s what a cafe should be and it wins awards for doing it so well.