Dolce Vita: Campus’ most underrated café?

Hiding at the back of Keynes College lies the quiet café Dolce Vita. Although quiet doesn’t scream ‘student life’, we still need a place to relax and recover from the previous night’s antics. Whether you need a coffee, a quick lunch or a place to study that has a little atmosphere, Dolce Vita provides the answer.

The first thing that surprised me when I walked into Dolce Vita was the view. In case you haven’t had a chance to go, at the rear of the café resides a beautiful view of Canterbury, encompassed by surrounding nature. This, in itself, is definitely worth the trip.

The café is owned by Kent Hospitality, who are currently working on more vegetarian options throughout campus. The menu, therefore, has recently undergone some changes, giving it a wider selection of cuisine. Although at first glance the selection seemed quite random, it does have something for everyone. New dishes include ‘Beef Ragu’, ‘Steamed Buns’ and ‘Pan-fried squid and chorizo’. They also have a ‘specials’ board that includes ‘Catch of the Day’, something I thought was very unique for a campus café. If you’re a fish fan, it might be worth a try.

Sometimes it’s more difficult to get the simple dishes right, so I ordered the Beef Ragu. This proved to be true because the food itself was subpar. The food came in less than ten minutes which was impressive. The presentation was beautiful and very appealing, and the portion size was perfect. The beef itself was very tender, however, the flavor was its downfall. It was bland and very average. Even an extra pinch of salt and pepper couldn’t save it. The prices on the menu all averaged around £7.00, which at first, I thought, wasn’t too bad, but I don’t think it was worth what I received. Overall the dish was enjoyable but a little plain, so if you don’t have a very adventurous pallet you might actually enjoy it.

In case the prices scare you a little, or you just don’t want to have one of the menu’s hot meals, it’s worth mentioning that they do have a huge fridge with a wide selection of sandwiches, drinks and snacks. Rather than queue up for a meal deal in SU Shop, save time and get it at Dolce Vita! The staff were friendly and helpful, and when I wanted to order a coffee the waitress reeled-off the countless options of syrup from memory. They really do have every syrup you can think of. So, if the food doesn’t impress you, the coffee certainly will.

There’s something about this café that is very calm and welcoming, and I couldn’t help but stay for an extra hour just to admire the view, have a coffee, and do some work. So, although I don’t think the food is mind-blowing, I do think the café is underrated as a whole. When you have a free lunch, take the opportunity to spend it there.

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