The cheerful barista didn't make up for the lacklustre offeringsBex Walton

The website gave it away before I’d even set off. Minimalist and streamlined with little hand-drawn graphics, it screamed ‘pretentious void’ with just the words “Our Coffee”, “Gigs and Events”, and “Blog.”

Already I could tell that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill independent café, peddling middling-to-average filter coffee and ciabatta paninis (although these were to be found on the depressingly unimaginative menu in the bowels of the website).

This was a café with an image – one that seeks to attract the lonely brogue-wearing, fold-up bike-riding thirty-something singles of CB1.

That was the other problem. It was so far away. Felix and I set off early: I’d been rowing and he had to sweep in college, because at Corpus we get punished for laughing after 10pm, so we decided that a nice breakfast might cheer us up after our cold outdoor mornings.

We had planned to enjoy the stroll down Mill Road (perhaps a slightly unrealistic ambition) but soon realised we should have worn hiking boots and brought bottled water with us.

Just in case you were still thinking about going there: seriously, don’t bother. I’d been right about the lonely hipster vibe. The café was full of bearded men and women in duffel coats, all sitting at MacBook Airs and sporting giant headphones.

They all sat alone, sipping black coffee. A few were slowly spooning down porridge. The décor was predictable: naked lightbulbs hanging low over the stripped wooden tables, benches instead of chairs, bare brink walls highlighted in colours an interior decorator would call ‘teal’ and ‘eggshell’. Felix was impressed by the charcoal drawings of mysterious-looking nobodies on the walls.

There was a piano in the corner and soft jazz music in the background (which no one could hear because they all had headphones on). It fulfilled the requirements of ‘independent, subversive coffee house’ by blatantly trying so very hard.

Nevertheless, the barista was cheerful. She smiled so enthusiastically as she took my order that I felt slightly overwhelmed – it was fairly early in the morning, after all.

Instead of a till she used an iPad. I wanted to kill the person who invented an app for that.

Felix had vanilla chai tea and a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel; I had a chai latte and porridge with cinnamon, honey and prunes. It all came to just over £12, which really wasn’t worth it.

The drinks were bland and smelt a bit weird, Felix complained that the bagel was slightly scorched from the toaster and his cream cheese was runny. My porridge was just boring porridge, with some decoration out of a squeezy bottle. I’d also forgotten why I dislike prunes. I remember now.

Perhaps going early in the morning when I was particularly hungry slightly marred my experience.

If I were to go there for tea and cake on a different day when I was in a great mood, its affected image and mediocre content might not have bothered me that much.

But, then again, I’d have to be careful to avoid their almost daily ‘gigs and events.’

Watching lonely people biting their nails and drawing or watching a work-in-progress play about self-doubt probably wouldn’t inspire a much more positive review.

A review of Hot Numbers by another Cambridge student publication, The Cambridge Student, can be found here.