Enjoy a drink and a treat in The MERL Café in the bright, modern welcome area with views of the garden. There are a few tables inside and plenty of outdoor seating on the patio, with several tables sheltered by our new sunshades. Picnic benches with parasols are also available in The MERL garden, a beautiful, peaceful spot to relax.
Please note that we are now only able to accept card or contactless payments.
Find out about the current measures we have in place to help keep our staff, volunteers and visitors safe on our Visit Us page.
*New* Cream Teas
Delicious scones baked specially for us by University of Reading chefs are served with the Caversham Jam Lady’s strawberry jam and Rhodda’s clotted cream! Served with a pot of Tregothnan Tea. (Cream Tea for one, £6. Scone with jam and cream, £4.50)
English tea, filter coffee, fresh sandwiches and delicious cakes
As part of our bid to support local and national producers in our shop and café, we are delighted to serve the excellent Tregothnan Tea – the first ever English tea grown and blended in Cornwall, served in innovative loose leaf pyramids made from biodegradable silken tea pouches.
Come and try a selection of delicious varieties. If you enjoy it, you can take some home from our shop too.
We now serve delicious, freshly brewed filter coffee, available in a mug or cafetiere. Our beans are roasted by Reads Coffee of North Dorset, who have over 20 years’ experience in producing ethically-sourced blends guaranteed to knock your socks off.
If you’ve got to run, takeaway is available. If you bring a reusable cup, you can claim a 20p discount!
The café stocks a variety of tasty sandwiches produced for us by the chefs at the University of Reading, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The range includes vegan and gluten-free options.
Cakes & Buns
Our daily selection of delicious cakes includes Lemon Drizzle, Raspberry Bakewell, Caramel Slice and many more!
We also offer a daily selection of delicious bakes, including enormous Cinnamon Buns, scrumptious Praline & Dark Chocolate Swirls, and light, smooth Pastel De Nata.
All our cakes are suitable for vegetarians, with vegan and gluten free options also available. Please ask our staff for more info before you choose.
REDUCE, REUSE & RECYCLE!
We have been working with the University of Reading to reduce the of waste from our café. We use mugs and china cups & saucers for hot drinks in our café, with disposable cups available only on request. If you do use a disposable cup, please make sure to pop it in our paper cup recycling bin at the MERL or around the University, as we are now recycling paper cups through CupCycling™ by James Cropper.
Refill at Reading
We are a proud member of Refill at Reading, a Transition Town Reading project aiming to reduce the disposable cups going into landfill sites by encouraging the use of reusable cups. Bring your own cup and claim a 20p discount for any hot drink purchased in our café!
The MERL Reusable Cup
And if you need a reusable cup, we have the very thing! Produced by Ecoffee Mugs, our cups are made from natural fibres, corn starch and resin. They are also BPA, BPS and phthalate free. The lid and sleeve are made with matte, food-grade, latex-free silicone.
The whole product (cup, lid and sleeve) is dishwasher safe and should last for years if treated nicely! We are selling these at cost price to do our bit to reduce single-use cup waste.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, hot and cold lunches are also available in the University of Reading bar, The Dairy next door. (Please note that The Dairy is now operating cash-less tills.)
You are also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden, where several picnic benches are available.