Conwy's unique cafe-cum-museum serving up the 'tallest and yummiest' sandwiches

I just about managed to finish the Tower Chicken Cuban sandwich at the Jester's Tower Coffee House in Conwy
-Credit: (Image: David Powell)


It says something that a cafe in a 700-year-old tower, which also hosts live drawing sessions on a burlesque theme, is not the strangest thing about a trip to this corner of Conwy. That accolade must surely go to the bizarre collection of artefacts in the adjoining museum.

For Jester's Tower Coffee House staff also run The Secret Repository on the ground floor. Like many customers before me, I had lunch upstairs then took the staircase down to "Conwy's only museum of sideshow oddities and strange things".

But before all that, I was hungry and it was a good job too. The Tower Chicken Cuban sandwich I ordered was probably the yummiest and certainly the tallest I have ever tasted.

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It had shredded chicken, pieces of thick ham, pickled gherkins, "cave aged" cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce and mustard. It was a delicious, meaty challenge between two slices of crusty, white bread, with crisps.

To be honest, it would have been absolutely fine if it had only contained the chicken and BBQ sauce, or the flavoursome ham and mustard, but to have both fillings was very generous. To my surprise, I managed to polish it all off and still fancied a dessert.

Jester's Tower Coffee House in Conwy
Jester's Tower Coffee House in Conwy -Credit:David Powell

It had to be the Bara Brith. When it came it pulled off the trick of being both moist and light, and with a pasting of butter, it was truly special. A latte completed this filling and tasty lunch.

Full to bursting, I decided to go downstairs to see what curiosities lurked in The Secret Repository. It turned out to be a small but eclectic collection of relics from hither and thither but no less interesting for that.

The Bara Brith at the Jester's Tower Coffee House in Conwy was delicious
The Bara Brith at the Jester's Tower Coffee House in Conwy was delicious -Credit:David Powell

The outlandish exhibits in glass cabinets with display boards give visitors much food for thought. There's the "tail" of Conwy's mermaid, a book on local 18th Century witches and wizards, doomed creatures found in a poisonous, Tanzanian lake and a Peruvian woman's elongated skull.

Down there you can also scan a QR code to learn about the Conwy Mermaid. She was said to have been caught in the estuary and paraded through the town. As she suffocated she cursed the people of Conwy at the same spot where the town hall and later library burned down.

A view of Conwy estuary from the Jester's Tower Coffee House
A view of Conwy estuary from the Jester's Tower Coffee House -Credit:David Powell

The Secret Repository is worth a trip if you're interested in local and international curiosities. But back in the Jester's Cafe upstairs you could even play at being a jester.

They sell "Jester's Diabolo" sets and plenty of colourful, spinning plates. There's even a unicycle in the corner although I'm sure that's only for (insured) experts!

Customers at Jester's Tower Coffee House are treated to a fantastic view of Conwy Castle
Customers at Jester's Tower Coffee House are treated to a fantastic view of Conwy Castle -Credit:David Powell

Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that the cafe operator's husband is Russell Erwood - also known as Erwyd le Fol - Conwy's current official jester. He hails from Cornwall which is why a flag bearing a white cross on a black background flutters outside the Jester's Tower Coffee House.

It's the flag of his home county which quite a few Cornish visitors apparently recognise and make a beeline for. Another reason to come to the cafe may be to take part in live drawing sessions. A recent theme was "burlesque".

The facts

Location: Jester's Tower Coffee House - Conwy

Food: Fresh and tasty

Atmosphere: Full of Medieval character

Service: Friendly and efficient

The bill: Tower chicken sandwich (£10.75), Bara Brith (£1.85) and latte (£3.30). Total: £15.90).

Verdict: I love unique cafes and this is one of them

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