Approaching Café Corsa from the car park, you could easily imagine you’re in Italy. The gardens have been landscaped in the style of an Italian villa with brick and stone walls, a formal pond which is fed from a rill, a raised pond with fish and fountain, a sun terrace and of course the rising towers of the old Wyke Brewery look very much like an old Italian church.
In the lily pond in the garden and in the far older large wildlife pond in the café’s car park live colonies of great crested newts, hence the previous name of the café. The newts are a protected species and have their own safe road crossing from the wildlife pond to the woodlands opposite.
The café is within the award-winning (MCN’s Retailer of Year 2018) Moto Corsa multi-franchise motorcycle dealership on Wyke Road in Gillingham and is fast becoming a go-to destination for people who want to enjoy high quality, locally sourced coffee and freshly prepared snacks and meals in a welcoming and relaxed environment.
The café is run by Steve Angell, who says “The café is a hub for many locals who enjoy the ‘individuality’ of the site, as well as many who have come from several miles away to see for themselves the quality that is portrayed by our reviews and the awards that have been won – The ‘Best Independent Café’ in 2018’s Dorset Food Awards, as well as featuring in the Top 10 of MCN’s Golden Sausage Award.”
“This is a purpose-built café to fit the existing space”, he said. “This part of the old Talisman Antiques building was an antique restoration workshop, which previous to that formed part of the old ‘Wyke Brewery’.”
“We’ve retained a lot of the features from the building’s previous “incarnation - it’s a heritage site and we’ve recycled and re-used as much as possible and replaced like for like,” said sales manager Jeremy Kerr. “The building interior was set out like a Roman town, with marble columns, friezes, pillars, pediments and an ‘inner temple’ on a mezzanine, so we’ve extended the Italian inspiration from inside the building to the outside gardens. It’s also in keeping with the range of European motorbikes we stock (KTM, Aprilia, MVAgusta, Moto Guzzi, Energica, Brough Superior and Norton) and we’re very proud of what we’ve created – a showroom and café that are unique.”
Café Corsa not only caters for bikers, but everyone, offering plenty of space for buggies and wheelchairs. Highchairs, a baby changing room and disabled toilet are available to make visiting a little easier for all. Reading, colouring/activity books and crayons are also available to keep youngsters amused; dogs are welcome in the conservatory and on the terrace.
Free wifi is available and there are charging points in the plug sockets near most of the tables. There’s a lounge area in the conservatory, with leather Chesterfields, and plenty of ‘Motorbike’ orientated books to browse through as wished.
Café Corsa makes a wide variety of locally sourced, fresh to order breakfasts. As well as others, choose from a round of toast, breakfast sandwich or baguette or even a regularly sought-after Full English or Superior breakfast.
If breakfast isn’t what you are looking for then other meal options are available including Fish & Chips, Burgers, Panini’s, Toasties, Sandwiches and Baguettes. All meals are freshly prepared to order.
Also available is locally sourced coffee, tea, cold drinks and a wide variety of cakes. Most items can be made as a takeaway option, please just ask.
As described, Café Corsa uses a wide variety of locally sourced products, with coffee from 918 Coffee Co of Semley, sausages and meat products from The Blackmore Vale Butchery and Prime Cuts of Gillingham & Shaftesbury, Bread from Taylor’s of Bruton, dairy products from Hawkridge Farm, and sponge cakes from Lavender Blue of Gillingham.
Many bike enthusiasts travel a long way to view the Moto Corsa showroom – some come from the Isle of Wight on a regular basis. The showroom was one of the venues which hosted performances for GillFest in both 2017 and 2018, as well as charity bike run ‘The Poker Run’, which raised money for Julia’s House in Poole and Action on Addiction at Clouds House, East Knoyle; and The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s mental health.
Upstairs you’ll find a range of retro clothing from brands like KTM, Brough Superior, Oily Rag, Garibaldi and Resurgence – the clothes are popular with non-bikers too, with tourer jackets, shirts, t-shirts, hooded tops, jeans and caps – for bikers there’s also a choice of open face helmets and belts.
Customer feedback: “I’ve been to most of the bike showrooms in the south west and there’s nowhere like this – a destination café and a fantastic bike shop. I ride pillion and it’s great to enjoy a proper coffee and a lunch in comfort while I’m waiting for the first test ride to finish. “You get offered a coffee in most showrooms but you are still in a bike showroom – there isn’t a separate café which is just like a normal café, with people of all ages – not just full of bikers talking about bikes. Here are families, babies, older people, dogs. And outside is lovely too. I’d definitely recommend it for the pillion experience – it’s a rare treat.”
The café is also used for meetings and large parties – contact Steve for details.
Gluten free and veggie meal options, GF cakes and soya and oat milk are available.
Regular café customers can enjoy a loyalty card – get it stamped each time you buy a hot drink and the tenth is free. The redesigned car park just off Pound Lane is a safer place for people to enter rather than parking on Wyke Road, especially if you have children.
The café and showroom are fully accessible and offer disabled facilities. Open 9am-4.30pm Monday to Saturday; Food is served 9am to 3pm.