The Otter’s Cafe with no otters

Maybe it’s not ideal for this kind of weather, but there’s an 8 kilometre walk along the River Mersey.  It can get a bit boring, as it’s basically a promenade walk running from nearly Garston in South Liverpool right into the Albert Dock and the Pier Head, both the more well known parts of the skyline of central Liverpool’s river front.

As I mentioned, the walk in itself is a bit boring because it’s just a stroll along paving stones, and once you’ve stopped to stare lovingly at the smelly sludge stuff left when the tide is out, or filled your eyes with views of the foreign land on the far away opposite side of the river, you’ve done it all.

That foreign land is known as ‘the Wirral’ and ‘Birkenhead’ and isn’t pretty, just ‘interesting’.  Ships and boats do pass, which can be fun to watch, as are the occasional flocks of birds and those ever noisy gulls, but the journey does tend towards being dull unless you have a walking companion or two and a good conversation under way.

I don’t know why, but there’s always been something nicer about walking away from central Liverpool.  And now there is something to look forward to.  It’s Otterspool.

I’m assuming Otterspool was so named because there was a pool there that had otters in it, although I have never seen an ancient pool nor an otter there.

A yellow ball waits to fall and crush the human walking a tightrope 

What has just been built at Otterspool about 50 metres from the river front is a massive nearly 1 hectare development called Active Adventures.  This is where you pay money for somebody to shout at you and force you through mud, brambles, and water, or up 100 metre high climbing frames, or you tie yourself to a guide rope and try to walk between bits hanging 2,000 metres in the air, and so on.

All of it, whilst looking very smart and exciting, is, I’m afraid, not for me.  You go ahead.  I’ll just wait here in the 240 seater cafe, the Otter’s Cafe. Again.

Actually, it’s the Otter’s Cafe that I really want to anorak on about.  Forget all the sweat and, well, fear, that is going on outside the large panoramic glass windows, the inside of the cafe is brilliant.

You can sit at a table or on sofas after ordering your munchies at the counter and they bring them to you.  Oh, and on a warm day you can sit on the veranda munching on burgers from the open barbeque by the mini-lake they’ve built adjacent to the building.  By the way, the lake doesn’t seem to have any otters in it.

Otter’s Cafe doesn’t seem to have any otters serving or frequenting it in any way, and there’s no otter on the menu either.  There’s a lot of excellent stuff on the menu, instead though.  They do a huge roast on Sundays and Scouse during the week, as well as things like garlic bread and mushrooms and a range of nibbles. And cakes.

Apparently a foreigner, a non-Liverpudlian, a lady from the other side of the river makes the cakes.  There are lots of cakes, ranging from cup-cakes through to sticky cakes and carrot cakes and, well, cake cakes.  Big cakes.  Real man’s cakes.

The clientèle tend towards the iPhone carrying slightly Bohemian, either in their 20s or over 80, and there are a lot of people with children.  At the weekends it’s dads with children.  These are not the type of children that scummy mummy’s allow to run wild in McDonalds whilst they are busy swearing on their Blackberrys, but are mainly properly engaged by their parents and well behaved.  They are proper children that don’t deserve to be taken from their parents and re-cycled.  Probably the only noise issue is the babies.  The Bohemian people with babies do seem to think that we want to hear them cry and cry and cry.

Generally speaking it’s a safe non-threatening environment with half the seats inside and the other half outside (well, not when it’s feckin’ freezin’ obviously), and the service and quality is truly excellent.

The Otter’s Cafe makes the walk from central Liverpool a pleasure!  More about Active Adventures here.