New places make me feel uneasy, there are always new rules to contend with - how to order, where to order, where to wait, when to pay. Its a minefield of potential faux pas. These quirky changes are all employed to make new establishments feel cool and edgy so they stand out from the crowd. I have never been edgy or hip or even slightly cool. I've tried, it doesn't suit me, however sometimes I find myself in places where I feel I need to be in order to fit in. This is how I felt in Tapped and Packed. I felt in order to belong here I should perhaps have been wearing colourful skinny jeans, a mismatched woollen jumper, and odd shoes. I even think that I should have cycled to get here, but that would be crazy as I don't own a bike and I am only 50 doors away. Did I mention that there is a tree stump in the middle of the room. No, well there is. It acts as a table. All so very hip.
I like the old adage "If its not broken don't fix it", it seems the owners/designers of Tapped and Packed do not. As an obvious attempt to feel edgy they have decided to situate the two service counters, one for coffee the other for food, diagonally across from each other as though they are two magnets repelling each other. An unnecessary oddity because for me coffee and food generally go hand in hand or side by side, plus I had no idea where to stand while waiting for my coffee having paid for and collected my sandwich. I chose one end of the coffee counter, obviously it was the wrong end. Idiot. Curse my social awkwardness, I just want to buy a sandwich and a coffee, I don't want to have to contend with social obstacles that cause me to trip up and look clownish, I can do that on my own.
The staff are all very friendly and helpful. They are of course all pretty trendy people, who descended on me with that abrupt, in your face politeness which makes even the most confident person a little weary. Still I feel I managed to compose myself and held my own, even engaging them in a little bit of conversation, a chatette if you will. The type of chat you have with your postman or even a rarely seen but quite normal and generally good natured neighbour. Nothing too formal, just a few pleasantries to avoid coming across as rude. On requesting a little advice as to which of the sandwiches he would suggest, the staff member helpfully pointed me towards the salami and brie baguette, saying it is excellent toasted if you have the machinery to do so. Sadly they do not offer it in store, a trick missed I feel as most sandwiches benefit from the little added texture that toasting brings. Having the ability to toast the baguette, I duly did and I can report that it is indeed excellent toasted. I can also report the the BLT is an excellent sandwich, soft white bread, crisp lettuce, salty bacon and juicy tomatoes and the addition of what seems to be a paprika based condiment is a touch of class. I recommended getting two, partly because they are delicious, but also because they are on the small side as are most of the sandwiches. You get what you pay for though as on average they cost around £3.50, not expensive, though unfortunately not filling either. Still I guess it allows you to slim down and perhaps one day fit into a pair of skinny jeans, or failing that you could just buy some cake.
So if you want to get the most out of a trip to Tapped and Packed, I would like to suggest you do a few things. Cycle to get there if possible, be overtly friendly with the staff, buy two sandwiches and some cake, forget those skinny jeans, everyone wears them, remember individuality is cool. Order a coffee, a piccolo , flat whites are over. Follow these simple rules and you will be destined to enjoy your excursion to Tapped and Packed.
Opening Times: Mon - Fri 8-7, Sat 10-6