Super Natural Cafe, Newcastle
I find it frustrating when I want to try a place to eat but the opening times don’t ‘fit in’ with my plans. Take Super Natural Cafe, for example. Open 8:30 – 5pm, Monday to Saturday, you’d think this would be sufficient. But wanting to go with Mr. Canny on account of its vegetarian and vegan persuasion, we found the idea of trying to park in Newcastle on a Saturday afternoon quite the deterrent – which is the only day he could manage working full time as he does.
It is somewhere I used to eat in during my student days, and I adored the Vegetable Lasagne they dished up. It was Newcastle’s very first all veggie restaurant way back in the 70’s when it opened, although there was a hiatus between the late 90’s and last year, from what I recall. The burgeoning vegan food scene with The Bohemian, Scrumpy Willow and Painted Elephant show that there’s a definite growing trend in the area around following a plant based diet. Gluten free dishes are also highlighted on the menu.
I took no excuses this weekend and decided this would be a Valentine’s treat for him, considering we’d made no plans because of the baby’s impending due date. We were able to walk in and get a table, although it seemed reservations were a good idea as large parties seemed to take up the majority of the restaurant when we visited. The decor is reminiscent of someone’s dining room, making you feel relaxed and at home. Whomever it is clearly likes cats too, with stencilled motifs and those signs you’d buy in a gift shop for your single Aunty who has 5 fur babies.
There were plenty of appealing items on the menu, which made it difficult for us to chose. With an ‘all you can eat’ salad bar accompanying the main courses, there seemed little point in getting a starter. One of the owners recommended we tried their ‘Fish & Chips’ (£8.99) – firm tofu marinated in white wine and lemon juice, wrapped in nori seaweed, coated in batter and fried – and as Mr. Canny was the fish eater before his ‘conversion’ he decided to give it a whirl.
Not fancying Curry for the millionth time, having taken to eating it for most meals to get labour going, I opted for the Italian Lattice (£7.99). This reminded me of a Greggs pasty, which is in no way a criticism.
Mr. Canny was impressed with the texture and flavour of his ‘fish’, but commented on how the batter became tiresome after a while. I agreed, and remarked it was exactly like the coating on the Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls the local Chinese take away dish up. I could feel my indigestion start almost instantaneously. It always seems like a fab idea to order battered food, but after a while it can become sickly. My own plate featured battered beetroot, carrot and onion, although there was no mention of this on the menu. It struck us as overkill and while I usually bemoan the lack of ‘unhealthy’ options vegans are presented with on eating out, this was one occasion I was longing for a bit of salad. We both thoroughly enjoyed the options on the salad bar too, especially the vegan coleslaw. Who knew such a thing could exist!
The portion sizes were generous, meaning with the best will in the world there was no room to try out any of their impressive looking cakes. Mr. Canny was pleased with the selection of beers and ales on offer, especially as he knew they would be suitable for him without having to consult the app he has.
All in all, it was a decent meal. Next time I’d probably go for something lighter, like a jacket potato or a panini. At just under £23 for food and drinks I’d say it was excellent value for money. The staff were friendly, and the informal atmosphere means it would be a nice place to pop into for a cuppa and a cake through the week. They have a sofa area for such occasions. It’s disappointing that they aren’t open on an evening, but with Painted Elephant as a neighbour you can understand why. Having a larger establishment means they could perhaps capitalise on those who couldn’t get a table in the popular eatery, which frequently happens when we haven’t booked in advance. I think there’s definitely room for the pair of them on the vegan dining scene of Newcastle as they both offer very different menus.
Thanks for reading,