Olive and Bean, Newcastle

Olive and Bean on Newcastle’s Clayton Street is one of those cafes that is an Instagrammers dream come true. Exposed brickwork and knick knacks on the tables provide an excellent backdrop for pictures of pretty cakes and ‘latte art’. I’m really not one to talk as my own account features many ‘snaps of my life’ staged exactly in this fashion.I decided to take my Mum and sister along, knowing how fond they are of good coffee and cake. I was very disappointed not to find a sweet treat I could have as a vegan, but as had skipped lunch decided to have something savoury instead.Nothing on the menu is specifically marked as SFV which I think is a terrible shame. I had to ask so many questions to deduce what I could eat and couldn’t eat, even from the vegetarian section of the menu. I think the server was growing weary of walking back and forth to the kitchen with my enquiries, but I figured this is something they need to be aware of. They have plant milk on offer so can’t have been the first person through their doors who avoided dairy.There was mention of the vegan staples – hummus and falafel. Once I’d found out they were vegan friendly I then had to choose which combination to order. I finally settled on the Hummus and Falafel Wrap, which I asked for with just crisps. It was a lot bigger than I anticipated and felt it was reasonably good value for money for a filling lunch.My sister ordered a Crème Brulee Latte, while my Mum wanted to try one of their luxury hot chocolates.It is almost impossible to drink something like this without getting a cream ‘tash, much to our amusement. Both disappointingly thought the Victoria Sponge they shared was dense and dry. Mum said that there needed to be more jam used and she argued that buttercream wouldn’t normally grace the top of a traditional sponge like this. I also felt let down as this was somewhere I thought would deliver after reading other bloggers sing their praises. It just goes to show that even popular establishments can have off days.

All in all I wasn’t overly enthused by Olive and Bean, it has to be said. I expected a lot more with such a huge array of cakes and a pretty comprehensive looking menu. Options for those with allergies and dietary requirements seem limited, while the staff weren’t exactly clued up on the menu either. With quite a few city centre competitors serving afternoon teas and cakey goodness like Café Royale and Patisserie Valerie I feel they need mark themselves apart from the crowd and polish their offering to remain a go-to for Geordies.

Thanks for reading,

Pip x

Fancy an Afternoon Tea? Check out our Top Ten recommendations in the North East here.


  1. CannyFollower

    Been there twice. Both times the finding a table part seemed a bit chaotic. We both ordered vegetarian lunch items. One wrap came with chicken inside it. When this realised by me and the waiter asked, she said “oh they keep doing it”. Won’t go back now.

    1. Emma Phillips (Post author)

      That is terrible. Quite appalled as that would likely make me sick.

  2. Rosie

    I am a huge fan of Olive and Bean but do think the last few times I’ve visited that service has slipped and my brother in law also had an awful Victoria sponge cake, although the rest of us in my party all had delicious desserts. They might need a new recipe! You’re right, they need to step it up if they want custom. My mum is gluten free and they can cater a lot for her but there’s no mention of this on the menu!

    Rosie x

  3. Laura

    Sounds lovely, it’s on my to do list!


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