Always on the look out for somewhere to take Dinky on my non-work days, I heard about a new café in the Ouseburn area. NE1 Café opened last week at Stepney Bank Stables and I was interested to see who had taken up residence. This particular area of Newcastle is becoming a hive of foodie activity, with Ernest and The Ship Inn within spitting distance. With the farm and Seven Stories also in the vicinity it is a great place to visit for the day with the kids.
Another added bonus was the launch of NE1’s Toddler Sessions. On a Tuesday between 12:30 and 1:30pm parents (grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc.) are being encouraged to take their children along to the stables and get involved in activities. When we visited it was Messy Play, something Dinky loves. Other planned events include Cake Decorating, Smoothie and Mini Pizza Making. She wasted no time getting stuck in to the jelly and gloop, as well as trying to catch the bubbles. Even at a mere 13 months old she was standing up and getting involved. I was surprised she was still reasonably clean at the end of the session and hadn’t eaten any of the spaghetti they were encouraged to throw round! The session was £4, with the option of paying an extra pound for the children to have lunch too. I was a bit wary about doing this because I didn’t know whether vegan options would be available, but the ladies involved were lovely and set my mind at ease. Dinky was offered Pasta & Tomato Sauce, but other dishes on offer included Linda McCartney Sausages (which were also suitable) and Chicken Nuggets & Sweet Potato Chips. The café is located inside the Stepney Bank Stables and is what estate agents would call bijou. The prices were extremely reasonable – £2 for a cup of tea and a scone! – and I can imagine during the holidays it will be busy with harassed Mums and Dads who fancy a change of scene for an hour or so. At first Dinky wasn’t keen on trying her lunch but once I allowed her to feed herself (and create a mess!) there was no stopping her. Other children were treated to ice cream afterwards, but because there were no dairy free alternatives Dinky had to miss out. I did take the opportunity to suggest a couple of accidentally vegan products NE1 Café could stock to make eating there a little more stress-free for parents of children with allergies. Swapping regular spread with Flora Freedom, buying some UHT soya milk and checking out some of the treats mentioned on this blog (including a vegan chocolate cake here) would elevate them above some of the other eateries in the area aimed at kids.
NE1 Café has been set up by two sisters, Tracy and Gemma. Tracy was formerly a Senior Environmental Health Officer (perhaps she should read my recent post about Hei Hei!) and Gemma was formerly a Special Support Assistant. Both have catering experience and a real passion for what they are doing in the café. The Toddler Sessions will be running every Tuesday during term time, with special activities planned during the school holidays. You can find out more on the NE1 Café Facebook page here.
Thanks for reading,