After a relaxing morning being pampered at Doxford Hall’s Spa I was in need of a healthy but filling lunch. Not being to familiar with this corner of Northumberland and having my dietary requirements meant I was caught on the back foot. I’d recalled seeing a new cafe by the side of the A1 not far away called Carnaby’s, and when a quick glance at their Facebook page presented to me a photo of a vegan cake, I was mighty impressed.
It’s hard not to be tempted with the lure of cake, never mind vegan versions, but I tried to rein in my own expectations. I remembered how disappointed I’d been visiting The Origami Cafe in Alnwick and finding out that Judy’s dairy and egg free treats were only available on certain days of the week.
Once we arrived I immediately headed for the cake selection to see what was on offer. Alas, not a single one was SFV. There was mention of gluten free, but nothing for those who have issues with dairy and/or egg.
Not one to give up easily, I thought I would check out the menu on the wall to see what savoury dishes I could sample instead. There was mention of vegan staple Avocado on Toast but not much else for me. Still, there was the salad bar to try out.
We stood in the queue to order and peered at the selection of plates and bowls set out. Unfortunately there wasn’t a single option that didn’t have meat or dairy. My friend asked if I wanted to try elsewhere but by this stage I wasn’t in the mood to drive and face the same conundrum. I ordered the Avocado (£5), which I requested was served on toasted white bread instead of the rye & carraway listed on the menu.
It was pleasant enough, although when I got home I had a crumpet to stave off the tummy rumbles. My friend ordered one of their Apricot and Pork Sausage Rolls, which she had with a selection of the fresh salads.
She had a Storm Tea along with her lunch and it was good to see Carnaby’s supporting other local businesses by stocking the Newcastle-based brand. Laura didn’t purchase anything sweet in solidarity.
The weather was less than clement so kiddiesquinks weren’t allowed to venture out and try the play area to the rear of the cafe. As you enter Carnaby’s there’s a store selling clothing, homeware and gifts. I was very tempted by the Victoria Shoes that were on sale until I realised they were made of leather. Probably for the best as I really don’t need another pair of shoes! The stock is very much in keeping with the style of the store, and you can even buy the soap they have in their facilities.
It is a shame there were a few niggles regarding the menu choices for me. Vegan food is for everyone and adding cheese or mayo to their salads ahead of time limits who can have them. Even one choice would have gone a long way to bolstering what’s available for those with dietary requirements. What is possibly the case at Carnaby’s is some days are better than others for their vegan selection – especially judging by their Facebook page – and I happened to stop by at the wrong time. I hope this feedback will be taken on board as there’s potential for more business for this charming cafe if they cater more consistently for the plant based market.
Thanks for reading,
Looking for somewhere to stay in Northumberland? Check out our review of Brownieside B&B The Coach House here.