We were alerted to the existence of Peddling Squares, a cycling cafe located in Swalwell, by an Instagram post. There was no mention of the food, only the quirky decor. I subsequently heard that they had vegan options on offer so decided to pop in for Sunday brunch.
As well as being geared towards cyclists, the cafe is dog friendly. Space is on the limited side so venturing here with rambunctious kiddiesquinks may not be the best idea. There’s plenty of comfy sofas for those who just want to sup a coffee and ‘chill’, and a pool table if you get bored watching the sport they have on the TV.
There was a debate about whether to order from the breakfast menu or not but as I don’t eat baked beans (I know, I’m a terrible vegan) the choice was limited.
That said, it was a bit of a gamble ordering from the menu as vegan wasn’t referenced. I asked at the counter when ordering about what was SFV and was met with a blank stare. Thankfully someone else stepped in and said he’d look at the folder to see what was appropriate. We had a choice of The Cavendish Burger, Falafel (big surprise) or the Mercxx.
Gavin ordered the burger while I opted for the Falafel platter. We sat at tables strewn with plates and it took a while for them to be cleared and cleaned. To be fair, the cafe was busy but staff didn’t appear to be on the ball. We were then told that upon checking the burger contained milk so wasn’t SFV. We changed our order but weren’t refunded the difference between the two. It was only after the fact I realised this.
The falafel was pretty good, despite my eye rolling, but I was disappointed by the shop bought salsa which was served alongside. A fresh version or a guacamole would have been better. Its almost chemically tang made me wince. The hummus wasn’t too bad – I’m presuming that wasn’t homemade but happy to be corrected – and the flatbreads were nicely warmed.
Gavin’s Mercxx could have done with a minute or two more under the grill. He said it was alright and I’d agree. My whole feeling was ‘could do better’. I felt underwhelmed by the food and was disappointed by the customer service side of things. I get that not everywhere wants to cater for vegans but it seems blinkered, especially as there are a lot of cyclists changing to a plant based diet because of the athletic advantages it has. Prices were reasonable though, so it’s probably worth giving it a go. Perhaps they were just having an off day.
Thanks for reading,