Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hartley's: gluten-free with heart!

Since starting this blog, I've had a few recommendations and suggestions for coeliac-friendly places to go and am always on the look out for somewhere new to try. One friend suggested we visit Hartley's Cafe in Hockley (one of the more alternative quarters of Nottingham City Centre) as it does gluten-free sandwiches and cakes. Well, I need very little persuading to try cake, and it didn't take much to convince my hubby to take me and the girls out for lunch.

Hartley's is a modern looking deli-style cafe in the centre of Hockley. It's not a huge place, and got very busy when we were there, which is hardly surprising as they advertise clearly that they cater for gluten-free (as well as dairy-free and vegan) diets. You can find out more about the cafe and see their menu on their website  here:

When we went in, we had a lovely friendly greeting, and the lady behind the counter went through all of the G-F options. There were about 4 different choices of gluten-free bread (including paninnis),  plenty of sandwich fillings, soup, crisps etc. To Alexandra's immense excitement there were about 6 varieties of gluten-free cake, and although I know as a parent I should steer her away from calorie laden treats, I was thrilled to be able to offer her a choice of goodies instead of the usual 'take it or leave it'.

In the name of research (yes, I am dedicated), I ordered gluten-free sandwiches and cakes for myself and Alex. My husband (not fully convinced that G-F can live up to the status quo) ordered 'normal' food.  Our meal arrived quickly and looked good.

The sandwiches were lovely and fresh with a good amount of filling. On a (only slightly) less positive note, I was disappointed to learn that the bread was not home made but was bought in from Sainsbury's. I can understand why, in terms of the practicality of this given the range of choices on offer, but I would love to find somewhere that does really great home-made gluten-free bread.

The cakes on the other hand were home made, although not on site. Alex went for a strawberry muffin and I had a chocolate slice. They looked great, and tasted fine, although needed the lashings of icing that were spread on them as the sponges themselves were quite dry.

Although they may not have been the most 'out of this world' gluten-free offerings I've tasted, the warmth of the staff and the pleasure of our whole family being able to go somewhere and have a choice for our lunch means that this cafe will definitely go on my 'return to' list. Also as they offer gluten-free ice-cream and wafer cones,  I think Alex will be asking for a repeat visit for a while to come too!
Do you have any recommendations of places (either in Nottingham or elsewhere) that cater well for gluten-free kids? (any excuse for me to give it a go!!)


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