Whilst indulging in a bit of Christmas retail therapy with my favourite shopping partner (my Mum!) the other day, she suggested that we stopped in at this little cafe she’d been in before with a friend. I’m, by anyone’s standards, quite fussy these days about what I eat and so if it’s not tried and tested then I’m always a little anxious that I won’t be able to find anything on the menu I can eat but she was adamant that everything was home-made and so off we went. I needn’t have worried, the “little cafe” turned out to be Olive & Bean, a lovely little eatery in the centre of Newcastle serving breakfasts, lunches, home made cakes and afternoon teas.
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the wall of Teapig teas. I am actually a very sad person and I get overly excited about herbal teas so the prospect of practically the entire range to choose from nearly sent me over the edge. The home made cakes also looked amazing, yes, I am a cake pervert, even though I don’t eat refined sugar I always like to drool over the cake selection and sometimes….sniff them. Is that wrong? Anyway, my Mum and I had just half an previously had a conversation about the kind of food that you might break the rules for, so for example if I only treated myself to refined sugar once a month say, what would I treat myself to? We both agreed that THESE were the kinds of cake that you would break the rules for. They also did a range of vegetable based sponges which I quite fancied trying – one of your five a day anyone?
I ordered from the big bowl salad menus, selecting a blue cheese, walnut, wild rocket and crispy bacon salad, while my mum went for a sandwich with chicken and stuffing soup (which smelt amazing but I think she secretly had salad envy!) I also fancied trying the Teapigs Chai Tea Latte which involved spiced tea, steamed vanilla milk and cinnamon topping. Unfortunately when I asked what the vanilla milk was it turned out to be milk with vanilla syrup in which would have been quite sugary so I decided against it but was inspired to try my own version at home using vanilla pods (totally delicious by the way!)
Olive & Bean try to source all their produce from high quality suppliers around the country and all their veg comes from the nearby Grainger Market (an amazing indoor market which has been going for years and years). Their milk is from “happy cows” and the tea and coffee are all sourced ethically.
The building itself is small but perfectly formed with seating upstairs and down and a choice of comfy sofa style seating or window seats for the nosy among us who like to watch the world go by. They also appeared to be family friendly, although I wasn’t with the wee one at the time, I noticed there were high chairs and the menu offered a “Big bites for little mouths” range which included a sandwich, crisps and grapes for humans under 10 years of age.
If you know a foodie type then you might like to consider doing some of your Christmas shopping there too as they offered a range of teas, coffees, pickles and jams, beers and condiments to purchase and take home.
I will definitely be going back, probably the next time I’m shopping with my Mum as she seemed to like it too, and I might even break the rules and have a piece of cake…