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Alley Cafe Bar

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 41 reviews )

1a Cannon Court, Longrow West, Nottingham, England, NG1 6JE

Small, licensed veggie cafe situated 100m from Old Market Square. Provides an extensive menu of vegetarian fare that includes 90% vegan options clearly marked on the menu. Also hosts art exhibitions and live music. Open Mon-Tue 11:00am-9:00pm, Wed-Sat 11:00am-11:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-5:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Beer/Wine, Take-out, British

Reviews (41)

First Review by Foxtrot

serves food? - Edit

I'd love to be able to review the food at Alley café, but twice now we have gone and not been able to eat.
First visit in 2016 we were told they were closing because it wasn't busy (we were a group of 4).
We tried again in January 2017 and thought we were in luck when it was open.
Went inside only to be told they weren't actually serving food?
it's so annoying to make a special journey somewhere to find you can't get what you want.

Cons: never seems to serve food?

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Dopest Place in Town - Edit

Come here a few times with mates just to show off how cool we (vegetarians) are. Night gigs here are the best, a posh delicious meal then some grime to finish or sometimes some proper hipster vibes, all good. The place is pricey, definitely a place to go for a meal out but for a regular lunch it's too much, portions are good and drinks are fab, sit in with a drink and go on your max for some good vibes in the day or use it as a chill club replacement in the night. Can be a tight squeeze but still a homely introduction to indie Nottingham, if your a veggie or a vegan it's a 100% must when visiting or living in Notts!

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Vegans heaven - Edit

Small hidden gem of Nottingham. Huge vegan/vegetarian menu with loads of options. Mind you: kitchen close at 8 so dinner won't be available after 8 pm!

Pros: Very nice menu with sandwiches burgers salads cake

Cons: Food not available at dinner time, as kitchen clos

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deliciously seasoned food - Edit

This place is right in the heart of the city centre and has a variety of vegan options. Food tastes fresh, well seasoned and is prepared to look lovely. Portions are decent, prices moderate.
You can have amazing falafels, bean bowls, soups and pizzas. They stock vegan cakes too!

Staff is very friendly and the place is overall very comfortable. Especially love the music!
Updated from previous review on Wednesday March 23, 2016

Pros: many vegan choices, atmosphere

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Really good! - Edit

Stayed in Nottingham last weekend and went to eat at Alley Cafe twice and had take out once.

I think the food is really good. Really tasty and prices are moderate.

Had the burger, a smoked tofu sandwich, pizza and chocolate cake. The pizza was a bit small, but delicious.

Pros: evyerthing vegetarian, loas vegan

Cons: Pizza was a bit small

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Well worth the search and the wait - Edit

Rounding up from 4.5

My review is bound to be biased by the fact that I've always visited on a Saturday lunchtime when, obviously, this tiny place is packed and you generally have to wait for a table and your food.

The menu never changes, but hey, it's a sound menu with lots of choice, and the specials are usually temptatious. Comfort food dominates but there's plenty of yummy salad and such going on too

The folks are absolutely lovely, the vibe is blissfully chilled & it's one of those lovely places where you feel you're eating your ethics and compassion goes for all animals, humans included - would be better if they went 100% vegan obviously ;-)

I've brought committed omnivores and they loved it so good place for feeding a mixed group, and obviously, plenty of alcohol for those who partake

Pros: excellent food, value for money, super friendly relaxed vibe

Cons: a bit hard to find, may have to wait at busy times

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Top vegan food in Nottingham - Edit

Amazing veggie, vegan cafe bar in the centre of Notts. Does fantastic all day veggie or vegan breakfast (scrambled tofu for the win!) as well as loads of salads, sandwiches, burgers and faves like burritos and tapas bits. Great menu that indicates what is, or can be made, vegan as well as g.f. dishes. Portion sizes are good - I have always cleared my plate but never been left hungry! I don't tend to have a sweet tooth but oh my, the desserts... raspberry & mango sponge with ice cream, chocolate torte (all vegan!)

The staff are really chilled & friendly. There are tables outside too - looks like a great place to chill with a beer! Free wifi too (I've been known to spend a couple of hours here at a time!)

Pros: Very vegan friendly, Value for money, Chilled atmosphere

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Awesome place - Edit

I absolutely love the Alley Cafe! I've eaten there a few times (every time I've been in Nottingham, I think), and it's a lovely little place with funky decor/cool art exhibitions on the walls, great atnosphere, friendly staff and delicious food, with loads of vegan options (I love that the dishes have 'people' names too), including daily specials. I particularly liked the vegan lassi milkshakes, which have an alcoholic option too!

Pros: Tasty, tasty food, Lots of vegan options, Lovely decor

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Loved it - Edit

Visited the Alley Cafe Bar after a day of wandering around Nottingham.. and what a great ending to my day trip!
Had I not been with someone who's visited before, I probably would've had difficulty finding it. Anyway, the tucked away location suited the cosy atmosphere inside. And I loved the interior, with its character exposed beams and the dessert menu written in rainbow colours on the mirrors. Judging by the previous reviews, we were lucky to get a table that fitted all of us (4 people) on a Saturday. I think we arrived at about 5/5:30, so perhaps that's the best time to go before it starts to fill up.
The menu is well-designed, as it is easy to see what's vegan and what can be made vegan. Plus there's a section on the back which tells what's in certain food items, e.g. soya, gluten in some dishes, so it's useful for allergy sufferers too. Everything on the menu looked so good, my companions were getting annoyed with me for taking so long to decide on something!
In the end I ordered the burrito.. with cocoa! Such a temptingly odd ingredient for a burrito (in my mind at least) so I had to try it. I wasn't disappointed. It was big and delicious and came with a nice salad and vegan sour cream/relish dip. Every now and then I got what I thought was the subtlest hint of cocoa.. delish!
I couldn't leave there without trying one of their desserts, so I had the raspberry and coconut cheesecake and they included a scoop of vegan cookie caramel ice cream as I was so keen to try it even if it didn't match perfectly with such a cheesecake flavour wise. Oh my GOSH. It was so good.
If you're in the area then seriously consider coming here! It's not often vegan food this good is available!!

Pros: Great food, Loads of choice for vegans, Lovely interior and nice, relaxed vibe

Cons: I imagine it gets quite tight for space

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Excellent cake - Edit

I only visited for cake, and it was worth it! It's quite a small place, and the main menu looked tempting too. There were two vegan cakes, and they were both really moist and tasty. I'd definitely go back again!

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quirky! - Edit

love this little cafe. very relaxed laid back style...wish it was a tad bigger but thats how it is, small n cosy! first time I went I had full vegan breakfast..very nice. waitress was so friendly and cheerful. need to pay a visit there again soon!

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Amazing - Edit

My partner and I visit a few times a month and it is our favourite Vegan restaurant. Amazing food every time, I would recommend anything and everything from the menu. I always look forward to whatever is on the specials board :D

Pros: Fantastic tasty filling food, Plenty of options, Great quality for a great price

Cons: The cafe is quite small, Sometimes have to wait for a table

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Excellent! - Edit

The tempeh burger is ultra succulent as is the falafel burger. I had the vegan breakfast next day with scrambled tofu, very very tasty and filling. A hidden gem in the city centre. Friendly service unfazed by the onslaught of customers. Brilliant place!

Pros: Great food, Good prices, Nice venue

Cons: Gets busy, but understandable!

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Worth trying to find it! - Edit

Not an easy place to find, even walking around with my phone directing me I still had difficulty! There isn't much to identify the cafe from the street frontage but once you've found the alley you will see the cafe building.

Cafe is on the first floor and has a relaxed, friendly vibe. I could've sat here all afternoon but only had a lunch break this time around unfortunately. It is quite small and soon filled up, also people coming in to takeaway food. Probably very busy at the weekends.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and products used. Good choice of food for Vegans, I had the not BLT, which was delicious and fresh. They have a wide range of smoothies and milkshakes available, you can pick your own flavours and mix and match. Dairy free milk and ice cream are used. I had the coconut and pineapple and it was seriously tasty, like a piña colada without the rum!

I will definitely be back next time I'm in Nottingham and look forward to trying the Vegan breakfast which was served to the table next to me and looked delicious. One to try if you are in the area.

Pros: Lovely fresh food and good choice, Friendly staff, Relaxed, comfortable cafe

Cons: Can be busy, might not get a table

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Nottingham's best vegetarian cafe/bar - Edit

Plenty of tasty vegan options and great atmosphere and music. Bang in the centre of Nottingham. Has been my favourite bar in Nottingham for years.

Pros: Location, Food Options, Atmosphere and music

Cons: Quite small

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Cute bar - Edit

Nice atmosphere, good food, lot of different sandwiches, all vegetarian options could be done as vegan options, all desserts are vegan, cute local, free wifi from 3 pm, nice people working there.

Pros: Good food, good price, location (city center)

Cons: Small local, Difficult to find a sit to eat on sarurdays

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Awesome Food & Drink - Edit

When in Nottingham, I always head to the Alley Café for a bite to eat and something to drink. The food is, without fail, fresh, delicious and well presented - be that a pizza, burger or something from the specials board. They do great desserts too and even make their own vegan ice-cream! As if all this wasn't enough, the place has a great relaxed atmosphere and the staff are very warm, welcoming and helpful.

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Nice food and friendly staff - Edit

There are several nice vegan choices on their menu and most of what isn't already vegan can be veganised. The hemp burger and the tempeh burger are both great choices. Both come with huge potato wedges and relish.

Pros: Vegan friendly, Nice atmosphere

Cons: Could use more variety in vegan options, A bit small

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yummy Vegan food ;) - Edit

First time customer and loved the food - difficult to find great Vegan food but found another favourite here!

Enjoyed oriental tofu orbs as starter, really tasty and nice flavours, had a great mango and pineapple smoothie with soya milk, and for main ordered the organic marinated tofu steak, tasted amazing and nicely presented - ate every last bit!

Had to try the pudding too so had the decadent chocolate torte, again - tasted amazing!

The cost with two drinks just over £21 so not cheap but tasted great and I'll certainly be back again!!

Pros: amazing food

Cons: cost

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Great sandwiches and fruit juices, nice atmosphere - Edit

Huge range of veggie/vegan sandwiches (all sorts of yummy combinations of halloumi/smoked tofu/hoummous/cream cheese/pesto/roasted peppers/salad etc etc in a range of breads) and juices; also does great veggie or vegan breakfast, veggie sausage sandwiches, soups, pates and bigger meals. Plus coffee, cakes and alcohol. Very small so get there early to grab a table.

Pros: Best sandwiches ever

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good drinks, lots of vegan food options - Edit

I come here really regularly (and have done for about 7 years), and always enjoy it. I've always found it a really friendly place, with nice food.

For this reason, I'm a bit shocked at a couple of the other reviews! One mentions vegan food being covered in dairy and I'm really surprised by this. There are lots of vegan options on the menu, and you can choose whether you have vegan or dairy cheese on a lot of the dishes (i.e. the hemp or tempeh burgers - both of which I'd recommend). *All* of the milkshakes and lassis are also dairy free by default (and delicious) - so there's no risk of cross-contamination drinks-wise. You can also get dairy free versions of cocktails like white Russians.

There's also a specials board, with soups, pates and mains & desserts changing regularly.

What's also good about it, is that it's the sort of place that it's easy to take people who aren't veggie - everyone I know really likes it.

Pros: great range of drinks, specials change regularly, decent vegan options

Cons: sometimes v. busy

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I've visited the alley cafe a few times, each more disappointing than the last.
"vegan" food comes covered in dairy, the staff are rude and the plates/glasses are often dirty.
Portions are tiny, food is ill-prepared and expensive.
Don't waste your time.

Pros: none

Cons: non vegan food served as vegan, rude staff and unclean conditions, tiny portions and high prices

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Cheap, decent vegan food with some yummy deserts! - Edit

I used to eat and drink here all the time when I lived in Nottingham. They have a great range of sandwiches, which are good value, and a few decent mains. The smoothies are pretty tasty, too, but I am sure not very healthy! The deserts are REALLY good! Especially the regularly changing experimental vegan cheesecakes.
I agree with the negative comments, though... The place CAN get a fair few posers, and the ethics are a little questionable. I doubt they have changed their supplier since Swedish Glace was taken over by Unilever, either. The owner is a meat-eater in it for the money, not the ethics, after all.
If veganism to you means more than just a diet, you might have a better time at Aubergine Nottingham, but if you are stuck for a vegan snack or fancy a naughty treat in the middle of the day, the Alley Cafe is a good option.

Pros: amazing cheesecakes, good value yummy sandwiches, vegan cider

Cons: inconsistent ethics, not a veggie company

1 Response

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AlleyCafeCat 23 Oct 2012 - Hello, I would just like to say thank you for your review of our cafe...and you're right some of the smoothies aren't very healthy, I would suggest choosing the Lassi combinations or fruit smoothies for a healthier drink.

In response to 'The owner is a meat-eater in it for the money, not the ethics' I would have to disagree. The ownership is a partnership between 3 people, a carnivore, an occasional pescitarian and myself a vegetarian. We all have different catering backgrounds and really enjoy trying to come up with original vegan recipes. We are committed to many environmental aspects when preparing our food; green energy supplier, local producers, organics & fairtrade. We have a few vegans working for us and they wouldn't let us get away with 'bad ethics'

We are also committed to quality, so in regards to the comment about Swedish Glace, I haven't tried a different vegan ice cream yet that has the same quality but please contact us via our website with your suggestions.

Thank you again, and please come and have a chat with us if you think there is any areas in which we can improve

Take Care

James & the Alley Cafe Team

Great bar - Edit

Super vegetarian bar with lots of vegan options. We were there on a Thursday night and there was awesome live music and a vibrant crowd. We had the char-grilled tofu steak with sweet potato mash and the hemp seed burger. Both were delicious. The workers were friendly and the atmosphere was lively. Top spot!

Pros: Great food, lots of vegan options, Great value, Lively bar

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An excellent find - Edit

The Alley Cafe was an excellent place for a Saturday afternoon lunch, very lively-feeling, and very full (which I took to be a good sign, considering it's hidden down a courtyard off the main road). I thought the tofu steak and root mash I ordered could perhaps have been a little bigger, but this was probably made up for by the large, quality salad it was served with, and I was certainly sated by the end.

Me and a friend also shared a brownie and a cheesecake as pudding, and these were both excellent - I've always been a bit dubious of the idea of a vegan cheesecake, but this one was better than most of the 'real' ones I've had in the past.

Overall, definitely recommended, and a little bit reminiscent of a shrunken, slightly cooler version of the Warehouse Cafe in Birmingham ;)

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As regular visitors to Nottingham, we had given up hope of finding a genuine (still in existence) vegetarian restaurant, but with the aid of my trusty iphone map guidance we finally found The Alley Cafe, and what a find! Superb, tasty, wholesome imaginative vegetarian food freshly prepared by friendly staff. Laid back atmosphere. NOT PRICEY!!!! A real find, and will be our regular meal stop from now on.

Pros: Excellent Food, Friendly Staff, Laid Back Atmosphere

Cons: Difficult to Find, Unhelpfully Named?, Needs more seating!

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Nice little spot - Edit

My husband and I went to the Alley Cafe for breakfast on 2 July 2010 whilst on holiday. We both had the dinky breakfast, and it was plenty of food. We both liked it, though the tofu scramble was a little weird (too onion-y, and it probably could've used some nutritional yeast). It's conveniently located, very central, and it has a nice atmosphere (or did at 11 AM). The only problem we had was trying to get our check once we were finished. We had expected that we might want to order more but ended up not doing so (they didn't have much of a cake selection that early), and it took ages to get the check. But we'd definitely go back the next time we're in Nottingham.

Pros: good food, good location

Cons: slow service

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Fab place - Edit

My boyfriend and I stayed in here for 5 hours the other day! We had the vegan ice cream shakes, cakes, platters, more drinks, and more food when a friend arrived. He's not veggie but enjoyed it. It was a very laid back place and the staff were friendly and attentive - contrary to some of the comments on here. Great choice and range of food for vegans.

Pros: Good vegan choice, relaxed

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Pleasant little restaurant - Edit

Spent the Easter weekend in Nottingham. We asked a PSCO for a veggie place and he directed us to the Alley Cafe. They had just opened but still the food arrived quickly.

I had a yummy Hot Chocolate with Soy Milk and the tasty Tempeh Burger with potatoe wedges and salad, which was filling although I would have liked more of the salad. Staff said that I should say if I wanted more of the relish, and I had a second helping.

They guy behind the bar and the girl in the kitchen were both really welcoming.

There is a corner with some magazines and a handy guide about Veggie Guesthouses in the UK. Everything was well maintained and clean, incl the Ladies' restroom.

They played Reggae music which wasn't my cup of tea on that particular day but that's just me. A pleasant little restaurant. Go and visit!

Pros: friendly, tasty

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reminds me of Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz CA - Edit

This is a place for hipster vegetarians to lounge around on lumpy sofas eating sandwiches and drinking beer while looking at works by local artists and listening to hip music.

The food is pretty tasty, the prices are a little shocking but the portions fill you up, the staff are indifferent, and the average age of the clientele appears to be about 24. It's the kind of place where you expect people gather to compare stories of their summer classes at the Sorbonne while readjusting their designer organic fiber scarves.

The restaurant is a long narrow room, usually packed full, colorfully decorated, pleasant enough to be in. Love the fact that they promote local artists.

There's a Middle Eastern-style appetizer plate w/ hummus and such that is quite delicious, once you manage to get the staff to pay attention to you long enough to place your order.

Pros: all-veg food, tasty, good portions., Supports local artists in the community., Interesting stuff to look at while there

Cons: Indifferent staff., Crowded, can get quite noisy., Prices are a little steep.

1 Response

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madbrewer 22 Feb 2013 - Just to make the title of this review more clear: I learned the Saturn Cafe that currently exists in Santa Cruz is not the same as it was when I was there in the '80s. It used to be a funky old place on Mission St, not the industrial chic place downtown it appears to be now. Not that many people will have gone to both Alley Cafe in Nott'm and Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz...

Cool Place - Edit

Funky cafe bar restaurant serving great beers and veggie food in the centre of Nottingham. Good vegan choice and plenty of variety for all tastes. Can get a bit cramped (we had to have our vegan breakfast sitting at the bar) but the atmosphere was still great. They've got a great web site which makes the place look better than it actually is (a bit like Biosfera in Warsaw) but that's no criticism. I would highly recommend this place if you happen to be in Nottingham.

Pros: food, beers

Cons: size

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What's all the complaining?!? - Edit

I honestly do not understand the complaints about this place, they serve amazing food, the Happy Hemp burger is soo good!! and Huge! i often can't finish one; you get potato wedges and Alley's salsa included in the price. As for it being small, it is called the 'alley cafe', it doesnt claim to be a restaurant. Also, if you dont like waiting around for your food, i'd recomend phoning them before you get there to order it early as you could be waiting up to 45 minutes when you get there (although it's made fresh!). I often order it half an hour before i get there and it's always ready on time! I dont know many place that let you do that.
The pizza is also very very nice! You need to make sure you ask for vegan cheese though as it comes with Vegetarian cheese normally.
i go here all the time, i do admit it's pricey but if you want good food then you'll be willing to pay it.
I love the Alley Cafe!

Pros: amazing food, non smoking, wide variety

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I agree with Skinnydog - Edit

If your idea of ethical is buying ingredients from ASDA, your idea of a fresh fruit smoothie is concentrated tetrapac juice blended with ice, jam and a few frozen berries, and your idea of a salad is masses of iceberg lettuce, dried-out cucumber and grated carrot, you'll love it here. It's always busy though, due to the central location and the lack of any other veggie places nearby.

Pros: Easy to get to by bus/train, Lots of vegan options

Cons: prentends to be ethical, Everything microwaved, Unfriendly, 'cool' atmosphere

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cool people GET OUT! - Edit

Limited space taken up by "cool" people with one drink. Food use to be great for vegans but isn't as good now. Maybe us food loving vegans should just leave it to the posers who don't want to eat anyway

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I'm so surprised... - Edit

I honestly thought everyone would love this place as much as me. Yes, you do have to wait a while for your food, but I have always found it to be worth the wait. The staff are always, in my experience, friendly and polite, greeting you when you arrive and making sure to say goodbye. My particular favourites are the sandwich with the artichoke, any of he burgers but especially the hemp burger, garlic bread with caramelised onions and the sweet potato cakes. I always have a fresh fruit cocktail, and have never noticed them to include any ice! I go there whenever I want lunch in town.

Pros: good value, good drink choice

Cons: waiting time, crowded

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Alley Cafe, Nottingham - Edit

Lot's of good things about this place.

Firstly if you are vegan vegetarian then over 90% of the menu is for you. Vegan veggie items are clearly marked. They also offer products that are locally sourced, organic, fair trade and if you so desire gluten free. Staff were very pleasant when I was there.

With the ban on smoking in indoor public places with this place is now smoke free.

Pros: Nearly all vegan veggie, Helpful staff

Cons: Closed Sundays

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Alley Cafe - Edit

Well, the website looks great ! So we thought we'd give it a go...spent nearlly two hours trying to find the place..Everyone ( even the guy in the tourist info !)we asked told us the wrong alley ! It turned out the be the next one along ! It is loud and smokey as stated above, the portions are REALLY small ! Good job the hunger had warn off by the time we got there ! Very expensive, very noisy and very small ! Service was rather slow also !

Pros: pleasant decor

Cons: hard to find, noisy and super expensive, slow service

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Don't get much for your money - Edit

Went for a sandwich here. I thought that the one with brie, grapes and blueberry jam sounded great. When it came (after over 30 mins wait!), it looked huge on the plate, but on closer inspection it consisted of thick sliced bread packed with iceberg lettuce, grated carrot, supermarket tomatoes and cucumber, along with about 4 grapes cut in half, a thin spread of jam, and 3 tiny slivers of brie. Not exactly good value, at over £3!

Pros: city centre, fair-trade coffee

Cons: poor value, long wait for food, noisy and hectic

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