The restaurant had been closed for nearly four months for what was described as a major refurbishment. I had a voucher for a free meal, so went to see how it had changed or improved.
To be honest, the answer is “not a lot’’ and it wasn’t obvious what they had done, apart from redecorate and instal a flat screen TV showing a video connected with one of the exhibitions in the church. No-one was watching this…
It is a pleasant light and airy space with grey walls and dark grey tables with a mix of grey and white chairs. The only colour is from the huge bright scarlet light shades. There is plenty of space between the tables and the whole building is accessible for wheelchairs. Toilets are good and there is a disabled toilet.
There is a small counter where you place your orders and a side table to pick up cutlery, sauces etc.
Staff are pleasant and helpful but the counter service can be very slow, especially if they are busy. It can then be quite a long wait for the meal to appear (25 minutes for mine today). This isn’t the place to come if you are in a hurry.
It has an extensive menu of sandwiches, baguettes, panini and jacket potatoes, with a choice of fillings and all competitively priced. The specials board changes regularly and hot meals are served between 11.30-2. Today the choice was salmon fishcakes, two choices of curry, red Leicester and spinach macaroni cheese, smoked salmon salad, or cottage pie and chips.
There is a selection of tray bakes which today including caramel slice, Bakewell slice, coconut and raspberry slice and flapjack. Cakes included gluten free carrot cake, angel speckle cake and Alabama chocolate fudge cake. There are also scones.
I decided on chicken Jalfrezi with pilau rice followed by a slice of carrot cake.
The chicken jalfrezi was piping hot and was served in a small white dish surrounded by turmeric flavoured pilau rice. There was plenty of chicken breast in a tomato and basil sauce with red and green peppers. It was well flavoured with chilli. It was a good size serving and I enjoyed it. My only criticism would be that some of the pieces of chicken could have done with a bit longer cooking and the pilau rice a bit less.
The gluten free carrot cake was sheer greed but justified on grounds of research. There were two layers of light moist sponge which was fairly heavily spiced and with small pieces of pine nut kernels. It came with a thick cream cheese filling and topping which was quite rich. Fortunately it wasn’t too large a slice…
This came to a total of £7.85 which I felt was good value for what I had. The cafe is popular with oldies and also mothers with small children. It has a good and cheap children’s menu and provides high chairs. It is an attractive place to eat and probably the best place to choose in this part of town.
I did go to have a look at the current exhibition, but again it was too esoteric for me.