I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love most about visiting somewhere is discovering some new (and hopefully delicious) gluten free food. It doesn’t even have to be much – a nice slice of cake or a good gf sandwich is enough to keep me happy. Give me both and I’m heady with excitement – which is exactly what happened when I was in Newcastle visiting friends recently.
My friends had been to Olive and Bean before and only had positive things to say about it. However, not being gluten free themselves, weren’t actually sure if they were any good to catering to coeliacs – but I needn’t have worried. Upon arrival, the waitress ran through the menu and I discovered that at least half the menu was, or could be adapted to be, gluten free. I then spied the HUGE cake counter, where not one, not two, but five different types of cake were gluten free – and I couldn’t take a seat fast enough.
There’s soup, salads, platters and sandwiches that are all available gluten free (and lots of vegetarian and vegan options, too), and so many varieties for each that it took an embarrassing amount of time to make up my mind. Sandwiches such as Crispy bacon, smoked cheddar and caramelised onion and Grilled halloumi, sun blush tomatoes and roast peppers were calling my name, while the giant salads I had seen pass my table (Scottish smoked salmon with avocado and olives in particular) all looked incredibly tempting. Eventually I settled on one of the six(!) sharing platters in order to get a bit of everything – the Italian Antipasto board with mozzarella, Parma ham, Napoli pepper salami, black and green olives, and salad garnish. It also comes with baguette which can be substituted for gluten free bread that, upon reassurance from my waitress, was grilled separately in the oven (and it definitely was, as one side was far crispier than the other!). The platter was a decent size, with the meats and creamy mozzarella both tasting wonderfully fresh, too.
Despite being rather full up, there was no way I could not have at least one of their divine looking gluten free cakes – Chocolate and caramel slabs, Salted caramel brownies and Cheesecake brownies were just a few on offer when I visited. The gluten free cakes were on a separate shelf together, and they use different tongs to handle them, too. After even more deliberation, I chose a Cherry and Almond Blondie to take away, and it was definitely a good decision. The crunchy and cracked top was generously covered with almond flakes, and was the perfect contrast to the thick and gooey cherry-filled layer underneath. For some reason I’ve never really had Blondies before, but after trying Olive and Bean’s, I’ll definitely be seeking them out more often.
As we left there was a sizeable queue for tables, and it’s easy to understand why – if you’re in Newcastle, then the line at Olive and Bean is definitely one worth waiting in.