Carriages Cafe & Bar is located at Newark Station, basically on the platform. If you love watching the trains then you are going to love this place as they stop outside your window if you get the right table.
It is a grade II listed station and the cafe itself is in a lovely building with high ceilings and lots of light. They have decorated the place out in a Victorian style and there are loads of quirky pieces of ephemera all around the room.
At the moment it is all set up for social distancing and was very well organised, with the track and trace in place, sanitisers everywhere and the tables set far enough away to feel comfortable.
Today while we were in Newark we drove by to see if they had re-opened and we were delighted to see that they had so we stopped off for a spot of lunch, as we do
I had read a lot of great things about Carriages and had meant to come and try them out earlier in the year before all this Covid stuff happened.
The Lunch Menu at Carriages Cafe & Bar was simple enough with the options broken down to be Salad, Toasties & Sandwiches, and Jacket Potatoes. There was another option for soup and a sandwich for £7.95 but you need a winning combination that you love for that and today the soup on offer was not one for me (another day maybe, ps I just like tomato cos I am a bit common like that)
We were basically choosing from the Toasties & Sandwiches section of the menu and I was straight in ordering the Club Sandwich which is one of my default choices when put in this kind of situation. Mother was all over the Toasties picking out the one with ham and cheese (and tomato)
Cup of tea and a Cup of coffee and we were all set to go
CLIB SANDWICH AND SALAD
The Club sandwich was described on the menu as “Carriages Club – chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato and leaves” for £7.95. There was a choice of breads between ‘granary or white bloomer‘ and I took the less healthier option asking for white bloomer. I figured it was getting toasted and that the granary might be a bit harder
The sandwich also came with a small pot of coleslaw and a handful of those posh crisps made out of vegetables, basically not crisps at all but crisp-like. I kind of liked them as they were a bit different. I did try the coleslaw and it was quite nice better than most places. I usually leave it anyway, I was just making an effort to join in.
Close up this was one hell of a big sandwich stack! It looked big from a distance as it was being carried over to the table, but once it was here and in my face I was really uncertain if I could get my mouth around it to take a big bite.
It is not a spoiler alert to say that I had no trouble in the end. The bread was toasted lightly enough so that it was more of a chew than a crunch and was soft enough to squeeze into my mouth.
There was plenty of chicken and bacon inside that double decker stack and enough mayo and juice from the tomato to keep it all moist. I was thoroughly enjoying eating this club sandwich and it was one of the best that I have had for a while.
I know that on first sight it might look like a lot of bread, and to be fair it was a lot of bread. It is a good job that this side of the pond we seem to love the actual bread more than the fillings. I was happy to say that on this occasion both were worth the effort of eating.
Officially the menu detailed the ham, cheese, and tomato toastie as “Toasted – Butcher’s Best ham, cheddar cheese and tomato” and to be fair that description conjured up a better image and one worthy of the £6.95 price tag. Which overall was really very good value based on the quality and also the establishment.
The Toastie also came with a green salad, some of those vegetable crisps and a pot of that house coleslaw. I was really loving the look of the golden toasted bread and could see the cheese oozing gently from the edges of the sandwich. Mmm yum!
This was not a sandwich for someone in a hurry, you had to bide your time for a moment so that it cooled down enough to eat safely. I always find that the tomato in a grilled cheese sandwich can be volcanic in temperature and that was the case here. Not a problem though as we had plenty of time to eat our lunch and anyway I would rather have my food hot than lukewarm.
Both sandwiches were excellent and gave us plenty of food for thought for a return visit next time we are in Newark
I am hoping that on our next visit to Carriages Cafe & Bar we might make it here in time to order a breakfast which stops serving at 11.30am.
I suspect that the commoner side of me will be ordering a “Carriages Breakfast” of ‘sausage, bacon, egg, toast, tomato, mushrooms and beans‘ purely for comparison with other breakfasts I have eaten while researching for the blog.
If I was feeling a little fancier on that day I may well get the Eggs Benedict but I imagine that may be one for a different day
Head for the station and turn towards Waitrose and you will find them. Plenty of parking outside.
It really is a lovely place to dine at even in these more restrictive times. The staff and service was great and I really look forward to being able to meet them again, both soon and also when we are able to be more relaxed as well, hopefully in the nearer future as opposed to some distant time.
I like that they run a Community Cafe and have been doing so for over two years. It was great to read on their website that they have continued to supply meals online as well during Covid.
It is linked to the Fairshare charity and they aim to “provide a delicious three course meal, for only £3.00, made using surplus supermarket produce that may have been mis-labelled, over-ordered, etc and would previously have been thrown away “
Really excellent to read about local community activities such as these!