In the past few years, Gluten free and Sugar free coffee shops have been popping up all over the place, what with the rise in popularity of the diet and people becoming more health conscious it seems that its the ‘new thing’ at least for the moment.
We noticed two such stores on our travels around Islington, Upper street to be exact.
Now you would think that gluten free coffee shops can’t really be all that different from one another but there is where you are wrong.
We first tried:
The Artisan Gluten Free Bakery
Situated opposite Islington Town Hall, the Artisan Bakery is slotted in just between Cook and a Pizza Hut.
The first thing we both noticed was the price! It’s so expensive! But we were already inside and so we gave it a go. We ordered a hot chocolate, a mocha, a slice of carrot cake and a sandwich. All together that came to £19.00 which is ridiculous!
Him: As you gather we aren’t earning £1,000 a week, but it seems that is all they cater towards. When She asked how much the total of our order was, her question was met with a disapproving huff from the staff, as if it was rude to ask. Cleary it is that ‘If you need to ask, you can’t afford it’ attitude.
Not only were the prices exorbitant that but the furniture was very uncomfortable, this trend for narrow benches and old school chair is silly, they are clearly making enough to buy a few sensible chairs, but we figure they want to get rid of people as quickly as possible and uncomfortable furniture assures that.
And if you are able to suffer the prices and the bone crunching chairs then the staff are the last straw, so arrogant, offish and downright rude.
Her: The food was so expensive, that it can only be laughed at and not only that, but the staff were some of the rudest people I’ve ever met.
Situated near Highbury and islington station, Beyond bread is the newest addition to the area. Our very first thought was it looks expensive!
We had looked on the website to gauge the differences the two Café’s (hence this post) after our experience at TAB and found A Quiche [at BB] is £4.20, a slice of cake £3.50. Coffees at £2-2.50. So reasonable, no?
We walked in, looked at the food laid out in front of us, then up to the coffee board, and back to the labels in the cakes and thought ‘What the hell!’ one slice of cake was £8.50.
But we were there, the staff were eager – a little pushy really – and so we ordered two mochas = £7.50! The Barista shoved a menu in our face and informed us it was brunch time, like he expected us to order food. When we said no he gave a dirty look and seemed to forget about us. We took this moment to find a seat.
The interior is pleasant, a big window and garden area, lots of light, that grey, minimalist wall and dark wood tables look that is typical of any trendy coffee/restaurant of London.
We sat and chatted and waited.
Over Ten minutes later two glasses of mocha arrived at the hand of the pushy barista. Who clearly did not like me, he gave Her, her drink and practically dropped mine on the table and sneered at me again.
By now I was not happy with the place, I think the prices are OTT for no real reason other than they have to be that high to seem trendy. Unfortunately the coffees were – well they were quite good actually, – I half wanted them to be horrible so I could bitch some more, but no the Mocha tasted nice and were also hot (Shock Horror!) The couple opposite were eating the obligatory Avocado Toast and it did actually look nice, because it was 2 slices of GF bread, avocado and 2 poached eggs, Chilli flakes and salad and all for £7.50. Compared to the £8 at TAB for a single slice and little mashed Avocado.
Her: We can’t work out why the website prices are so much lower and more appealing, have they not bothered updating it? Or is it a ploy to get you in? We really thought the website menu showed someone really trying to be sensible and keep prices down, but no, the menu isn’t vast it’s just too expensive for what it is. The coffee was OK, but the prices and the staff were a general let down.
Him: Seriously – who can happily pays £10 for a sandwich, £15 for a burger and doesn’t think twice about ordering a slice of Red Velvet Cake at £9. At those prices lunch for two would easily set you back £100. you may as well go to The Ivy or Fifteen for that money.
Beyond Bread have two stores, one near Goodge Street and this one in Islington’s Upper Street.
Having been to The Artisan and found it seriously lacking, we were eager to try Beyond Bread, with it’s sensible prices, pleasant looking interior and (hopefully) nice staff. but they turned out, in fact to be what made them so very similar and so off putting.
Beyond Bread can make a decent coffee and the food looks good- if you can suffer the cost and the staff – it is the better of the two, but do you really need that much hassle for a sandwich? No we will not be returning and we will continue our search for good coffee, that is hot, big enough, hot and at a sensible price.
Do you have a good coffee shop for us to visit? Do they sell a worthwhile cup of Joe?! Let us know and maybe we will try it! Remember to check out our Pinterest and Instagram and follow us for new posts every Thursday.