“ 1A Cannon Court / Long Row West / Nottingham / Nottinghamshire / Telephone: 0115 955 1013 „
1a Cannon court,
Tel: +44 (0)115 955 1013
Mon - Tues: 11:00 - 18:00
Wed - Sat: 11:00 - 21:30
I'm not a vegetarian - although I've made several attempts to become one in the past , only to fall on my face at the merest sniff of a sausage. But I have several good veggie friends, and every so often we'll go out for a bit to eat in the city centre . Nottingham has a couple of good restaurants with vegetarian options, but these options are often limited, or simply mean that the meats been taken out and nothing added to replace it. So we like the Alley Café, an entirely vegetarian venue that also serves alcohol (always a bonus).
I first discovered the Alley Café through a friend, which is probably how 99% of the customers discovered it also - The Alley Café is not the easiest bar to find in the world - as the name implies, it's tucked away on a small side street in the City Centre, and you could easily just walk right past it if you didn't know where it was- in fact, I've walked past it many times even though I do know where it is.
Upon entering the building, you climb a small narrow flight of stairs to enter the café bar itself. Immediately you'll notice how cosy it is - I mean cosy both as comfortable, and as in small. It's tiny in fact, and can only really squeeze in about 20-39 people comfortably. There's a small sofa area, a modern bar with seating, and small tables with chairs scattered around the room. Each tables comes accompanied by a menu stylishly encased between two pieces of plywood - very strange, but very original. The smallness of the room creates a relaxed and intimate athmosphere during the day, but it can be a bit of a squeeze at night.
There's a window over the sofa that looks out over the alley, and a stack of magazines for customers to read. Decorated wooden beams hang overheard, and a mobile made out of pieces of white polystyrene swings and shifts in the breeze from the open window. A large mirror at one end of the room makes the room appear larger and lighter, while modern artworks from local artists, and relaxed music playing unobtrusively in the background give you the impression you're at some swanky art gallery.
Since the café itself is very small, service at the bar is quick, and as well as stocking all the usual booze, it also serves some that are harder to find in many bars and clubs - Such as Staropramen, Hoegaarden, Freedom, Bock, Grolsch, and Westons organic cider. As well as this, they have a list of cocktails at £6 - Tequila Sunrise, Bollywood Lassi, and Baileys Ice Cream Shake amongst others. The wine list is ever changing, as is the array of spirits, but there's always a good variety, and prices are very reasonable.
Food here is entirely vegetarian, with many dishes also being vegan, but don't let that put you off - its far from Tofu and Lentils here. The food is a mixture of traditional English fry-up's, Italian Antipasto, Mexican Burritos, Burgers, Sandwiches, and all sorts of other goodies.
There's also an ever changing specials board, which means there's always something new to try. Prices are very reasonable, between £2 and £6 per meal, and portions are generous. Food is prepared freshly on the premises, so on occasion it can take up to 15 minutes for your food to arrive, but its very rare to wait that long, and on most occasions my food has arrived within 10 minutes.
Below are a few of my favourite meals I've had here - meals I go back to time and again.
The Alley Café have a habit of naming all their sandwiches, all of which come with a choice of bread ( Granary, baguette, foccacia, wrap, bagel or rye), and all come with a side salad, and with thick slices of bread and generous fillings, are a bargain at £4.10. My favourites are:
Mildred- Smoke Tofu, Pesto, and Artichoke Heart
Len - Banana, Cashew nut butter, and Honey.
Bert- Brie, Blueberry jam, and grapes.
The Happy Hemp Burger
A chunky burger made from a mix of grains and hemp seeds, served with salad in a chunky granary roll, with a huge portion of potato wedges, mayo, ketchup, and a spicy relish. This burger is delicious with a sort of sweet, nutty taste, although the texture is somewhat different from my usual big Mac, the wedges are crisp outside and soft inside, and the salad is never limp. You can add cheese for an extra 70p (and there's a choice between regular, low fat, and vegan cheese) and for £5.50 it's a very generous portion, and fills me up for hours.
Oriental Tofu Orbs
The veggie variant of sweet and sour chicken balls, these tofu balls are flavoured with lemongrass, ginger, chilli and garlic, coated in sesame seeds, and served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. The flavours are just explosive, and you get plenty of orbs, if like me, you have friends that are always stealing bits of your meal.
The café is always clean, and the single toilet, although small, is always spotless and smells lovely. The only real down points to the café are the fact that there is no wheelchair access, and the small size can result in it feeling a little claustrophobic at night on Fridays and Saturdays, which is a shame because at weekends, they have live local DJs playing a selection of Jazz, afro beat, and chill-out music, which makes for a pleasant atmosphere if it wasn't so crowded.
In conclusion, I would heartily recommend the Alley Cafe - the food is good, service is fast and friendly, the athmosphere is pleasant and comfortable, and the value for money is excellent.
I am however deducting one star for the combined facts that children aren't allowed, and that theres no disabled access.
Four Stars! Thanks for reading :)
This cafe-bar is fully vegetarian restaurant offering many vegan options.