Let’s start this by saying that I love everything about this cafè/bar!
There’s something about the romanticism and the quirkiness that lets your imagination run wild. You’re probably thinking ‘But it’s a cafe at a train station in Newark.’ Well, yes it is, but it’s so much more!
You will find Carriages Café in the beautiful and sympathetically restored Newark Castle Station. Convenient if you’re getting a train obviously as it literally stops right outside. So what makes it different?
Other than the delicious food and drink, the grade II listed station was built in the Italianate style in 1846 and when I say it’s been sympathetically restored to its former glory, it has, but with a twist. It is now a beautiful Victorian-styled cafe and bar with chandeliers, nostalgic steampunk decor, sash windows, and stone fireplaces.
Quirky Victorian-inspired curiosities and artwork bedeck the walls, making it almost museum-like in some respects. Every time you look around you notice something different.
If you can prise your eyes away from the decor, you’ll notice an equally enticing display of cakes. You can pop in for a slice with a coffee, treat yourself to lunch from the mouthwatering menu, or go for the full afternoon tea, which the setting lends itself to perfectly.
Obviously, there’s an air of nostalgia about the whole place. You can imagine ladies taking tea in days gone by or tear-soaked hankies as loved ones were waved off from the platform. You wouldn’t bat an eyelid if a steam train pulled in, however, the timeless nostalgia for the age is, I imagine, as close as you’re likely to get.
Picturesque as it is though, I imagine it could be a little spooky at night. Rumour has it there’s a resident ghost, which doesn’t surprise me.
Back to the food though. At present, the cafe opens 8am until 3pm Thurs-Sat. It’s a fairly simple menu that lends itself to its surroundings, though I imagine it could be built on and include themed nights in the future.
Breakfast offerings include local Doncaster butcher’s famous sausage or bacon rolls. A traditional English Breakfast ‘Carriages Breakfast’. Halloumi seems out of place, but welcome as part of the veggie option, which I’d definitely try. There’s also Eggs Benedict, Carriages own Gran-uesli, toasted tea cake, and freshly baked pastries on offer.
Lunch options include Quiche, Salad, Toasties and sandwiches, and Jacket potato.
We were kindly invited along to sample the afternoon tea. Brought to our table along with sausage rolls and meditarianian vegetable rolls, it looked almost too pretty to eat. Tasty as it is, afternoon tea can have the danger of looking a little beige. The addition of strawberries, pomegranate seeds, root vegetable crisps, and salad, really finished the plates off nicely, and almost made it healthy (I keep telling myself that, rather than accept the fact I could polish off the cakes and scones anytime)
Not wanting to disturb it, we began by tucking into the Sausage and veggie rolls. I loved the meditarainian vegetable rolls. They were fresh and flavorsome and not making the mistake of trying to be meat. So good to have something different like these with an afternoon tea.
Let’s move on to the sandwiches.
There was a great simple selection of ham, cheese with onion chutney, egg mayo, and simple cucumber, all freshly prepared.
The second tier of the platter held a selection of delicious homemade cakes. Ours included Sticky ginger cake, salted caramel popcorn cake, and a vanilla sponge. Finally of course, what afternoon tea would be complete without scones and with cream and jam.
At £14.95 the afternoon tea comes with unlimited tea or filter coffee, or you can add a mini bottle of prosecco for £5 per person. Vegan or special diets can also be catered for with 48 hours’ notice.
I would highly recommend Carriages for both the food and ambiance, it’s definitely good food with a different experience.
* Our visit was gifted but my views are my own
For more information visit: https://www.carriagesnewark.co.uk
By Tanya Louise