At a good friend's birthday party, pre-Christmas (and actually after going on my work do - if you're going to go out in the evening, why not make it a two for one?), she pointed out that I was overdue a visit to Nomad Bakery. It opened in October and certainly fit the bill for the kind of place I like - KneadWhine was borne out of a love of homemade bread, after all.
So, eager to ensure her expectations of me were met, we set a date to get together after wearing Roo out at Tumble Tots.
First impressions were great. The place follows a recent trend for mismatched furniture - it looks great. There are some really beautiful wooden tables providing a variety of sizes for patrons. I also really liked that they were differing heights. Roo is currently at that awkward size when she really doesn't want a highchair any more (although one was offered) and many tables are just too tall for her to sit comfortably and eat. I also really loved the sugar jar on our table - made from a recycled tin can. It's not a large location though, meaning it was difficult to take too many photos without it being obvious to the people working there.
I also really liked this box of toys. Roo didn't really investigate until near the end of our visit but my friend commented on how it contained one of the quietest children's toys in the world in the form of that rabbit. Definitely recommended!
The back wall is a huge chalkboard, covered with information about their produce and the specials. It's also beautiful, awash with images of their homemade bread. In front of it is an array of their cakes, on our visit, including chocolate and beetroot muffins, decorate your own gingerbread men and alfajores - more on these later. It was hard not to be distracted by them.
Okay, I'll be honest, I was totally distracted by them.
Service was spot on. We were served by Laura. She was attentive - making sure that our drinks order was taken quickly and bringing Roo's babycino quickly. While we were there, she was constantly on the move. She made suggestions about best toastie fillings and brought Roo some cold milk to go with it. As you can see, she really loved the little milk bottle it came in. They also noticed when she was getting a little bit restless and brought her colouring which she loved so much that she didn't want to stop when her food arrived.
She's definitely a blogger's child - she knows to wait for the photo to be taken!
So, on to the food. I was torn between the soup (sweet potato and roasted vegetable) or a toastie. I'm a bit souped out at the moment - I make soup for my three days at work, and I really felt given that it was a bakery, I ought to go for something where bread was the star. I followed the recommendation for the butterbean houmous and a suggestion to couple it with roasted veg but there were quite a few options I liked the look of. The toasties are specials, meaning that a different day would possibly bring a whole different list. Which is appealing.
It was also nice to see an array of veggie choices that weren't cheese. I like cheese. No, I love cheese, but sometimes it's nice to have other options. This was good - the sourdough bread was just the right level of chewy and the butterbean houmous definitely was a worthwhile choice. I'm not sure I would have missed the roasted vegetables if they weren't there - but I liked that they were root vegetables rather than peppers or courgettes.
On their chalkboard menu, slightly hidden behind the shelving, is their offering for children. It doesn't really explain what it is on the board which is a bit of a shame, as it's good.
It's a paint tray filled with little nibbles. Roo adored this, making a beeline for the salami, then the cheese and finally the apple and the tomatoes. Behind the cup is chunks of bread. Roo didn't really bother all that much with this, much to my dismay - it's just not something that she's all that bothered by. I loved that it came with water rather than squash, or juice, or something else. While she does have juice occasionally, I don't like that it's often the default option in kids' meals.
My friend opted for the soup - and I'll be honest, I was a bit jealous. She switched out the bread for roasted vegetables as she is more able to avoid the lure of bread than I am.
Then on to the cakes. I spent much of the meal trying to decide what cake to go for... but I'd pretty much been drawn to the alfajores from the beginning. A quick Google to check what it was and I was sold. It looks a bit like a cross between a Victoria sponge and a macaroon but it isn't. It's so much better. It's a dense little biscuit with dulce de leche in the middle.... and if you don't buy it for your child, expect that they will want more of it than the cake that you chose for them.
Next time I might delve in to the chocolate version.
I chose this chocolate and beetroot muffin. I thought she'd devour it, but she wasn't too bothered. When I tried it, I could see why - it was a little drier than I had been expecting and I think ultimately, a bit on the 'healthier' side of cakes - which didn't really work for her.
My friend, who is currently spending some of the week vegan, opted for a vegan coconut mocha tiffin and declared it good. Nomad are really good at considering a variety of dietary requirements.
Overall, our visit was a really good one and I reckon we'll be back.