MEAL REVIEW: The Strawberry Lounge, Narrowgate, Alnwick

White chocolate and raspberry scone at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.
White chocolate and raspberry scone at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

A favourite with people of all ages, the Strawberry Lounge has always seemed to have a good reputation. And we certainly weren’t let down.

Tucked away in an alley off Narrowgate, you would be forgiven for not knowing where the coffee shop is. But coffee shop doesn’t really do it justice.

Kids toastie at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

Kids toastie at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

The Strawberry Lounge really is a hidden gem, in my opinion, and an extremely affordable one at that. Home-made food, a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and speedy service all add to its attributes. The only problem is that it isn’t big enough!

Now I say that you might not know where it is, but the people of Alnwick certainly know how to find it. We arrived just after midday and got the last table – that is testament enough. But dozens of people were turned away while we were there, because there was no space. There isn’t even room to fit in another table – even if they wanted to – as the rooms are packed.

But I think that adds to its charm. As you go in to the Strawberry Lounge, there is a small section with three tables, before you get to the counter, which then leads through to another seating area. And for a small venue, there is a lot of choice on the menu. Alongside the main offerings of paninis, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and salads, there is also a specials board (all priced at £3.95) with dishes such as fishcakes, quiche and mackerel. There is also a selection of cakes and bakes on offer.

I opted for the cheese and tomato quiche while my husband chose the salmon fishcakes. And as we had the toddler in tow, we chose half a cheese and tomato toastie for her (£1.50).

Bucket of chips at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

Bucket of chips at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

The Strawberry Lounge also prides itself on amazing smoothies and while I just opted for a diet coke, my husband chose a banana split variety.

No sooner had we ordered than the food was there, hot and delicious. I was given a huge chunk of quiche, which was clearly home-made and had a rustic look about it. Served with a big salad, which also included pieces of fruit, and a handful of crisps, it had lovely crisp pastry and a delicious, soft, cheesy filling, just what I needed to warm up on a cold Saturday.

The fishcakes, also home-made, went down well opposite and were full of fish. They also came with a nice salad. His smoothie also went down well.

Served on a plastic plate, which is always a bonus, the little one’s toastie was great. And she was also given another plate of fresh fruit which was a lovely added touch.

Cheese and tomato quiche at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

Cheese and tomato quiche at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

We also shared a bucket of chips (£2.50), which did come in a silver bucket, filled to the brim. We didn’t even have to ask for condiments as they are all out on the sides - another nice touch.

Another thing that the place is renowned for is its scones. And while our mains filled us up, after seeing them in the counter we couldn’t resist. They are no ordinary scones. Yes, you can get a fruit or cheese one.But you can also choose berry and white chocolate, chilli and cheese or other delicious flavours.

We went for a cherry and dark chocolate and a raspberry and white chocolate at £1.20 each. And having seen the amazing milkshakes that were coming out of kitchen I opted for a raspberry one. Nothing disappointed us.

The scones arrived with a slab of butter and bowl of jam each. They were at the perfect temperature and the chocolate was melted, but not too much.

Salmon fishcakes at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

Salmon fishcakes at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

The milkshake was delicious, topped with whipped cream, marshmallows and sweeties, although I didn’t get much of it, as my daughter was extremely keen on it.

Everything about the Strawberry Lounge was great. The owners clearly take pride in all that they make and serve and it is so nice to see a business doing well.

I know they probably don’t like having to turn away customers, but it just proves that they have something special.

And who could complain at a decent-sized main meal for £3.95? We will definitely be back, even if it’s just for a scone and a milkshake.

My only criticism is that the toilet was freezing.

NOT JUST SIT-IN YOU CAN TAKE IT AWAY AS WELL

Kids fruit at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

Kids fruit at the Strawberry Lounge, Alnwick.

While the Strawberry Lounge does a roaring trade with sit-in customers, it also provides a take-away service.

All of the dishes it offers can be bought to eat out. It is a popular option for students, as it is so affordable, and while we were there, a number of take-out orders were also being made.

The coffee shop is also all on one level which makes it easy for wheelchairs and pushchairs to access and there are baby-changing facilities in the toilet.

SELECTION FROM THE MENU

SNACKS

Muffin.............................................80p

Toast...............................................90p

Teacake.............................................£1

Soup of the day............................£3.30

TOASTED SANDWICHES

Cheese.........................................£2.50

Ham and tomato.........................£2.95

PANINI

BBQ chicken and mozzarella.....£3.95

Tuna melt.....................................£3.95

Ham and cheddar...................... £3.50

SANDWICHES/JACKET POTATOES AND WRAPS

Cheese.........................................£2.75

Sweet chilli chicken salad..........£3.95

Ham and egg mayo.....................£3.45

SMOOTHIES

A selection between £2.25 and £2.50

MILKSHAKES

All at £1.75

STAR RATINGS (OUT OF 10)

Quality of food 8

Choice 8

Vegetarian choice 8

Value for money 9

Atmosphere 8

Service 9

Children catered for 9

Toilet for disabled Yes

Access for disabled 9

Overall rating 8

VERDICT: A hidden gem that hits the spot on all fronts.

CONTACT: 07845 216810 or search for The Strawberry Lounge on Facebook.