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There was a point when I thought this cafe didn't even exist, at one point I was going into Knutsford every few days but each time failed to find the cafe, it was only after scrutinising Google Maps that my boyfriend noticed there was only a sign visible on the street and the cafe itself was actually set back, in a courtyard funnily enough.
The cafe was down a short cobbled street and it already looked like a very inviting place with its very Victorian kind of feel, penny farthings in the courtyard and a sign outside saying "free tea if you come on your penny farthing". On closer inspection I noticed that the cafe itself houses a penny farthing museum, or more of an exhibition. As I walked into the cafe, with it's old fashioned feel and burning coal fire, as I looked around I noticed dozens of penny farthings and push bikes of various descriptions lining the rafters, along with a toy train set patrolling the edge of the ceiling.
Gluten free Ham Salad at Courtyard Cafe, Knutsford.
At first glance it doesn't appear that they do anything gluten free, but I'd heard various reports that they do so didn't let the lack of it being mentioned put me off. Settling in, my Mum asked if they did gluten free and we were met with a chorus of "yes, is there anything in particular you were looking at? We do gluten free bread, cakes..." I opted for a ham sandwich to start with but after a few minutes the waitress returned and informed us they hadn't had any bread delivered that morning and the owner was currently chasing the deliver up.
Having another look at the menu the waitress suggested maybe a ham salad, so I accepted that. A few minutes later a younger waitress came over from the kitchen and said "the salad dressing is gluten free, we just checked but would you like it on the salad or on the side?", I asked for it on the side as I'm not a big fan of dressings. When it came out about 5 minutes later, it was complete with dressing in a little jug and chutney on the side, as the lovely waitress put it on the table she said "the chutney is gluten free too". For a salad it was very nice, it had plenty of different flavours, not just old iceberg lettuce, it was mixed leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, ham, cress, dressing and chutney, all of which was fresh and tasty.
Gluten free orange and almond cake, one of two gluten free cakes available at Courtyard Cafe, Knutsford
Since the waitress mentioned gluten free cakes to start with who was I to resist trying some. Catching the attention of the owner we asked what the gluten free cake was, "we have two in today, chocolate brownie or orange and almond", I might be a chocoholic but I do get bored of chocolate brownie so decided to try the second option. All the cakes were in the middle of the cafe, I watched as he reached to a separate stand on the top away from the other cakes and picked up a different cake slice. The cake itself was so moist and soft, it really was a lovely piece of cake, full of flavour, I doubt anyone would have known it was gluten free unless told.
The place itself is delightful, the staff are happy to help in any way and full of knowledge, the food is tasty and fresh and the cafe itself is a pleasure to look round with its "museum" built in. No doubt I will be back, maybe they might even have a bread supply in by then.