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Nottingham is nearly as bad as Manchester when it comes to independent gluten free dining, if you want chain you have some choice but if you want something different, it is hard to find somewhere.
Somewhere that did catch my attention though was a cafe on the corner of a road that seemed to head out of the main part of the city, on the window is a massive "we offer gluten free" sign. Something that will never fail to grab my attention.
Sweet chilli prawns on toasted gluten free bread at Hartleys Coffee and Sandwich Shop, Nottingham
Walking in it does look like any other sandwich bar, however something that immediately caught my attention was the gluten free ciabatta and bread (Sainsbury's brand if I am not mistaken by the packaging) under the counter at the back, piles of it, obviously they are popular for their gluten free if they stock this much, especially on show, a lot of places freeze and just defrost a few slices when needed.
All the sandwich filling options are given on a board behind the sandwich bar, the board states that all can be done gluten free and there is also dairy free cheese available. There was a lot of variety on the boards, from your standard fillings to something a little different. I opted for sweet chilli prawns after checking with the staff that the sweet chilli sauce was gluten free, the lovely server told me it was and wrote down on her notepad that it was to be a gluten free sandwich.
Gluten free coffee and walnut cake made by Bakes Just 4 U, sold at Hartleys Coffee and Sandwich Shop, Nottingham
On this particular day it wasn't overly busy although there was a steady flow of people coming and going; I watched a lady making sandwiches right behind the sandwich bar and just hoped that they weren't going to do mine in the same place. I watched and watched as they completed a few other orders and then I saw the lady disappear in the back, come back and grab the gluten free bread. Surely this had to be mine she was making now, I continued to watch as she walked over to a separate area to the side of the sandwich bar, and even smiled to myself when I noticed the separate toaster. Gluten free knowledge at it's best.
A few minutes later I was served my sandwich and I must say it was lovely, sweet chilli prawns isn't something you see very often. There was a little display of gluten free cakes by the counter too so I decided to have one of those to, these weren't homemade like some of the other cakes but were bought in off a local gluten free cake maker.
Another nice note I saw on one of the boards was that they could make any of the drinks with soya milk, something you see in some cafes but not enough. Overall it was lovely, tasty food and knowledgeable staff, ideal when you just want a sandwich while out shopping, more towns and cities should have a place like this.