IT’S rare that you get to feed both your head and your belly when you go to a restaurant but that’s exactly how my wife and I felt after we’d popped into Gladstone Library’s Food For Thought cafe.
We were planning a Sunday walk around Hawarden Castle and as advised we rang ahead to book a table only to be told the cafe was full up.
Thankfully we didn’t take no for an answer and having parked outside the beautiful building, my wife and I were quickly shown to a table along with our two children, aged two and four.
It was a lovely sunny day and the sun streamed through the bistro-style room, which covers about 50 diners.
Unsurprisingly there are many nods to the building’s literary surroundings, with the vintage Penguin book covers hanging on the wall a lovely touch.
The presence of lots of clever looking people discussing important things or reading newspapers only heightened the impression this was the place to be for any wannabe intellectual on a Sunday afternoon.
Ideal if you’ve got hungry kids, the food is served canteen style, meaning we were all sat back at our seats with are meals on trays within minutes.
If that all sounds a bit school dinners, fear not because the food on offer was quality, locally sourced and freshly cooked.
My roast beef was cooked to perfection and I could certainly taste the fact it was in fact Welsh Celtic Pride meat, which carries the coveted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, awarded to food products that have full traceability within their country of origin.
The wife’s vegetarian version was equally delicious and she remarked how fresh and gorgeously seasoned the roasted vegetables were.
The staff busied around the children making them feel welcome (not always the case – especially in a library) and they loved their children’s afternoon tea, which included a glass of fruit juice or milk, a chocolate chip cookie and selection of finger sandwiches. At only £3.50 it was an absolute steal.
After we’d finished our food we grabbed our drinks and stepped out into the sunshine to relax at one of the cafe’s outdoor tables, while the children excitedly explored the trees and gardens.
With a walk around the castle to come, it was the perfect way to start a perfect afternoon.