Stumbled across the sweetest independent outdoor caff near Ally Pally during a wintry amble this afternoon. And the people there could show your cafe chains more than a thing or two about allergy-friendly provision. About friendly, full-stop, come to think of it.
The Italian-run Grove Cafe sits on the slope of a grassy hill in The Grove bit of Alexandra Park, looking out over trees and rooftops. It’s a tiny, slightly ramshackle building that, on a freezing day like today, has the cosy air of a chalet with its wood panelling, patio heaters and blankets tucked on chairs. Italian and Spanish ballads pipe from outdoor speakers and brightly coloured jars of straws, faded photos of Sofia Loren and other odds and ends jostle against the windows and plaster the doors.
The chalkboard menu offers everything a family-friendly cafe should: toasted sandwiches, pasta dishes, ice creams, soups and jackets. And when asked how the potatoes are cooked, given our allergic Sidney, the man couldn’t have been more helpful.
Not only are the spuds baked in nothing but their skins but, on request, the cafe serves up gluten free bread and wheat free pasta and the guy (who I guess must be the Ciro mentioned here; I really should have asked his name) said he’d be perfectly happy to heat up anything we might bring ourselves for Sid. How lovely is that?
There’s a football behind the counter for kids to kick about on the grass outside…
…and our straightfaced tot finally cracked a smile after being treated to a ditty about Naples and given a little red car to tinker with while we drank our tea. When we attempted to wrestle it from his grip as we left, prompting melodramatic tears, the chap said we could keep it and bring it back next time. Which we will, very soon.
Grove Cafe, The Grove, Alexandra Park, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7BA
5 thoughts on “Allergy-Friendly Eatery: The Grove Cafe, Alexandra Palace”
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its lovely to see places making an effort for the minority of us. If we find any will update you.
Fine write-up! I am also going to write a blog post relating to this… thanks a lot
Hi I am glad there is a place to eat that caters to people with allergies. However I am very disappointed with the owner, who treated me so rudely.
Just yesterday while I attended a ‘pushy pram mums’ fitness group, II walked past the cafe and asked if I could fill my water bottle with tap water. As the man behind the counter reached for my bottle, the Italian owner shouted at me saying that me and my exercise friends “take advantage of the cafe” by trying to get free water and use the toilets, while nothing in life is free and he will only SELL me water but not give me tap water. It is the first time in my life that a place of hospitality refuses to fill a water bottle up with ‘free’ tap water. What’s more, if he were kind and polite I was planning to have a meal there and spend money. Now I will never go there and I will tell everyone I know about how obnoxious and greedy the owner is. By trying to make a few pounds selling me a drink, he has in fact lost potential customers.
The instructor of the fitness group agreed with me and said that due to his rude attitude in general she now ends the class outside the cafe by the lake to have a coffee etc, and not outside the Grove as she used to. With 10+ people in the fitness group, there is so much potential to make money from us. What a shame for the Grove. 😦
i dont think you are right to talk like that about this person i`ve known Ciro for many years and i`ve been working in that little coffe shop as well, and yes he might seem rude sometime but darling he is italian not rude and none of you have never been in there for anything else but toilet and water so no u are not right to talk like that! He is paying for that water as you are paying for the water you have at home he has bills to cover as well and if everyone gets free drinks there where is the business?