Since Carriages opened, I have eaten there a couple of times, usually for a quick lunch after visiting Newark Sports & Fitness Centre for a few rounds of badminton. Which I suck at. Carriages is a relatively new café and restaurant situated at Newark train station and their interior boasts a steampunk-esque vibe which proudly shows off their unique personality and cleverly gives you a look into the past whilst offering a modern twist. If you are Nottingham based, you may remember a café in town just around the corner from the train station on Carrington Street called The Picnic Basket, and if you do remember it, you will remember how amazing their filled rolls (cobs) were! Well, the same brilliant and wonderful people behind that local town favourite, now own Carriages, and have completely put their stamp on Newark and brought this renovated platform building in to its own.
As I said, I have eaten at Carriages a couple of times, but this post is on my most recent visit, where in actual fact I didn’t eat in, but dined al-fresco, courtesy of their picnic service! I saw on their Instagram page- which if you aren’t following right now, stop what you are doing, get off this page and go follow them- that they had started offering a picnic service in where you could call up the day before to place your order, collect the next day and enjoy a day outside and let Carriages come with you! Simple right?
Now since me and Chris had planned to go to Rutland water and cycle the peninsular (28 miles) we knew we had to eat well, and the thought of getting in the car and driving around on an empty stomach in hopes of finding good food seemed silly when Carriages were just a phone call away. I rang the day before and spoke to the lovely Wendy, who took all my details, noted that I don’t eat meat and asked if we had any particular preferences when it came to fillings and that was that. All done. Easy. Wendy had my phone number, and kept me updated by text with pricing, and when my order would be ready to collect. So, the next day when we popped in to grab our basket, I was really excited, I met Wendy, who presented me with this GORGEOUS case that looked like something Donald Pleasance would sport in The Great Escape. Who Incidentally, FUN FACT: Wendy is related to!
Not only did we have this huge case of food, but Wendy pointed me in the direction of the drinks fridge and displays of crisps so I could pick the flavours we would like best. I am in no way a ‘brand snob’ you know how some people won’t drink cola, only Coke etc. That being said, when I saw that Carriages stock Fentimens drinks I heard the inner voice go ‘yesssss’ so I grabbed a couple of ginger beer’s and Piper’s crisps- who are also a fairly local brand, and supply places such as the Chatsworth estate and often show up at Food fairs in the east midlands. Wendy helped me out to the car with the picnic suitcase and we were off.
Okay so it is a HOT day, we cycled the full loop AND peninsular, the sun is beating down and we are like… thank all that is good with the world that we planned ahead. We retrieved our picnic from the cooler in the boot of Chris’s car, found a nice spot on the bank by the lake and opened up our treasure haul. It was absolutely endless?! I start working my way through the layers and couldn’t believe how much stuff Carriages had managed to fit inside this beautiful case. We each had a sandwich, sausage/veggie roll, gorgeous homemade savoury pastries, brownies, salads, ginger cake, crisps, scones with jam and cream, prosecco and our fentimens’ drinks. I mean, we were speechless. I cannot express just how impressed we were with the value for money that we had been presented with.
Not only were we impressed with the amount of food we had, but the quality was second to none, the bread alone that the sandwiches were made with was so tasty and Wendy had ensured we both got fillings to suit our diets – I had a lovely hummus and roast vegetable sandwich and it was divine! The Veggie Roll was incredible and completely unexpected. Teamed with the beautiful homemade cakes and BONUS scones, we were absolutely loving it! All washed down with a bitta’ fizz & a ginger beer. Bliss. Not only that but all of the packaging Carriages use is from Vegware – a compostable food packaging manufacturer, making Carriages not just good for your gut, but also the planet! They had everything: Cups for our bubbly, salt and pepper pots, tubs for the cream and jam – the lot!
I cannot recommend trying out Carriages enough, whether that be in house, or like me, taking advantage of their picnic/to go service. They are literally right next to a train station – The world is at your feet, after filling your boots, go make a day of it! I know I am banging on about them quite a bit but you need to go see for yourself – truly wonderful staff, who will go above and beyond, amazing homemade food, carefully prepared with your needs in mind, and delivered to you in sustainable packaging for an extremely reasonable price. What more could anyone possibly want?
If you head to their website you will see that they also offer a community café, working with FareShare, where once a week they offer a three-course meal… for just £3! In a bid to cut down on food waste and feed those a little less fortunate! You can also donate a meal for someone who otherwise can’t afford to get a meal themselves. An amazing initiative that just shows that Carriages are leading the way in setting an example for not just providing great tasting, top quality food, but sustainable, environmentally-friendly, hunger fighting services that I hope inspires other cafes and restaurants to follow suit.