The Cartwheel Cafe is located on Lower Pavement, cheekily positioned right next to the popular Thea Caffea. Not to be intimidated by the competition, Cartwheel are forging their own reputation for unique coffee as well as a food menu that serves brunch and sandwiches.
We visited late one Saturday morning and needed some brunch to line our bellies before going to Nottingham Beer Festival. Emily ordered tea while I was convinced to go for one of Cartwheel’s house-brewed, pour over coffees. The waitress helpfully recommended a coffee with hints of passion fruit and berries.
I’m no coffee connoisseur but even I could tell that this coffee was amazing. I only ever drink black coffee but often find it can be really bitter, however the taste of this coffee was much subtler and tastier than anything Starbucks could dream of serving and as smooth as you like. The hints of fruit really stood out and I’m already looking forward to returning to try the other varieties. The only problem with the pour-over method is that it does take a while to prepare. Hence the drinks arriving at our table after the food – a first for us!
We both chose brunch from the customisable ‘eggs and sides’ menu. This design-your-own style brunch offers 2 eggs (cooked however you wish) on your choice of bread or pancake served with 2 sides of your choice for £9.45. I opted for fried eggs served on rye bread with a sausage patty and wild mushrooms while Emily ordered poached eggs on sourdough with sautéed kale and maple and beetroot cured salmon.
Both sets of eggs were perfectly cooked, oozing yolky goodness upon penetration. The sausage patty was advertised as being flavoured with chorizo, but I couldn’t taste it (Emily could). The patty itself was a little dry, so the runny egg did a good job of moistening it up. The rye bread was slightly toasted and its nutty flavour worked really well with the rest of the ingredients. The real star of the dish though were the wild mushrooms. I’ve always been a fun guy (lol), but find a lot of cooked shrooms taste bland – these little buggers were really tasty. There were a few different varieties (although I’m not knowledgeable to tell you what they were). There were tall, thin stringy ones to short ones that looked like the type of mushrooms that I’d take for recreational purposes in my youth. All of them tasted great though and added a real variety of flavour. Top marks.
Emily’s dish was as equally impressive. Always on the look out for healthy options, the eggs and sides menu offered plenty. The kale was cooked well, still a little al dente, with good flavour. The smoked salmon was plentiful and tasty though we’re not sure we could taste beetroot or maple – it had an exciting purple colour though! Eggs were delicious and the English breakfast tea was perfect.
So, we were really impressed by the food here and it is definitely our new favourite brunch spot. It may be a bit too hipster for some (the coffee was served in a glass jug that looked like a medical flask, which is then poured into trendy earthenware mugs without handles) but when the tastes are as good as they are you can forgive them for this. There were small touches that show Cartwheel really care and elevated our experience to amazing. For example, the tap water came with chilled glasses and filled with fresh cucumber and lemon – where else does that?! We will definitely be back to try more eggs and sides combinations.
In summary, amazing coffee (that was definitely worth the wait) and a wheely good brunch (soz)
Emily & Stuart