Cafe Sola, Thames

My sincere apologies for not posting earlier but this post has been building up for a while. We’ve been doing our regular shopping in Thames and at the Thames Saturday Market for over a year now and almost every week without fail stop in here. This post has most recently been prompted by the travel section of the NZ Herald a few months back which ran a local travel feature about Thames and wrote off Cafe Sola as the cafe for if you’re feeling like vegetarian !!! That’s right, 3 !’s. True, it is a meat free establishment, but I know someone who hadn’t realised that until the Herald pointed it out. So, where to start? At the beginning of course!

The beginning for me and cafes is the cabinet food- if I have to stand in line to wait to ask whether they can safely feed me I quickly lose the will to spend my money and especially if you go on a weekend, you will have to wait in a (short line) at Sola. They always have at least one cake, and several delectable items available- friands, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies (highly recommended), chocolate brownie, Turkish delight, and an Aztec biscuit (fruity and nutty) were this weekends offerings. All are helpfully marked with a colour coded sticker system which is explained on the wall behind the counter (it’s big, you can’t miss it). They also have savory and sweet gluten free muffins- they store them frozen so they aren’t on display except on a blackboard. I have never tried this, but I am certain in a blind test you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the gluten and non-gluten varieties. They are light and fluffy and sometimes it is a real struggle between the sweet, savory or getting both.

And what about the main event?  Some of the items are handily displayed in another part of the cabinet but are also on the chalkboard menu. I think I have tried everything- risotto cakes, paninis, enchiladas, nachoes and have had several of their other items with gluten free toast in place of place of their regular toast choice. Most recently I found myself ordering the creamy mushrooms on toast- this was a surprise to me because I don’t like mushrooms. I suspect that there is malt vinegar is involved in the sauce so coeliacs check first, but I surprised myself by really liking them and have ordered them a couple of times since (fortunately my gluten intolerance only extends so far).

I’ve already confessed on this blog to not being a coffee drinker. I can happily report that the coffee drinkers and snobs amongst us are impressed with Sola, and that the other beverage options are many and varied.

So, at the risk of gushing about this place the atmosphere is always great and I love the staff. They are always fantastic and friendly. You really get the impression that these guys enjoy their jobs. It’s not just about appreciating the custom either- saying that would be taking away from what looks like a passion to do a job well.

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