Please read the end of the review for my star rating and conclusion.
Biscuit is a brand new 100% gluten free cafe in Branksome, near Poole, Dorset, which was opened three weeks ago by French native Stephanie. This cafe fills a niche in the market by being both completely gluten free and influenced by French cuisine.
The owner, Stephanie, is an IBD sufferer herself and as such understands the needs of many Free From customers, including of course Coeliacs but also those with IBS, those who need dairy free food and those who need low sugar food.
I must highlight one thing in this review – Biscuit is a very new business, finding its feet within the local community and adapting the menu to appeal to everyone.
My first impression of the cafe on walking in was very pleasant; whilst small, the decor is tasteful and relaxing, all of the tables and the counter were clean and unlike a lot of cafes, Biscuit smells lovely! Whilst this might seem a strange thing to notice about a cafe, its a factor that has affected my dining experience in other establishments and made my heightened my opinion of Biscuit.
All of these details added to the friendly and relaxed atmosphere that pervades this cafe. Stephanie and her staff were chatty with us and the other customers we saw come in and answer our many questions about ingredients (IBS forces me to do so!). I also impressed that the staff member who took our order told us assured us about their gluten free food unprompted and knew how to answer questions about dietary requirements or allergies.
We enjoyed sampling the menu, though we could not try everything due to our dietary requirements. Biscuit offers hot food as well as quiche, wraps, sandwiches and a selection of cakes.
We both tried a vegetarian adaptation of Biscuit’s Croque Madame and agreed it was lovely. The egg was cooked beautifully with a soft yolk which complimented the creamy Emmental cheese. It was accompanied by a nice side salad and dressing. It felt lovely to be able to sit down at a cafe and order hot food with no fear of cross contamination.
My boyfriend tried the scrambled eggs on toast on another occasion and found it similarly tasty, but the real stars of the show were the cakes.
The chocolate cake was incredibly moist and delicate although not as sweet as we were expecting. The chocolate and walnut brownie was similarly moist but with a far richer and sweeter chocolatey taste.
Our favourite sweet option by far were the chocolate chip cookies. They were light and chewy, melted in your mouth and were perfectly flavoured – some of the best gluten free cookies we’ve ever had.
You would not be able to tell that any of these sweet options were gluten free – in fact, Biscuit attracts a lot of non-Coeliacs due to its location opposite a retail park.
Whilst we enjoyed all of the food we tried, we both felt that the biggest thing this cafe lacks is range. It would be nice to see the French theme expanded with crepes (Jason added they should offer Nutella crepes, his favourite food!), croissants, mille-feuille or macarons as well as some additional savoury dishes. I must stress again how new this cafe is and so you must not let this put you off visiting – I know that Biscuit is open to suggestions and is experimenting with new menu additions even now.
The drinks menu was fairly standard and we enjoyed both coffee and hot chocolate, but each hot drink comes with a little homemade gluten free biscuit – inspired by petit beurre. This was a lovely touch, especially given the very reasonable prices.
This was a big feature for us – as students, it can be really difficult to get good gluten free food for a low price unless you make it yourself. Biscuit’s prices were a lot more reasonable than the other 100% gluten free cafes we have visited in the past, especially the ones in London. We thought that £2.50 (compared to £4-5 in other cafes we’ve been to) for a slice of cake was very affordable.
This cafe has a lot of potential. An independent, allergy aware, specialist eatery like this on the south coast will draw a lot of holiday makers to it as well as locals and the French twist will keep Coeliac customers coming back for more.
4 & 1/2 out of 5 stars for a 100% gluten free cafe with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. With an increase in range on the hot menu and more French foods, this cafe could easily be a 5 star eatery. Make sure to visit if you are in the area!
Check out Biscuit’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BiscuitTheGFC/
Read their menu here: https://www.biscuitthegfc.co.uk/menu
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