As Rich is from Shropshire we regularly visit the other half of the family in Newport (not the Welsh one!), but we haven’t been able to visit Shrewsbury for probably well over a year, purely due to time constraints when visiting the family.
Last week on Twitter I came across O’Joy Wellness on Twitter (formally known as Optimum Joy for the locals reading this) that has recently had a relaunch. As well as offering complementary and alternative therapies in the space upstairs, downstairs (and just off the very popular Wyle Cop) is the O’Joy Bistro offering an entire vegan menu.
Although I’m not a vegan, I often find that where there are vegan options on a menu there are usually gluten free ones, too so I thought I’d tweet them to ask the question. To my delight co-owner Nick Knowles confirmed that there are gluten free options! I then spoke to fellow owner Becky who was able to provide me with the current menu (see below).
Although gluten free options aren’t specifically highlighted on the menu, I was advised that I would be able to have ‘everything but the haggis, pittas, bread and butter pudding, and brownie’.
This all sounded great, so we arranged to have a day out in Shrewsbury this weekend and pop in for a visit.
Unfortunately we didn’t get in to Shrewsbury until mid afternoon due to bad traffic on the drive up, but it didn’t take us long to find O’Joy in a great location nestled at the top of Wyle Cop. It was a bit too early for dinner when we arrived, so we opted to have some drinks and cakes instead.
I’m very much into my hot chocolates at the moment (I’d like to say it’s one of my pregnancy cravings but I just love hot chocolate!) so I was very keen to try one of these, but as always I have to check that it is definitely gluten free. The staff were very accommodating and immediately went and checked the packaging for me. Fortunately all was good, so this was ordered along with some cups of tea for my in-laws and a coffee for Rich.
Obviously the main reason behind my visit was to try the food, so we also ordered a couple of slices of cake, one slice of the carrot cake (that was the one I was eyeing up!) and one slice of the chocolate cake.
Whilst we were waiting for these to arrive it was good opportunity to check out the bistro’s interior. It has a very rustic feel with a minimalist approach, aside from the display of herbs on one of the walls (we assumed that these were fresh herbs for use in the meals, but as we were sat on the other side of the room, we couldn’t actually confirm that!). It’s not a cosy feeling bistro, but I don’t feel that it needs to be as it’s not claiming to be something like a lounge bar, in which case I would have expected a warmer feel.
After possibly a 10 minute wait for our drinks and cakes, they arrived much to my slightly parched delight!
The hot chocolate looked and tasted lovely and certainly came with a lot of froth – which is never a bad thing!
It had a very lovely chocolately taste, more so than the standard ones that you buy in the chain coffee shops. My only comment would be that it wasn’t hot enough for my personal taste, which meant that I basically ended up downing it, which wasn’t a good look in front of the in-laws!
As for the cakes (which I believe are raw cakes), well these went down very well indeed!
The carrot cake tasted lovely, but didn’t have the texture you would expect it to have, due to it being a raw cake, but that was certainly not a bad thing. I didn’t notice it but there was a comment from the rest of the family that they could taste banana in it too. I’m not sure if that was the case or not, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it felt a lot healthier and fresher than eating a proper ‘cake’.
I didn’t try the chocolate cake as I wasn’t 100% sure if it was the same chocolate cake that I’d been warned against at the beginning, but the feedback was very good indeed. All of the family love dark chocolate whereas I prefer a milk chocolate, so this was right up their street and they said that they preferred the chocolate cake to the carrot cake – which worked for me! 🙂
It’s a shame that the timings of our visit didn’t work well for us to be able to have a proper meal in the bistro, but when time allows it would be great to go back and try out the full menu.
So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative bistro experience in the centre of Shrewsbury, then look no further than O’Joy. You will not be disappointed by what they have to offer!