Fans of Gary Stafford’s traditional Lyons Café (see entry) in the delightfully old-fashioned department store, Lyons of Wine Street, will be well pleased to find that he is also the man behind the contemporary café ‘Slice@The Model’ in the atrium of the revamped Model Arts Gallery – a very different venture, but it follows the same principle as Lyons Café, using locally sourced ingredients in simple, great tasting food.
Whether or not you are attending an exhibition or event, the building is an exciting place to be, and this bright, open smart-casual eating and lounging area is at its heart. Whilst the menu is sensibly limited to suit the kitchen (just a galley style area with self-service counter), Gary is also able to supply Slice from the café which broadens the scope – and what is offered is not only thoughtfully planned and delicious, but also well-balanced to allow for dietary alternatives, including appealing vegetarian and gluten free options.
The daily soup is gluten free, for example, and available with homemade soda or gluten free corn bread, and the imaginative daily hot specials are always vegetarian yet have mainstream appeal - chick pea and roasted vegetable tagine, perhaps, or roast vegetable frittata – or maybe a sweet potato and red lentil Sambar, from southern India.
A range of made-to-order grill bar open sandwiches could include Lebanese grilled chicken (on rye, with sumac, lemon zest and wild rocket); St Kevins brie with homemade tomato chutney (on toasted walnut sultana bread); and a sparky seared tuna steak on wasabi mayonnaise (on rye, with homemade Japanese pickled vegetables).
Desserts and baked treats include an ever-changing selection of the Lyons Café favourites - queen of pudding, lemon and lime tart, rhubarb cinnamon bakewell crunch, black cherry bakewell, for example, along with snack-time treats to go with teas and coffees, like pear and almond or sticky date and walnut scones...
Sunday brunch brings a change of tempo with comforting classics like eggs Benedict and French toast (made with the house walnut sultana bread), while those with heartier appetites might try a cheesy Monterey Jack steak sandwich with sautéed flat cap mushrooms, which is served with homemade sweet steak dipping sauce.
The wine selection comes from local wine supplier, The Wine Buff - and the team also caters for the Model’s weekly cinema and music programme, and the Gallery events.