Back in ancient Roman times, there was a wise man, Homer I think it was, or Bart, who said “Never judge a book by it's cover.”
A few years later another wise person, Ron or Sealius said “It does exactly what it says on the tin....ium.”
Where Harley's is concerned both classic quotes equally apply. I fancied tea and cake on the way home one Saturday afternoon and needed a table to sit at to do some work. Harley's has followed SFR on Twitter (@HarleysCoffee) since the beginning of time, so it seemed appropriate to pay them a visit.
The unprepossessing door way, just off the Main Street in Camelon could be overlooked, but the large free car park opposite can't, a definite positive over some of the places nearer the town centre. Upon walking in you are immediately welcomed like a long lost family friend and if there are no obvious seats in the little room at the front, worry not, there are plenty more at the back to which you will be enthusiastically directed.
I ordered a tea, I love the fact you get to choose between a cup or mug! I went posh and ordered a cup along with a gluten free mint interpretation of a millionaire shortcake... (Why on earth not!)
Your read correctly “Gluten Free”, because like the location and the doorway this is another of Harley's little surprises. Whilst all the regular trappings of a decent cafe are present, the consideration to dietary needs puts many larger businesses to shame. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian it is all catered for, you can get gluten free subs or sarnies for the same price as a full-wheat version. No extra charges, no hassle so don't let you intolerances put you off, Harley's has it covered. I suspect that this attention to detail comes from a personal interest in food intolerance by one of the owners, but the dedication to food inclusiveness shines through in the comprehensive menu and their dedication should be applauded.
I was only sat at my table for a minute when a pot of tea was put in front of me, along with my cake. The pot easily gave me two cups and I was offered more hot water to make a third a bit later on had I wanted it.
The cake, which I had to admit filled me with a mixed feeling of curiosity, excitement and trepidation, was marvellous. The crumbly base was crumbly enough to break easily as I bit in, but didn't shower me in crumbs. The mint layer was strong, fresh but not over bearing and combined well with a thick slab of chocolate topping. Just because something is suitable for a gluten free diet doesn't mean that it will be taste free as well.
I sat writing another review and watching the world go by and was impressed at the accommodating nature of the staff. Half one and a customer wants a breakfast that the menu says finishes at 11:30, a quick look through the fridge they have everything they need and look at that breakfast is served! I have worked in five star hotels and had to avoid a chef thrown saucepan for having the temerity to ask for a bacon roll for a customer five minutes after breakfast service. Full Scottish two hours late would have seen me bludgeoned to death with a griddle. Harley's has it spot on, look after the customers and if you can do it, do it.
I enjoyed my wee visit and tea and cake didn't cost me more than the car parking in the town centre would have. If you are visiting that side of Falkirk, don't just stick with the corporate blandness of the Tesco coffee shop spend a few minutes getting to Harley's and help a decent local business instead. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and delighted at how accommodating and talented the folks at Harley's are. I will definitely be back.