Pulse Café is one of those places that is easy to miss. From the outside it looks pretty unassuming and you could be forgiven for thinking it was similar to the other cafés which line the high street of New Mills. However step inside and it becomes quite clear that Pulse Café is something quite special.
Being a vegan, I am well used to the struggle of finding a good place to eat. Although Manchester has its fair share of vegan/veggie eateries, it is often hard to find places catering to a vegan diet outside of the city. Oh, how Pulse Café surprised me! Not only was a large portion of the menu vegan, there was also the option to ‘veganify’ vegetarian food and I even spied a few gluten free items. I also loved the little selection of herbal teas and thought that they really added to the healthy, almost bohemian, feel of the place. For someone used to trawling through a menu hoping for a dish I could eat, Pulse Café proved to be an absolute heaven!
Following the advice of owner Paul, I ordered the Red Lentil Dhal to take out (guaranteed to fill me up, he promised!). The dish came with caramelised carrots and a small side of rice. I also splurged a little and added a soy hot chocolate and a chocolate brownie for dessert. While Paul prepared my order, I took the opportunity to have a little snoop around. There are two floors worth of seating, with the upstairs being deceptively large, and a generally pleasant atmosphere in the café. Everyone seemed quite smiley and I definitely detected the buzz of community in the air.
Downstairs there are a number of reasonably priced CDs and second-hand books for sale and there is also a selection of photography and paintings from local artists up on the walls. I liked the way the paintings lined the wall going up the stairs and how it helped turned plain décor into something quite special. There’s even a little noticeboard by the front door, detailing local events and happenings.
My food arrived in a small brown paper bag, with each dish packed individually. The bill came to just under £9 for my main, drink and dessert which I thought was extremely reasonable. It took me about twenty minutes to get home but, upon arrival, I found that each package was still pleasantly warm. I was impressed at how generous the portion sizes were and happily tucked into my grub. The dhal was superb and tasted like proper winter fare, ideal to warm you up and leave you feeling comfortably full. The rice was also cooked to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. If I had to give it one criticism, I would say that it could have done with a slight kick as it tasted ever so slightly bland. However, for all intents and purposes, it was a delicious meal and I will certainly be ordering it again!
My chocolate brownie was exquisite; chewy, soft and gooey in equal parts. Vegan cakes are something of an art form and I’m pleased to say that my divine brownie was easily equal to, if not better, than many a vegan cake I’ve tasted elsewhere. And to be fair to my hot chocolate, while it didn’t make me go ‘wow’, it wasn’t advertised as anything other than your standard hot chocolate and it certainly fit the bill in that regard.
Overall, I would give Pulse Café an enthusiastic recommendation to any of my friends visiting New Mills, vegan or otherwise. If you live nearby and have never thought to check it out then I genuinely encourage you to do so. It would be something of a crime to have such a gem sitting on the doorstep and never taste what it has to offer.
You can find more by Lucy Buxton in her blog