The café's menu caters for all tastes and dietary requirements, with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. In keeping with the museum's family-friendly ethos, there are baby milk heating facilities, and a 'Hungry Caterpillar plate' available for little ones who are more into grazing on breadsticks and strawberries than tucking into a sandwich. Being even hungrier than a caterpillar, I chose the butternut squash and chicken salad, and an enormous brownie to follow. Because of the busyness of the café, however, the waitress let me know that there might be a slight delay in getting the salad to me, so I found a free table and tucked into the brownie first.
And what an excellent brownie it was. With a crisp crust and a squidgy middle, it was baked to perfection. The chocolate flavour was strong and sweet, without being sickly, and it went very well with the black coffee I ordered. I do wish I'd saved it until after the salad (which arrived quicker than I'd expected), as going from cake to vegetables was a rather odd transition, but I'll just have to be less impatient next time.
The salad was worth the small wait - the roasted butternut squash was full of flavour, and the balsamic vinegar, pesto and pine nuts added oomph to the dish. The chicken was well-cooked and tender - I did find a small bone and bit of gristle in one of the pieces, but that's an occupational hazard of eating chicken when it's not in nugget form, and didn't spoil my enjoyment of the meal overall.
The Story Café is a fun and eclectic setting - not the best place for a quiet lunch, perhaps, but an excellent venue for a family outing, a brainstorming session, or a lively discussion with friends. The menu has something for everyone, whether you want to stick to the salads or try something more decadent, like a Wonderland Sundae (definitely something I'll have to sample in the future). I left feeling full and satisfied - although still a little confused about that radish.