That Spanish plume, eh, coming over here enhancing our English summer. With its thermometer-popping temperatures and Mediterranean humidity, providing the perfect weather for eating outside. For most of you that probably meant bending over a hot barbecue, trying not to splash your novelty apron with the ejaculant of a spitting sausage. For Matt and Cat, it was an excuse to eat breakfast al fresco in the welcome shade of a silver birch tree.
Newport is fast becoming the epicentre of the Island’s pavement cafe culture. Sts Thomas Square is where it’s at with Olivo (say after M&C: “Ohleevoh”), Skintrade, French Franks, and now El Patron amongst those providing outside seating for their customers. Over in St James’ Square, under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria, is the Blue Door Cafe. This little cafe has been a fixture in the town longer than Johnny-come-latelys Costa and Starbucks and, judging by the quality (and quantity) of its food, it’ll be there when the chain coffee shops have sloped off back to the mainland.
In M&C’s opinion, Newport is the best place on the Island for lunch – and they know, they’ve tried a lot! There’s plenty to tempt the lunchtime diner, from the brand new and upmarket bistro helmed by the eponymous Thompson, to the noodletastic street food from Noodle Pot. At the heart of the town is the Blue Door Cafe; a small but busy daytime venue to which Matt and Cat are quite partial.
On this scorching day, while everyone else was squeezing into their cossies for a day on the beach, Matt and Cat headed inland for a very late breakfast at the Blue Door Cafe. The thing that M&C particularly like about the Blue Door is the personal service. The owners seem to be in it for the long haul and their regulars are clearly valued. Often M&C have witnessed customers greeted by name as they pop in for a cuppa and a chat. Other towns, particularly perhaps the resort places, may need to make their money from visitors during the summer season but BDC keeps going all year round, relying on its regulars.
Matt and Cat were determined to review the Blue Door Cafe’s breakfast, despite rocking up at the venue at about 2pm. Luckily, it’s an all-day breakfast, so they were not worried about missing out.
Cat placed the order at the counter and, as is the nature of the Blue Door Cafe, paused for a chat with the owner before collecting their cutlery. Unsurprisingly there were plenty of seats free in the cosy interior of the cafe; most patrons had chosen to make the most of the sunny day and the tables outside were bustling. Matt had successfully bagsied chairs in the shade and was already chatting away to the neighbouring occupants. That’s what sets the Blue Door Cafe apart from its counterparts, this feeling of belonging to a friendly community. A pal of Matt and Cat’s has been known to exchange recipes with the cafe’s chef and even M&C are welcomed by name despite their pretence at anonymity.
Smoked salmon and scrambled egg £5.25
Cat’s smoked salmon and scrambled egg was made to her specification; just two, rather than the usual three eggs. An extremely generous amount of salmon all but blanketed the eggs in its insulating and smoky embrace. The eggs were of the required consistency; soft but not snotty, firm but not rubbery. And all was laid on a piece of white bread toast. Cat scoffed it down with a cup of very agreeable Lavazza coffee.
Matt ordered the Blue Door breakfast brunch, an impressive cross between a full English breakfast and a roast dinner. He loved it. Regular appearances are made by the usual eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and so on, and an unusual and welcome feature is traditional fried bread – with a choice of white or brown. Where this meal departs from a regular breakfast is the plentiful thinly-sliced fried potatoes, and a big chunk of stuffing with cranberry sauce on it. Sometimes you get roast chicken – today Matt had a mound of bacon, but the cranberry came out anyway. The cafe produces really good classic fare that is always popular – but this breakfast illustrates well why you would be wise to explore its menu a bit further. There is some exotic, interesting, tasty and very well-presented food to be had at the Blue Door, and the portions are generous. The outrageously fabulous and spicy bunny chow is the chef’s signature dish, and there’s also the scrummy crab pot, the towering meaty stack deluxe burger and some mighty good salads.
It’s easy to underestimate lunchtime cafe food, and perhaps we’ve all got a bit too used to assuming what it’s going to be like. If you dine at Blue Door Cafe you’ll find out how really good, innovative food can be served up cheerfully and plentifully, all year round – and at sensible prices.
- The food is all prepared to order
- Generous portions
- Very friendly service
- It's a small cafe so you might have to wait a mo for a seat
This is the full-length version of a shorter review that was first published in the County Press.