Years ago, Matt and Cat had a very enjoyable visit to Lizzie's Diner, an old skool café set in a windowless industrial unit in Lake's old fridge factory.
The experience was pretty good - in fact, they described the place as "a perfect example of the genre at its finest". Even fussy Cat, who usually disapproves of so-called 'greasy-spoon' food, was pleased with her lunch there (a mushroom omelette, pictured below).
Since then, Lizzie's Diner has been reborn, occupying a bigger unit with a major new feature - windows! Proprietors Anna and Ritchie Newton wrote to Matt and Cat in 2010 and explained: Not only do we have beautiful new premises with windows but we have also taken the opportunity to finally, after 4 years hard work, let Ritchie have his name above the door. The Diner is now renamed 'Ritchies Diner'.
Now, in some idle discussion on Twitter, Matt, a notorious vegesceptic, was challenged to eat a meat-free breakfast by two of his vegetarian friends, @MattdaWhittaker and @MintyMat. Observant readers will notice that all these three chaps are called Mat(t). They issued an invitation to all other Island folk called Matt to join them. A number of applicants were rejected for quite obviously not being called Matt. Filtering out the non-Matts with this sole yet rigidly-applied criteria, there was a trio of genuine Matts present at the inaugural Matts' Meat-free Morning.
Ritchies Diner took up its new premises and name in late 2010. The new location is certainly far superior to the old one. Right at the front of the complex, it is light and airy, but still full of the same American movie memorabilia that characterised the erstwhile Lizzies.
The three Matts pushed open the door and strolled in. Non-veggie Matt hopped from one foot to the other, nervously, like a virgin being shepherded into a bordello. The two vegetarian Matts soon entered into discussions with the chap behind the counter. The chef herself emerged too, and three big vegetarian breakfasts were negotiated, with extra eggs. Although vegetarian breakfast was one of the few things not on the big menu board, Ritchies was more than accommodating and even had some suggestions of their own. With mugs of steaming tea (included in the price of the breakfast), the Matt collective sat down at one of the gaily chequered tables and started the serious business of discussing the maintenance of air-cooled vehicles.
Full Monty breakfast with veggie options £4.50
Extra egg £0.65
Extra tea £0.80
When the breakfasts were brought over, they were an impressive sight. Every bit as substantial as a meaty breakie, non-veggie Matt was feeling more and more encouraged by the minute. With a big hunk of buttered tiger bread on the side for each Matt, the whole meal was a substantial one. A pair of hash-browns, fried bread (which optionally could have been toast), tinned tomato, fresh-fried mushrooms, and two eggs formed the bulk of the meal, but the centrepiece was a spectacularly good bubble-and-squeak. The art of a decent bubble-and-squeak is rarely mastered, so all three Matts were most satisfied with it.
Ritchies Diner proved itself to be every bit as good a venue as its predecessor, with the added bonus of a window. The food was very good, the service was quick and cheerful, and the cost was impressively low. And what's more, Matt was delighted with his vegetarian experience - indeed, all three Matts were. So much so that there exists a likelihood that the Matts' Meat-Free Morning might be repeated. So if you are a Matt, and fancy joining in, let us know. And if you're a breakfast chef, and want to see if you can impress these gentlemen, get in touch with Matt and Cat.
Categories: We like, Cafes, Take aways, Sandown & Shanklin
Very disappointed and I expect it will be a long time before we have chance to head over that way again.
We are really sorry that you found us closed when you had travelled over specially. The week following Christmas is the one time of the year we close to carry out essential maintenance such as re-painting and steam cleaning the floors ect
We did have a sign up on the front door and had been trying our best to let customers know.
We apologise again and hope that you will come try us another time x
Thanks for the heads up Matt n Cat.
Sorry Richie that we didn't make our reservation this weekend on the 29th but there was a terrible accident on the road outside & the police wouldn't let us in :-(