Matt and Cat both have their birthdays in the first quarter of the year. Cat’s celebrations in January usually involve inviting a group of friends to a conducive location - in 2012 her party was at the spectacular The Mission.
For his birthday, Cat offered Matt the choice of Island-based activities. Rejecting the opportunity to pet a primate at the Owl and Monkey Haven, and poo-pooing Isle of Wight Pearl, he plumped for an all-day breakfast. But where to go? There are plenty of fabulous Isle of Wight breakfasts to be had, with top contenders at Richie’s Diner, Bluebells Café and Besty and Spinky’s but Matt wanted to go somewhere new. So using Twitter’s hive mind, Cat tickled some recommendations out of their followers and Tumblers was picked as the destination for the birthday boy’s big breakfast.
Occupying a corner plot at the top of Shanklin, Tumblers is well-placed to scoop up tourist traffic as it’s by the station and on the traffic main route through the town. Surprisingly, despite its prominence, it’s never appeared on Matt and Cat’s radar. And that’s a woeful omission.
The roomy diner has everything a café of its genre should boast: conspicuous, easy-to-follow menus - with beans-swapping options - free redtop tabloids, wipe-clean tablecloths and local radio blaring out. It’s also facing a south easterly aspect; perfect for the late morning sun. Matt and Cat took their seats at a sunny table then ordered food.
Buster breakfast: £6.00
Egg, mushroom and bacon: £2.30
Extra toast: 50p
Orange juice: 90p
The staff at Tumblers were a friendly crew and were happy to take into account Matt’s dislike of beans and Cat’s off-menu choices. Like most good cafés of the ‘greasy spoon’ variety, Tumblers has a comprehensive list of brekkie items that can be included or excluded from your breakfast as frequently as your heart (doctor) desires. Obviously Matt was there for a birthday fry up but the menu also had plenty of good value sarnies, toasties and baguettes, baked potatoes, burgers and a selection of main meals, and yes, a big, impressive veggie breakfast too.
Never one to order coyly and, after all, it was his birthday, Matt chose the ‘Buster Breakfast’. For six quid, this consisted of a veritable shopping list of ingredients: three rashers of bacon, three sausages, two eggs, mushrooms, tomato, toast and jam or marmalade with tea, coffee or squash to swill it down with. Beans were also included in the roll call but Matt substituted them for hash brown. Thankfully there was enough left in the kitchen for Cat’s mushroom, bacon and poached egg plus toast!
Taking the drinks to the table, Cat rejoined Matt and they sat basking in the sun like Ventnor wall lizards, involuntarily swaying to the dulcet tones of Enya’s Orinoco Flow which oozed their way out of the radio. Their reveries were broken by the welcome interruption of the food.
Matt’s buster breakfast was a veritable mountain of meat plus a big pile of chips and other assorted delicacies. On closer inspection, the sausages were probably not the butcher’s finest, and the chips were a tad undercooked (Matt even left some). The toast allowance was surprisingly mean - two pieces of bread between the two of them. However, this was rectified with an order for extra toast, which came promptly. The rest of the meal was certainly up to scratch. The two fried eggs were perfect examples - neither too runny nor solid, dribbly but not snotty.
Cat’s egg, mushroom and bacon freestyle combination was fabulous. The poached egg was perfect; a perky yolk surrounded by smooth and solid white. Not at all like the hard-poached version she’d pushed around her plate at Number 44. Also of note was the big stash of mushrooms and the half pint of orange juice she used to chase her meal down.
After their breakfasts, including the second round of toast, were eaten, Matt and Cat once again sat back and enjoyed the warming sun. They also enjoyed the view of their empty plates for quite a while. Perhaps the tardy table tidying was not a regular thing, although next to them was a lady making the most of the newspaper library, her long-eaten egg remnants coldly congealing on her plate as she read about the day's scandals.
Tumblers was a great choice for Matt’s birthday breakfast. Sunny, friendly, accommodating and reassuringly typical. It wasn’t trying to be anything fancy, nor was anything of that ilk expected. Matt and Cat were after hot, freshly-cooked food and, the fact that it was served in a pleasant environment was all to the good. A decent, good value breakfast.
Categories: We like, Cafes, Family friendly, Sandown & Shanklin
2 comments (newest first)
We have been eating here at lunch time for a few weeks on Saturdays now, and the food is very good and reasonably priced. We were quite happy with coming here but today we went again and decided to sit at a table not too far from the toilet, as I need to get to the toilet quickly sometimes, so we waited for the people sitting there to leave as they were getting up to go as we came in, but when we went to sit down we were told that we could not sit there as ” we are closing this section” , we were told, now it was only 1.45 pm and we thought it was too early for this knowing that they close at 4pm! So we went and sat the other side of the cafe, then we ordered some food and mugs of tea. We waited quite a bit before the food came, and I also thought that if more people came in they would have to reopen the side they had closed, which in fact did happen in not more than 10 minutes. My friend had ordered the food and I said that I wanted egg, bacon, mushrooms and chips, but when my friend came back and told me the price I said that they had obviously charged him wrong or they had not done the order right because the person serving had charged for a complete meal instead of individual items. So this cost more and also my friend had not been given the option for either the beans, peas or salad that came with the complete meal ,so these were missing. My friends meal,the Buster Breakfast, that he usually had there when we came each week to the cafe, was missing the Jam or Marmalade, again, and this had happened every time we ate there. Also the first time we ate there I had ordered a Baguette and butter only to be given a Baguette already spread with some margarine or something, not butter. The people who were serving also started to wash the floor with horrible smelling disinfectant while we were eating, before 3pm, again, this put us off coming again and made us feel unwelcome. Needless to say we are eating somewhere else next Saturday!
We 2-veggies went there on a sunny February having ventured out by bus with the intention of returning by train for a full public-transport day out (also known as a throw-your-money-away-day). There didn’t seem to be any particularly nice eateries in Regent Street, so we were pleased to come across Tumblers, and like M&C, plumped for the breakfast menu. I had poached eggs on toast and stole a couple of bits and pieces from Geoff’s Full-V-breakfast. All very nice and freshly cooked. No complaints. Plenty of builders/white van men which I think is always a good sign for a cafe.